Somebody did explain this inexplicable disconnect with reality to me. His name is Joseph Ratzinger, and he did so in a series of conferences given in 1986, published in book form as To Look on Christ (St. Paul Publications, 1989). “The entire life of a society … can rest on a dictatorship of untruth: of how things are presented and reported instead of reality itself…. [in] a society shaped by the mass media, the image of man and his world has obtained an oppressive new reality. What is shown and ‘appears’ (on television, for example), is stronger than reality.”
How has this happened? Well, if you don’t believe in God, you don’t believe in nothing. You will believe in anything, because human nature has to believe in something. The media has provided us with something to believe in. It has provided us with fear, which is always a strong motive for belief. It has identified our enemy and offered us a safety net in which we can put our trusting faith. The problem is: the media’s portrayal of the situation is not based in scientific fact, nor in human reality. The fact is that curve has been flattened, and the fact is that human beings need social interaction.
Belief in a personal God requires a personal surrender to a higher power, a will more perfect and greater than our own. This surrender of will is intolerable to people who have made “free choice” the highest good. So we try to have it both ways: we surrender a little of our will to powers that do not demand a complete surrender. The government and the media tell us that we will be safe as long as we give up just a few personal liberties. We can still keep our free choice to drink and eat what we want. We are free to watch what we want on Netflix (heck, they even offer two months' free unlimited pornography). Abortion clinics won’t close, and pet food stores will remain open. But we must wear masks, and keep away from each other, even though sound science demonstrates a diminishing infection risk.
It's not a good way to live….