Studies of the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19th, 1995, indicate that the traumatic event resulted in people seeking to strengthen their bonds with loved ones: Divorce rates went down, and birth rates went up.My immediate reaction to the 9-11 attacks was a surge of patriotism; it was the only time in my life I ever felt like waving a flag from an overpass.
Too much trauma is clearly bad for people and can destroy institutions, but sometimes it seems to me that we need a certain amount. Or maybe that our world is set up for a certain amount; we would hardly have invested nation states with so much power if we did not fear attack from dangerous enemies. Maybe marriage also seems more important and more worth preserving under threat of serious loss.
We did not evolve to be safe and comfortable all the time. Wrenching events change us – sometimes for the worse, but maybe sometimes for the better.