"We are living in stressful times," and it appears to be taking its toll on us in unexpected ways, says Davia Temin at Forbes. In the space of two weeks, a JetBlue pilot, Clayton Osbon, and Jason Russell, the producer of the smash viral video Kony 2012, "wigged out." On Tuesday, Osbon, reportedly ran up his plane's aisles screaming about Iran and bombs, and tried to open the outside door mid-flight. (He's still being evaluated at a hospital.) On March 16, an incoherent Russell, apparently overwhelmed by the response to the wildly popular video, ran nearly naked through the streets of San Diego. The two incidents seem like understandable reactions to our frenzied, overly connected, socially mediated world. And any of us could be next, unless we "take some time to disengage." Here, an excerpt:
These do not seem like "I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore" moments. Instead they seem like "it is just all too much for me and my fragile body and psyche to bear anymore" moments. The weight of the world comes down heavier in the rush of total connectivity.
Two points do define a line, though, and I am wondering if [the JetBlue and Kony 2012 meltdowns] also are presaging a trend. Will we be seeing more and more of these episodes, as normal people not only are plunged into the social media spotlight, but as the immediacy of all the world's problems grind us down?
Psychologists tell us that these kinds of psychotic breaks, or brief reactive psychoses, often are the result of external stressors... Does seeing and feeling the world's pain, in addition to our own, become fused somehow in our brains, and thus become unbearable?
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Sorry Belle Knox, porn still oppresses women
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
Subscribe to the Week