Why Mask-Wearing Suddenly Became a “Thing”

A month ago, experts told us not to wear masks. Save them for hospitals, we were told. Plus, they don’t help because the virus spreads primarily through touch and surfaces. (That’s true.) If you maintain a distance, you’re fine without a mask. Then suddenly things changed. Interestingly, it became “in” to wear a mask only AFTER we reached the peak of new cases. Governors claimed victory at “flattening the curve”, on the one hand; then they turned around and slapped on more controls, not fewer ones.

The masks aren’t about health at all. If they were, people would have been wearing them a month ago. I think they’re about two things: shaming and superiority. They’re a way for people to conform and feel part of the pack. Let’s get real. Our society and economy are collapsing, and people are scared. They revert to the instinct of wild pack animals. Not because it’s rational, but because others do it. To many, it provides a barbaric kind of reassurance.

It’s a quasi-religious gesture, in the old fashioned sense of religion. The masks convey a sense of, “We are all dirty and disgusting. You had better agree.” Sort of a mutual contempt gesture. The psychological payoff: If you get on board and join the shame game, then you won’t get shamed yourself. If you don’t wear the mask…well, you have seen the looks. It’s juvenile. It’s also kind of dark and sick.

The mental illness coming out this societal fiasco is worse than the most dire predictions about the number of cases. It’s truly medieval. The worst pandemic is not physical; it’s mental.


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