Is humanity going insane? Although it seems to weird to be true, there are some quite serious clues that the civilized world will one day fade out in mass insanity.
Just picture it: a world full of nutcases. On the streets, you’ll see people flapping their arms and shouting they’re airplanes. In the president’s office, a moron will say: `I wonder what this button does’ – and promptly start a nuclear war. Others will kill themselves, jumping from buildings to prove they can fly, shooting each other up for fun, or stepping in front of trains because they think they’re Superman. Admit it. It would be a rather odd way of going out.
But actually, the nutcase scenario is not that idiotic. It got high marks on a dead-serious ranking of what can go wrong with the world, published once by the popular science magazine Discover. Indeed, there’s some quite serious evidence we’re heading for total insanity. We’re a more mentally deranged species than ever. And we’re going crazier all the time, the figures show. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders – they’re all on the rise.
Just look at the figures. An estimated six percent of all men and ten percent of all women suffer from depression. Ten to twenty percent of all kids have some kind of mental illness or behavioral disorder. In the US alone, something like 20 million people suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder. And that’s not everything. The World Health Organization expects that by 2020, depression will be the second major cause of disability, right after heart diseases. `Have we entered the age of misery and melancholy?’, the Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry asked in an editorial.
Sounds hefty, right? Fortunately, there’s also a lot to be held against the figures. With ever more people on the planet, it’s only normal the number of mentally ill should rise too. But way more important, the nutcase number is climbing because of the way we deal with them. Not too long ago, nobody thought anything of it when you went crazy. You just had to cope with it yourself. And if your mental mishap was too conspicuous, well, they simply locked you away.
Nowadays, that’s all changed. There are treatments for all kinds of mental inconveniences, ranging from mild depressions to fear of the dentist. In fact, because of the revolution in psychiatric science, there’s a `syndrome’ for all kinds of behavior – even the more normal ones. Drinking, having sex, smoking, using marijuana, breaking the speed limit with your car, surfing the internet, being single – our shrinks label all these things as `problems’, mental abnormalities that shouldn’t be there.
The World Health Organization is no exception. Under their `mental and neurological disorders’ they also list smoking tobacco and marijuana, epilepsy and drinking alcohol. Think of smoking and drinking what you will – but is it the same as believing you're an airplane?
Let’s face it. In a way, our shrinks are driving us crazy. Or am I being neurotic, paranoid, schizoid, over-aggressive and narcistic to say these things? Hmm, I probably should go see a shrink.
But wait a sec. All that said, the prospect of humanity ending up totally wacko is actually very likely. You read that right: very likely! It doesn’t have anything to do with shrinks – but with basic biology.
Suppose one of the catastrophes outlined on this site one day really happens. Suppose there’s a meteor, a nuclear war, a supervolcano or an all-out ice age. Humanity will be swept away, with only a few pockets of humans surviving. To reproduce, they’ll have to inbreed. And if a small group of people inbreed, the species will, after a generation or two, start going sour. They will be malformed, and especially their minds will be severely twisted. It’s just nature’s way of saying: there’s too little of you, you’d better go extinct altogether.
So in the end, if disaster strikes, mental retardedness is indeed the most likely prospect for the survivors. The last humans on earth will indeed run around, flap their arms and pretend they’re Superman.
Well, look at it from the bright side. At least, we’ll have a lot of outrageous fun before we go out!
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