Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The neurosis of the Western male politician and the migrant crisis

Simon Sheppard on Neurotic Suspension

A much simpler, and thus better, example of ‘Bystander Apathy’ occurred at a Rotterdam boating lake on 21 August 1993 (the incident features in The Tyranny of Ambiguity; 1st ed. fn. p. 250, 2nd ed. p. 395). A Moroccan girl, Naima Quaghmiri, 9 years old, fell out of a boat in the middle of the shallow lake and noisily drowned. The other girl in the boat, a year or two older, tried to hold her above the water but failed, while approximately two hundred spectators watched. One of the crowd even made a video recording of it. As in the Kitty Genovese case, subsequent newspaper articles discussed whether witnesses should be legally obliged to act, or punished for failing to do so.
The essential mechanism operating here is Neurotic Suspension: being suspended or frozen in a state of neurotic confusion. (Neurosis is here defined in Pavlovian terms as the stress induced when a single stimulus evokes two or more distinct responses.) Neurotic Suspension appears to be particularly strong when collectively expressed, in common with much other crowd behaviour.

My review of Simon Sheppard's Sex and Power:

BBC sends only pro-migrant female journalists to report on migrant swarms

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