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Ebola News Gives Me a Guilty Thrill. Am I Crazy?

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posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 10:30 PM
Let's see how many people read the OP.

So this is not my title. I think it's an interesting piece though.

Folks speak blithely about their guilty pleasures. But if you get a little thrill when you contemplate the worldwide obliteration of society in a horrific Armageddon, have you crossed a line from “person with a guilty pleasure” to “person who is a dangerous psychopath”?

The author's coworkers were not in the same boat, so he reached out to others to see if anyone else felt the same way. Many did not.

But then...

“I have that, too!” exclaimed University of Minnesota neuroscientist Shmuel Lissek (to my great relief). The idea of Armageddon “wakens your autonomic nervous system,” he says. “Your heart starts beating faster, you start breathing faster, your sweat glands engage. There’s a certain exhilaration from that idea, and one can enjoy that kind of arousal, especially if there’s a part of you that knows it won’t happen.”

I think it's similar to us watching scary movies, alien invasion type things and eating up zombie nonsense. It's a thrill/fear that's not real (yet). So when you hear about some disaster happening far away and it doesn't really effect you personally it's like a movie with a little more reality but still far enough away that it seems exciting.

Of course, cautions Lissek, some balance is in order here. “When the apocalypse is in the hypothetical, it’s normal for the excitement to be stronger than the fear,” he says. “If it’s not in the hypothetical and you’re seeing the devastation and you’re more excited than distraught, then you’re in the psychopathic range.”

Other experts suspected my excitement might have to do with contemplating the world that would come after a society-destroying plague. “We’re so stressed and overloaded, that you can start to think, Wouldn’t life be simpler if things just broke down?” says Jeff Greenberg, a social psychologist at the University of Arizona. “As long as we’re among the survivors, life gets simpler. In a world like ours right now, the idea of being heroic and doing the right thing is so complex that we don’t know what it might even be. But in a post-apocalyptic world, we’d have simpler ways to know what the right thing is.”

I think this is completely valid and doesn't contradict with the other theory. We ARE overloaded. If you survived (and given the hubris of most people that's what they would expect) your life would get much simpler in many ways. You wouldn't have to worry about getting to work on time, paying your bills, etc. You would be worrying about meeting basic needs (although I suspect that would be far more difficult for the average Joe than punching the clock). You would get to be the hero and survivor of the kind of story that you enjoyed.

But a new question popped up: If humans are predisposed to find apocalyptic scenarios exciting, couldn’t that numb our feelings of urgency about preventing the apocalypse?

I don't think so. I think we find the prospect exciting, but that deep down we know that's only when it's far away and safe. You get a thrill on a roller coaster, but most people don't drive so fast they are constantly terrified and experience the same adrenaline rush. Well MOST people. Looking at you BMW and Audi drivers (and in the mirror).

Speaking of guilt, there’s one last tidbit I should mention. Greenberg, the social psychologist, pointed out that my choice of profession might also predispose me to my extremely guilty pleasure. “You’re in a business where bad news is exciting, right?” he asks. “The apocalypse would give you more stuff to write about.” Touché.

I think that goes for a lot of us on ATS. It IS exciting when something happens. We enjoy sharing these things and discussing them. We are essentially amateur journalists.


So do you get these feelings of excitement?

I have to confess that I do, though they are shared with sadness. Again, only when it's removed. It's exciting. It's like watching videos of natural disasters or police chases. I certainly don't want to be in the situation, and feel horrible for people that are, but recognize that I get a perverse rush when I see these things. Look at shows like COPS and Hoarders. No sane person enjoys watching someone suffer, but there is something fascinating about it.

I am deeply saddened for all those affected by ebola and other diseases, wars and natural disasters. I don't want them to happen. I wish they didn't. For some reason when they do, I have a hard time looking away. I think this is a more normal human behavior than anyone cares to admit. I believe there is some narcissism involved, at least when it comes to me. I like to think about saving the day, doing the right thing etc. or how I would deal with a certain situation.

I don't think anyone wants to admit it, but I think it's truly part of the human condition. Look how much traffic slows when there is an accident and people start gawking. Think about the most viewed news articles. We seem to have a love/hate relationship with disasters. Why do you think that is? Is it a coping mechanism? A way for us to learn? Are we just bored?

