Levels of paranoia and mistrust are much higher than previously thought and are increasing, it was claimed.
Dr Freeman, a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow, said: "We seem to have entered an age of paranoia. And the indications are that things may only get worse."
He said a combination of factors was fuelling a new era of suspiciousness, including the increasing number of people living in cities, the physical environment in which we live, growing wealth inequalities and the reporting of crime and terrorism.
He's right. Consider the factors:
- Casual sex: welcome to trusting no one to be a whole person, but instead to manipulate others for temporary pleasure.
- Multiculturalism: we're not all from the same tradition, values system and heritage, so we're battling it out in the businesses and streets.
- Political instability: we have bigger weapons, better spies, and instead of having one world master we're now fighting it out for this role.
- Demise of religion: even if a transcendental belief in forests for atheists, some sense of reverent holistic appreciation for life and belief in it as an ongoing order is helpful.
- Media: paranoia, horror, doubt, fear and sodomy of innocents sell; contentment, balance, simplicity and wisdom don't.
- Economy: everything, including all information around us and our doctor's words, is a product. For this reason, we know that every aspect of our lives is designed to profit from us -- to parasitize us. We don't trust but we must use, so the uneasy balance continues.
- Drugs: instead of letting a few knock themselves out with drugs, we're running around in paramilitary gear trying to bust people.
- Ugliness: utilitarian design covered with advertising. Blecch!
I'm sure there are more.