Mattias Desmet Quotes
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“All people who have been describing, who have been studying, mass formation, such as Gustave Le Bon, for instance William McDougall, Elias Canetti have remarked that mass formation is not similar to hypnosis but that mass formation is exactly equal to hypnosis. Mass formation is a sort of hypnosis.”
“Another consequence, that is very typical for totalitarian states, is that people become radically intolerant for dissonant voices. Because if someone tells another story, if someone claims that the official story is wrong, then this person threatens to wake the people up and they will get angry because they’re confronted with the initial anxiety and the initial psychological discontent.
So they direct all that aggression at these dissonant voices, at the other voices. And at the same time, they are radically tolerant for their leaders, for the people who pronounce the mainstream narrative. These people can actually cheat and lie and manipulate and do everything they want, but they will always be forgiven by the crowd because the crowd seems to think that they do it for their own sake. That’s also part of the mechanism of mass formation.”
“As a consequence of mass formation, people do not get egoistic at all. But rather, on the contrary, mass formation focuses your attention so much on one point that you can take everything away of people — their psychological and physical wellbeing, their material wellbeing — you can take it away and they will not even notice it.”
“Don't let freedom – especially the right to speak freely – be subordinated to the fear of any virus. Generations and generations have fought and given their lives to realize a certain freedom. Show that you are worthy of that freedom. If you want a life worth living, you have to be able to accept a certain amount of risk. Don't give up everything for a sense of security that may eventually turn out to be false.”
“Equally subjective is the 'appreciation' of the number of fatalities. When are there many victims?
According to The Lancet, the flu kills between 290,000 and 640,000 each year. Another nice point of comparison: according to a scientific publication Roussel, published this year, viral lung diseases make almost 3 million victims every year. The viruses that make the victims differ slightly every year, but the total number of victims normally does not.
It remains to be seen if this year will be different. If we compare the current number of victims with that, it all seems less bad. Of course, no one knows how bad it will eventually get.
The point I want to make is the following: numbers ultimately provide little guidance and are absolutely open to subjective interpretation, and that is certainly the case during the corona crisis.”
“Even if we would succeed in waking up the masses now, they would fall prey to a different story in a few years. And they would be hypnotized again if we do not succeed in solving the real problem of this crisis.”
“Fear comes and goes among the population. You see that most major calamities such as war are preceded by periods of great fear and upheaval. I am not directly aware of literature that argues that epidemics are preceded by strong fear. But there is a lot of research that shows fear can drastically lower immunity and even kill you in a few hours in the most direct way. This has been demonstrated in both animals and humans.”
“Fear has immense consequences on several levels. Politically, the government for example, strong fear almost always leads to more radical leaders and ultimately to dictatorships and totalitarian state systems. But there will no doubt be consequences in other areas as well, including the physical area that should not be lost sight of. Anxiety leads to a weakening of immunity and as a result, people become more susceptible to all kinds of infections, heart ailments, etc.”
“Fear is caused only to a very limited extent by real problems, but it justifies itself by creating real problems.”
“Four things need to exist or need to be in place if you want a large scale mass phenomenon to emerge. The first thing is that there needs to be a lot of socially isolated people, people who experience a lack of social bonds. The second one is that there needs to be a lot of people who experience a lack of sense-making in life. And the third and the fourth conditions are that there needs to be a lot of free-floating anxiety and a lot of free-floating psychological discontent. So: meaning, anxiety, and discontent that is not connected to a specific representation.
So it needs to be in the mind without the people being able to connect it to something. If you have these four things—lack of social bonds, lack of sense-making, free-floating anxiety, and free-floating psychological discontent—then society is highly at risk for the emergence of mass phenomenon.”
“Free-floating anxiety is the most painful psychological phenomenon someone can experience. It’s extremely painful. It leads up to panic attacks, to all kinds of extremely painful psychological experiences. What people want in this situation is something to connect their anxiety to. They’re looking for an explanation for the anxiety.
And now, if this free-floating anxiety is highly present in a population, and the media provide a narrative, which indicates an object of anxiety, and at the same time, describe a strategy to deal with this object of anxiety, then all the anxiety connects to this object and people are willing to follow the strategy to deal with this object, no matter what the cost is. That is what happens in the beginning of mass formation.”
“If you look at the use of psychopharmaceuticals, it was huge. This shows how much discontent there was in our society. For instance, in Belgium every year 11 million people use over 300 million doses of antidepressants alone. Over 300 million doses. That’s huge.”
“In the beginning of the Covid crisis I had been studying the statistics and the numbers and actually I noticed that they were often blatantly wrong and at the same time people continue to believe in it and to go along with the mainstream narrative. That was why I started to study it rather from the perspective of mass psychology. Because I knew that mass formation has a huge, huge impact on individual’s intelligence and cognitive functioning. I had the feeling that this was the only thing that could explain why highly intelligent people started to believe the narrative and the numbers that were in many respects utterly absurd.”
“In the first place there shouldn't be built a material barrier against a virus, but a symbolic barrier against fear.”
“It will be impossible to determine exactly who died of Covid and who didn't. If someone at a blessed age with shaky health gets the coronavirus and dies, does he die from the virus? Is the last straw more the cause than the first? We can thus artificially or meaninglessly increase the number of deaths.