I'd really appreciate input from everyone on this. I think it's rather fascinating. I would humbly ask that we not judge others for there answers.


posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 10:45 PM
I remember when I was a kid and the traffic was slow on the road because of a bad accident. My dad said the traffic was slow cause people would slow down to see the accident.
My father had a name for these people and I think it applies here too.
He called them GHOULS!
edit on 10/23/14 by proob4 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 10:49 PM
a reply to: proob4

My parents always told me not to look because it was rude and I didn't need to see someone suffering. They thought it was disgusting behavior and I agree. Even though now I do look. I still won't slow down. I need to knock it off, this is someone suffering a bad day and they deserve some dignity.

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 10:52 PM
The problem is that no person really knows what the right thing is. Its amazing how degenerative a society we have become. Yes, the Ebola threads make me click, but my reasoning only comes from one point of view, my own.

edit on 23-10-2014 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 10:56 PM
To put it simply-a lot of people,even subconsciously,want a "Restart"-without really seriously considering that they too will be absent when the computer has finished it's restart.a reply to: Domo1

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 11:02 PM
a reply to: Domo1

This is a fascinating topic Domo and I believe for many it's a new topic to contemplate. I have to agree with the Lissek though that it's one thing to engage in that emotion when the act or condition is removed from one's life. It's another story when when in the middle of something and still have a feeling of excitement.

I live in a hurricane state, when hurricane season comes I start getting excited, watch the weather forecasting from the tropics faithfully and want to see a storm start brewing. It's easy to contemplate this before anything happens or if you've never been through a hurricane. But it was a totally different scenario when I was actually in a hurricane, I was more frightened than I have ever been and questioned my sanity for ever wanting to experience them. Yet, every hurricane season it's the same thing, I get excited and anticipate the coming storms.

Perhaps it's because for the most part for many of us our lives are mundane and we are exposed through movies, videos games and media to things that are far removed from our daily lives and that gives us a comfort zone in which to anticipate the what ifs. I think it also gives us and opportunity to imagine an outcome that would give us a sense of control or to imagine a new beginning.

I also believe many people feel that same sense of excitement and if there is any doubt all we have to do is go back into the archives and read the 2012 forums here at ATS.

SnF for a different kind of topic

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 11:10 PM
When there's a situation like that on the road,I tell my youngest to turn away from the window and look down-no need for a child to see all that.Happened earlier his year again,pedestrian knocked down by a vehicle at the exit of the little mall in the town.Luckily he was covered with a blanket ,because he was right in the middle of the road,his poor body was impossible to miss.

I became very sick as a child,from the trauma of having to look at a man,a doctor who was knocked down by a bus,in the middle of the main road,and yes,his poor head did'nt hold up so well,which is all I will say.The wonderfully wise woman who adopted me thought it was appropriate for her and her sister to stand on the pavement gawking for about 20 minutes,with 4yo me along with them.

Next day I began vomiting,could'nt hold water down even.When my mother took me to the family GP,he figured out that it was from traumatic shock,that I was ill.Took me days to recover.Well,at least she Was a great example as a parent-of what Not to do.Taught me a helluva lot about parenting,she did,just by being herself. areply to: proob4

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 11:15 PM
A wise rasta man once said, "Total destruction, the only solution."

I second that.

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 11:17 PM
I pass on this particular guilty thrill. No thanks.

What it gives me is fits of anger.

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 11:21 PM
Whaa!? Hell no. I'm horrified!

If I wanted a reset I'd pick Mayberry RFD. LOL! Or 1990 something, at least it was cool.

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 11:39 PM

originally posted by: Domo1
I don't think anyone wants to admit it,

Ill admit it. We are a vile species. Tho I doubt it will come, I wait for the day we get flushed away.

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 11:42 PM
I feel like I'm a bit player in the first chapter or two of "The Stand", having heard about the guy in NYC.

Insert Yeats' "The Second Coming" here, I suppose.

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 11:42 PM
If the doctors or people in those studies actually caught Ebola themselves, they wouldn't be so thrilled.
edit on 24-10-2014 by Meldionne1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 11:52 PM
My parents always told me it was rude to slow down and leer at a roadside accident. However now as an adult, I cannot help but rubberneck as I instinctively have concern for the victims involved and only want reassurance that help isn't needed or in the hope they are OK.

Yet, the thought of armageddon does provoke a primitive mammalian response triggering a dose of adrenaline. A very good friend of mine coined a saying once (whilst being stuck in the rat race) referencing the everyday idiocy of our species. It stuck with me and made me chuckle...."People, Ugh. There has to be a better way."

ETA; I have not followed an iota of the Ebola Scare. If it wasn't for a competing site's mass hysteria over the subject, I wouldn't even know it existed.
edit on 23-10-2014 by Goldcurrent because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 12:00 AM
I think i'm a little in the psychopathic range.

