Here are two photos most of you have seen many, many times over the last few days.
The top photo is of the Obama inauguration in 2009. The bottom photo is of the Trump inauguration a few days ago. You know that. I know that. Most reasonable people who are not suffering from hysteria know that.
The Washington Post, however, surveyed 1,388 American adults and found that some people have completely broken with reality.
According to the survey, 41 percent of Trump supporters said that the photo on top was from Trump’s inauguration. Forty-one percent. Maybe we can attribute this to a few things: Some Trump supporters had not actually seen these photos before, but based on their perceptions of Donald Trump’s popularity, and on the basis of Donald Trump’s own statements regarding his popularity, they just assumed the top photo was of the Trump inauguration. Plainly, these people are ill informed supporters who have broken with reality.
This, however, is the more troubling statistic: 15 percent of Trump supporters surveyed said that the bottom photo had more people. In other words, they knew it was the Trump Inauguration, and despite what was clearly in front of their eyes, they were unable to process the fact that the bottom photo has fewer people.
In other words, if we extrapolate this survey to all Americans, and assuming around 30 percent of those surveyed were Trump supporters, we can assume that around 4.5 percent of the population of the United States is suffering from hysteria, a phenomenon that transmits collective illusions of threats, whether real or imaginary. There have been many documented cases of mass hysteria over the course of world history, but never on a scale this large.