The emotional plague’s existence depends on its remaining hidden from everyone’s awareness. But why is this so? Why can’t people see this universal sickness of armored humans? The difficulty that prevents this understanding lies primarily in the defensive ways of people’s thinking.
Comparing infectious medical diseases such as tuberculosis, polio or cholera to the infectious bio-social disease, the emotional plague, it is clear that in the case of the medical diseases the bacterial pathogen that causes the infection is not viewed morally as being “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Nor is there a moral concern whether the pathogen “meant” or “had the intention” to cause the illness. These moralistic ideas about infectious disease were part and parcel of the thinking of past centuries. If people looked at infectious diseases morally today, the sciences of bacteriology and virology would not exist, and knowledge about infectious diseases would still be where it was 300 years ago.
But this is exactly where people are today when judging destructive human ideas and behavior. They view them morally as being either right or wrong, the product either of a virtuous versus villainous individual or the result of a person’s good or bad intentions. These ideas are examples of defensive, armored thinking and the moralistic attitudes behind the thinking of almost everyone including the political left and the right.
Because scientists looked at the function of the medical pathogens in its relation to the life of the host organism, whether or not they were destructive to it, these medical sciences thrived. Regarding social problems, the questions that need to be asked are: What is the effect or function on others of a person’s behavior or thought? Are these consequences harmful to the core functions of people’s lives? Asking these questions immediately brings the emotional plague as an infectious bio-social disease into sharper focus and takes the problem of the destructiveness of sick humans out of people’s moral ways of thinking and out of the strait jacket of politics.