Mental State of the Country Since Covid Began
As a psychologist, I am interested in knowing the state of consciousness of people, because it tells me what the world is going to be like so long as that state persists. One indicator of this is the searches people do using Google search engine.
Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz wrote that people can survive almost any event that doesn’t kill them so long as they have meaning in their lives. I am convinced that he is correct in this. I also believe that much of the unrest in our world today is occurring for the very reason that many of us feel that our lives are meaningless. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is that we have tried to find meaning in material possessions, rather than connections with people. In fact, there is significant alienation and lack of connectedness in the U.S. population, and it is shown by the large number of searches for information relating to this.
In the table that follows, I show the number of monthly searches that were made back in January of this year, followed by the number that are being made as of September 1, 2020.
There is no way to know exactly what these numbers mean. One can make a few inferences, however. Given that 30 to 40 million individuals are unemployed, that 183,000 have died of the virus, and there are wildfires and hurricanes battering the country, those search terms that indicate stress would certainly seem correlated. The surprising one to me is cancer. I don’t know if cancer cases have more than doubled, or why the search is 2.7 times larger, but something is going on. We do know that stress seems to be related to cancer, so if this is true, the virus is having a far greater impact than just killing people outright — there is a secondary factor.
One word went down — mastermind — perhaps because people have no time to engage in them just now.
Sex searches increased 1.5 times — not surprising since so many people are staying home more with little entertainment other than television, so I suppose they are making up for it. It will be interesting to see what happens to the birth rate when this is all over.
Notice the Law of Attraction, The Secret, and Vision board. These all increased, suggesting that people are trying to find solutions to their problems through these means.
One that I find very interesting is community, which nearly doubled. This seems to clearly correlate with Covid, because people are complaining about not being able to socialize, which is leading to the parties and public gatherings, but without masks and social distancing it is simply making the situation worse and prolonging the pandemic.
It will be interesting to see if the numbers that increased since January recede to original levels after the pandemic ends. I’m not a sociologist, so I’m not equipped to do a proper analysis of this, but I share it just to provoke some thought. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has expertise in this area.
The question is, what can we do to help people who are being stressed by the situation. Can we find community with online technology? If so, we certainly need to start addressing it.