The idea for this article was born scrolling through my Facebook home page during the last months. Without doing it on purpose, my attention was captured every time by the posts of one of my Facebook contacts, who will be called Mr. X for privacy reasons. Mr. X is an avid Facebook user, publisher of 10 posts per day. He is not afraid to express his opinions, and to do so he uses every possible method -photos, memes, videos and posts written by himself or by others. Mr. X’s profile mirrors his mind to the point that even those who do not know him well, like me, are able to get in touch with his reasoning in a very precise way.
Mr. X is an all-rounder. On his Facebook page you can find his opinions related to several topics, which include politics, fashion, economics and sport. In the last few months, the most recurrent theme of his posts has been linked to Covid-19, which is now the main topic of news and newspapers.
Mr. X is convinced that the validity of a thought doesn’t depend by the reliability of the source or by the data supporting it. A thought is worthy of being externalized simply because it has been thought.
The following is a chronicle of the evolution of Mr. X’s thinking on Covid-19, summarised in periods.
30 January – 9 March: The great fear
- The word Coronavirus appears for the first time on Mr. X’s profile, who announces that the first cases in Italy have been registered, and explains how Covid-19 scares him.
- Italy is the first country in Europe for contagion. There are 71 registered cases. Mr. X blames this result on the fact that Italy let illegal immigrants into its country freely. He adds in two successive posts the need to equip oneself and do a lot of shopping to prevent food shortages in supermarkets due to the virus and how important it is to stay at home if there are symptoms attributable to Covid-19.
- Mr. X goes against those who say that ‘only old people die anyway’, saying that nobody can have the right to say who can live and who can die. He then mocks those who say it is only a normal fever, calling for the utmost caution.
- Mr. X invites the Italians to stop and not go up and down Italy, spreading the virus. The keyword is always the same for Mr. X: “Stay at home!”, which is repeated in dozens of posts and videos for the following days.
10 March – 13 November: The conspiracy
- Quarantine is announced in Italy to keep people at home, because, as Mr. X himself pointed out several times, a large part of the population still did not behave in this way. Mr. X, however, responds to the manoeuvre by accusing the government of fascism. And he begins to create conspiracy theories linked to the concomitant arrival of the American military in Italy.
- Mr. X publishes the video that went viral in Italy of the boy in Japan who explains how the cure for Covid-19 exists there, and criticises Italy because we didn’t adopt it here too. For the first time, there is also a comment on the number of deaths at Covid-19. According to Mr. X, the deaths linked to Covid-19 also include those who die from other causes.
- Mr. X continues to accuse the government of plotting against the population. This time it’s the Internet’s turn: according to Mr. X, the government’s next step after quarantine would be to shut down the Internet.
- Mr. X threatens to sue the Italian president for “culpable epidemic”.
- “What if the coronavirus is a great illusion to stifle individual freedom?”
- “From May 4th I will go where I want and when I want around. Give me as many fines as you like and I will never pay them”.
- “They manipulate us with the media, they have us in their hands, the vaccine will never come out, we are lobotomized for use and consumption of the powerful”.
- The cure is there but no one talks about it.”
- “They’re increasing the data on purpose, the plasma is working perfectly!”
- After the break to talk about Silvia Romano, Mr. X returns to the Covid-19. In his head, ideas are increasingly tending towards conspiracy. This time the idea is that the search for positives can be used as a pretext by the state to seek out people who are against the government’s ideas and thus be able to close them down. Then follows the idea that the virus continues in such a way that the Italian government can collect fines, which until that moment amounted to 150 million euros.
- Mr. X makes fun of the news because they no longer publish data on Covid-19’s deaths, casting doubt on the real existence of the virus even in the months before.
- The hypothesis of connection between migrants’ disembarkation and the outbreak of contagion return.
- Following the decision to reintroduce the obligation to wear masks from 18:00 to 6:00, Mr. X begins to make irony about the government, wondering if Covid-19 only exists at night. He also begins to incite people to revolt against the government itself, taking examples from foreign countries that have started street riots.
- “80000 tests to find a handful of positives… and find that they are all fine. We’re a bunch of fools!”. With attached warning not to watch and not to believe the news, as Covid-19 is much less dangerous than they say.
- “The virus exists, as do so many other viruses. It is not bad and they are using it to keep us in check”.
- According to Mr. X the high contagions are a staging to cover the extension of the emergency. “The numbers they give us every day are false!”
- “It’s a conspiracy by global lobbies, starting with Amazon, to increase their budgets at our expense.”
- Mr. X, increasingly furious, takes up old articles on flu to show how even in those cases intensive therapies collapsed.
14 November – present: The Redemption
- Noting the increasing number of deaths, which has now exceeded 500 people a day, Mr. X criticises the government for failing to take effective measures to combat the Covid-19 emergency, which in his opinion has become serious again.
Now that you’ve read what is on Mr.X’s mind, I would like to discuss my thoughts on the fascinating mental journey we have just witnessed.
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