The incredible violence of September 11, 2001, did not provoke the panic that its sponsors probably hoped for: the evacuation of the towers was carried out without a murderous stampede. It is because the blow, by its very enormity and its totally unexpected character, was experienced as coming from the outside. But panic is an evil from within, and a social system is all the more likely to break down in panic if the evil is already contained within it.
The stock market panic is the demonstration of this. When panic decides to manifest its presence, it surprises its victims even more than a blow coming from elsewhere. How do panic phenomena allow us to understand what makes a society "hold together", what binds men to each other in a social context?