A lot of stuff on the internet goes viral. Cat videos or pranks get a lot of shares, but it’s actually the things that make us angry that have the most persistent life on the web. CGP Grey examines how our brains work to spread angry thoughts and what this means for society’s debates.
Thought “germs” that press emotional buttons in people’s brains get their hosts to spread the thought more. The most persistently viral thoughts cause anger, not sadness or other emotions. Angry thoughts usually have two opposing sides. These thought germs are actually cooperating, not competing with each other. Thought germs on opposite sides of the argument can be symbiotic, and a thought that gains more allies will gain more enemies. When opposing groups get big they don’t argue with each other, they mostly argue with themselves about how angry the opposing group makes them.