Normalcy bias

We’ve all heard of normalcy bias; it’s one of those psychology terms, meant to explain the tendency of many people to ignore a danger, or an impending disaster. Usually people apply the term to people who, being warned of a coming natural disaster, like a hurricane, ignore the danger and tell themselves it won’t happen, or it will happen to some other town or area; not mine.

Now, however, it isn’t natural weather phenomena I’m thinking of, but man-made, political situations, human interactions, people who are on a collision course. I am seeing or hearing that a lot of Americans are affected by this normalcy bias, talking as if life will go on as usual, maybe with minor changes, in the near future, regardless of who holds the reins of power.

What I hear in a lot of people’s remarks is a hint of resignation. We can only adapt and adjust ourselves to minor annoyances or inconveniences; just go with the flow, play along. This sounds like the 21st century version of the ‘Silent Generation’, who lived by the phrase ‘Don’t Rock the Boat‘. Maybe that’s appropriate; I don’t know.

It could be that optimism is the right attitude rather than succumbing to the opposite; it could be said that this ‘normalcy bias’ is a form of optimism, and if the situation in question does in fact turn out to be less of a disaster, or if the hurricane luckily misses your town, then your normalcy bias, believing that it will never happen, has not misled you. But if the opposite is true, the ‘normalcy bias’ has blinded you to reality, and as a result you’ve been unprepared for the unpleasant events that have in fact proven to be real.

So with our current, politically precarious situation it’s hard to judge what will happen. More of the same? I am inclined to say yes, but is there no silver lining to the dark clouds? Some people, especially the online prognosticators, preach doom and despair but then the others believe life goes on unchanged or undisturbed.

Is there a middle ground between the two outlooks, a happy medium?

The fact is nobody knows the future, not even the best ‘pundits’ and bloggers. We can only do what we can while we can.

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