I recently watched an interesting video (posted below) describing the process by which people collectively lose their minds.
I won’t repeat all the content therein, but one passage in particular struck me: that in times of overwhelming anxiety, there are essentially two possible paths a person can take: one positive and one negative. The negative one (psychosis) is not necessarily what one would think, e.g., running down the street naked as some do during manic episodes, but instead a retreat into a delusional oversimplification of world view, impervious to disruption by contrary evidence.
The positive one is an adaptive response to selective pressure. The anxiety and stress are overwhelming, so the individual who chooses to remain connected to reality must make greater effort to integrate them, to live within the storm, so to speak. The same stimuli that drive some to insanity will force others to enlightenment. Put differently, but for the state of overwhelming stress, one might not have had the impetus to evolve. If you wonder why nature seems so indifferent, so cruel, perhaps it is for this reason: if she were kind, intelligent life would not exist.
In times of great stress, then, we have only two choices: (1) become insane; or (2) become enlightened. The middle ground, on which most of us have lived, is being yanked out from underfoot.