TODAY -

COVID-19 crisis: The rise of emotionalism and loss of rationalism

Dr Pamreihor Khashimwo *



The medium of current information technology is full of fragmented information overload itself, we crave drama and often create drama. No gimmick, no fame. We often followed the rule of a public club that aims to improve participants' public speaking and presentation skills. One thing we always do is to speak and write in a dramatic tone with a wide range of fool and heavily loaded language and visual representation.

No matter how irrelevant and non-sense the writing is about, people would always pay attention to and recognise instantly. So at the end of the day, it easily got famous and favoured by the crowd.

This becomes a 'new normal,' whenever we stand in front of the camera and write on the social media platform, people would pay extra attention to the expression to get ready for some nice entertainment. Those gimmicks are not some novel invention of COVID-19 crisis times.

It existed since mankind learned how to communicate with each other. The proliferation of gimmicks intensifies during COVID-19 pandemic times. I am not saying it is a bad thing. We all are driven to a decision by our emotions subconsciously.

Nonetheless, we have another intrinsic character that could help us for decision-making independent of emotions, that is the ability to reason. Rationality is a discernible trait especially among intelligent people, who are the real driving force for technological breakthrough and societal governance.

Rational thinking for the first time is supplanted emotions as the cornerstone of our decision-making principles during the COVID-19 crisis times. We miserably failed to notice one critical point, a point that could well explain the 'proliferation of the show business via new information technology'.

We often prefer a heavily loaded language and emotional signalling over detached rational thinking, and objective contextualization. Thanks to television, personal computer, the internet, google, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.

We quickly reverted to the most primitive stage of philosophy, that is emotionalism. Beg to differ? Turn on your television and social media platform and see one image and sentence that isn't intended to hypnotise you with emotional resonance. Here comes the theatrics monologues of Arnab Goswami's style.

Everyone, all of sudden become an expert, specialised theorist, and theologist that see religion and politics either as a superstitious gimmick or the great power. Thanks to the dominance of a few groups in this show business, this group in all social domains are now portrayed as simply the backbone of the society, regardless of what happens.

In consequence, this group of people are always right and should be protected and worshipped as the blessed ones. This perfectly fits our emotional demand. Whenever a man defies rules and orders. The first reaction from the public is always critical punches and later sympathy, followed by consequential supports. It doesn't matter what and why the man was doing it.

We had amplified the emotion and strongly abide by the hunch. Only a few could calm their overheated brain and contemplate, 'what on earth is this fella doing for?' To me, they try to act like a hero but without any solid ideas or concrete dogmas. Their arts are vulgar and explicit, and their political views' are immature and ambiguous.

The wisdom of intelligence has been downplayed in favour of emotional heroism today. All abstract thoughts are pushed back to the bottom of our room. All leftism, rightism, liberalist centrist, communism, feminism, nationalism, and activism are merely a form of simple pictorial representation of different emotions nowadays, at least in the mainstream.

True intelligentsia, the last remaining fraction are all labelled 'reactionary' and squeezed in the margin of the society where nobody really cares. As long as the modern mass media sticks to the concept of the show business, there will never be a sober day for all of us. It's not that we got retarded, we probably are thanks to the infusion of dumb people in the social welfare and information technology era.

Neil Postman said in his book "Amusing Ourselves to Death" that in the current world the media serves no purposes other than entertaining ourselves with information that is irrelevant, impotent, and incoherent to one's actual life.

He calls this age the age of 'show business,' where rationality and logic are no longer the linchpins of the public value. I couldn't agree more. Why people prefer visual information over reading texts these days. Overwhelmed by excessive information garbage, of course, it is natural to select the easiest and the most straightforward way for the information intake.

Why on earth do we need to know so much information garbage anyway? Current news reporting updates information move faster than the speed of sound. There is literally little value to any sort of information that we are forced to receive nowadays.

The only purpose or value of such information is only 'personal entertainment.' You could use it to boost your smugness in a social event, impressing your date. We lost the sense of abstract thinking and grow unprecedentedly impetuous towards intellectual curiosity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you cannot read, back in the days, you are a stupid illiterate, nowadays if you cannot read, you have 'reading difficulties', but no worries, you are still fine because you are not alone.

Using your hunch, your emotion, and your heart to feel the world looks way more appealing under the age of show business today. This may explain some of the reasons why we end up with such a lousy emotionalism as the predominant doctrine of our post-modern society.

Well, you cannot really think beyond the picture about what and why on earth this happens, can you? More people pretend and play-act. Few still think. Everyone suffocates in this information landfill and amuses ourselves to a living death. We should ask ourselves whether our full-blown embrace of emotions is a good thing.

Is it possible that we have embraced the emotional outpouring in life because it is one of the few weapons with which we have left to work? Have we marginalised rational thinking and reasonable discourse to such an extent that the only way we can get our point across is to yell, pugnacious, scream, cry, theatrical, or rant?

The challenge we are facing politically and in the social world is that decisions are being based on mistruths. That is happening more and more. It is a very dangerous trend.

The challenge that we are facing today is the rise of emotionalism? From top to bottom, from leaders to supporters, all are suffering from 'attention deficit syndrome' and often focus on 'headlines management' and 'limelight grappling.'

Agree or not, sadly, we often indulge in emotional outpouring and expert comments without any substance and understanding the fundamental concept of what we are encountering today.


* Dr Pamreihor Khashimwo wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on July 15 2020 .



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