I have been sailing the seas for 20 years, and rode of more storms than i can remember, twice we were in very life threatening danger, and one situation of support in a rescue mission with life lost where i for a short moment looked in the eye of one of the guys who was never seen again.
I have seen "my" ship being trashed by freak waves, turning fun into horror.

Every storm has been like an apocalypse, where it feels like the sea wants your soul, it just want to steal that little steel construction you have as safety under your feet from you, and then slowly swallow you.

I never felt fear, always excitement and the feeling of being unbeatable, i was always clear and concentrated, and i couldn't get enough of the adrenalin rush.

I always treated sea with respect, but always said to myself, if nature takes your life, it's ok.

I don't see disasters as anything frightening, but as something beautiful, though i do not wish for disasters to happen or for people to get hurt.
edit on 24-10-2014 by Mianeye because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 12:35 AM
In a lot of ways, modern life is far too comfortable. The vast majority of days are similar, bordering on boring. Why do people like horror movies, skydiving, contact sports? Because of the adrenaline rush, for one thing.

All my life I've been fascinated by the dark side, first murder mysteries as a teenager, then had a job for a time in a histology lab assisting in autopsies half of the day; I was only 18 at the time. Half of me was repelled and very much depressed by it, the other half was fascinated. 30 or more years ago I first read about emerging diseases and Ebola and knew it was only a matter of time; as everyone says, 'not if, but when...'

It *will* definitely change everything, as other people in other times have had to deal with the Spanish Flu, or the Black Plague, or any other of an infinite number of diseases humans have had over the ages. If we get very, very lucky, this will serve as a wakeup call to both our health services, and our penchant for letting capitalism's demands supercede the needs of the many. Only in this century will authorities argue that anyone who can afford a ticket should be able to get on a crowded plane or cruise ship, even though they may very well be starting a pandemic. In any other time, this would be seen for the insanity it is.

Strangely, many of the people who will call you evil for having the honesty to admit you find Ebola exciting, will be the same people who would gleefully dig into a bloody steak, or kill a wild animal for the thrill. People are strange.

posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 01:31 AM
Actually it's kind of normal. You're detached from the situation and that's a normal coping mechanism. We would break down if we took every possible fear in the world and internalized it. If I say to you millions of kids are molested each year, you're going to feel bad about it but you're not going to internalize it unless you have a personal reason. If, on the other hand, you sat down and talked to one of these children and heard their personal story you would be much more attached to the story and affected by it than by a vague concept of it.

This article says it is normal to feel thrilled by a fearful situation if you feel safe from it. You're not a bad person. You're experiencing normal chemical reactions in the body to fear and interpreting them as excitement. You're distancing yourself from a trauma.

Right now, Ebola, to North America is like a tv series we're keeping up with. We're hearing about it constantly but the images aren't really of the suffering, just numbers of infected and deaths. If you saw something different, like a documentary of one family losing a child it would become a lot more personal. Thinking about it coming to your own "doorstep" then might cause you to look at it a lot differently.

Of course if someone is dying of Ebola in front of you and you're happy about it and enjoying it, you might be a psychopath

To really enjoy a scary situation, we have to know we’re in a safe environment. It’s all about triggering the amazing fight-or-flight response to experience the flood of adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine, but in a completely safe space. Haunted houses are great at this—they deliver a startle scare by triggering one of our senses with different sounds, air blasts, and even smells. These senses are directly tied to our fear response and activate the physical reaction, but our brain has time to process the fact that these are not “real” threats. Our brain is lightning-fast at processing threat. I’ve seen the process thousands of times from behind the walls in ScareHouse—someone screams and jumps and then immediately starts laughing and smiling. It’s amazing to observe. I’m really interested to see where our boundaries are in terms of when and how we really know or feel we’re safe.

posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 08:24 AM
to me it just evolution...if it wipes us out then so be it...if it doesn't then we just got a little bit stronger and earned our place..

from a political standpoint.....a restart would be great news, but who is to say we don't just end up right back where we were...

i personally dont care if its an awful epidemic that wipes out billions...once again from an evolution stand point that would strengthen the human race and would actually be very selfless...a few die for humans to become stronger...some day whether we like it or not billions are gonna die in something...its just going to rather it be during my life time so i can be an accurate witness..

posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 02:55 PM
Ebola does not but the topic of "Nibiru is coming...the world is going to end!!!" does

Oh how I miss those days

Can someone start a new one lol

posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 03:00 PM
a reply to: Domo1

There is a reason it is called doom porn.

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