And we should mention that the reverse also applies: there may also be many more deaths than are counted. In Italy, people who died outside the hospital were buried without a test. They are not included in the statistics.”
“Man is reduced to a biological organism. Any treatment of any epidemic based on this view of humanity will only make the problem worse eventually.”
“Mass formation is actually a symptomatic solution for a real psychological problem. In my opinion, this crisis in the first place is a large societal and psychological crisis much more than a biological crisis. From this state of mental intoxication you can explain all the rest of the phenomenon of totalitarianism. The mental intoxication leads to a narrowing of the field of attention. It makes people only see what is indicated by the narrative.”
“People see the victims of the Corona virus, but they don’t seem to see at the cognitive level, the collateral damage of the lockdowns and all the victims that are claimed by the lockdowns. They are also not able, at an emotional level, to really feel empathy for the victims of the lockdowns.”
“Realize that anxiety is a problem in itself.”
“The number of coronavirus infections, for example, can never be accurately determined even with scientific tests. Contrary to popular belief, these tests also have a large margin of error. That doesn't mean that testing is pointless, of course.”
“The real number of infections is probably ten times higher than the number of diagnosed infections. This means, among other things, that the estimate of the mortality rate, or the dangerousness of the virus, varies enormously: 100 infected persons with 4 deaths gives a mortality of 4 percent; 1,000 infected persons with 4 deaths gives a mortality of 0.4 percent. If one starts from that last number, the coronavirus suddenly looks much less dangerous.”
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“The word 'flu' could never have the capacity to link fear in the same way as a new 'mysterious' viral illness. Our grandmother already had the flu, and she had her remedies for it. 'Flu' is a word associated with 'an ailment'. A virus is the ultimate, unstoppable and invisible killer. As such, from a psychological point of view, it is perfect to provoke massive fear.”
“This covid crisis is primarily a psychological crisis, a massive breakthrough of fear in society. Fear is caused only to a very limited extent by real problems, but it justifies itself by creating real problems. We are already feeling these problems through the measures: politically, the rise of the dictatorial state; economically, the recession and bankruptcy of numerous companies and the self-employed; on a social level, a permanent impairment of the (physical) bond between people; psychologically even more anxiety and depression; and yes, physically, in the wake of psychological and social stress, a collapse of immunity and physical health.”
“What determines our response to the virus is not the facts themselves, but the story that is constructed around the facts. That context is constructed by health care workers who genuinely do their best, by people who do not want to see their fellowmen suffer, by politicians who want to make the right decisions, by academics who want to provide information as objectively as possible.
But this is also being constructed by politicians who are under pressure from public opinion and feel compelled to act decisively, by leaders who have lost control of society and are now able to regain control because of the virus, by experts who have to hide their ignorance and choose the flight ahead, by academics who see an opportunity to assert themselves, by the inherent tendency in man for hysteria and drama, by pharmaceutical companies that sense a golden opportunity, by media that thrive on sensational stories, through testimonials of unique cases in which the course of the disease was exceptionally difficult.
“When a hypnosis is used as a kind of an anesthesia during a surgical operation, a rather simple hypnotic procedure is sufficient to make people completely insensitive to pain. You can, without any problem, cut in their flesh. Even under some circumstances you can perform an open heart operation in which the surgeon cuts straight through the breastbone and the patient will not notice this. That shows us that the focusing of attention is so strong, both in mass formation or in hypnosis, that people are really insensitive to all the personal losses they experience as a consequence.”
“When people experience mental intoxication, it doesn’t matter anymore whether the narrative is correct or wrong, even blatantly wrong. What matters is that it leads up to this mental intoxication. And that’s why they continue to go along with the narrative, even if they could know by thinking for one second, that it is wrong.
That is the central mechanism of mass formation. And that makes it so difficult to destroy it. Because for people, it doesn’t matter when the narrative is wrong. And what we try to do is we all try to show constantly that the narrative is wrong. But for people that’s not what it is all about. It’s all about the fact that they don’t want to go back to this painful state of free-floating anxiety.”
“Why did we as a society get in this state in which a large part of the population feels anxious, depressed, experiences a lack of sense, feels socially isolated? That is the real problem. And if we do not succeed in finding out where this problem comes from then the masses will always be susceptible to leaders who try to lure them into a mass formation.”
“Why do so many people still buy into the narrative?”
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“A simple hypnotic procedure is sufficient to focus the attention of someone so much on one aspect of reality that a person will never feel that someone cuts into his flesh. It’s a procedure that is used in some hospitals when the patient is allergic to a chemical anaesthesia. Sometimes a simple hypnotic procedure is used which focuses the attention on a positive thing, and then the surgeon can cut straight through the breast bone. The patient will not feel it.”
“A totalitarian state is radically different from a classical dictatorship. And that’s very important. And the difference is this psychological process. Classical dictatorship is not based on mass formation, not at all. Classical dictatorship is based on a very primitive process of fear that a human being has for someone who is stronger, who is in power.”
“All this free floating anxiety is attached to, connected to, the object of anxiety indicated in the narrative. And there is a huge willingness to participate in the strategy to deal with this object of anxiety because in this way, people feel that they can control their anxiety and their psychological discontent better.
So all this anxiety connects to the subject of anxiety, and there is a huge willingness to participate in the strategy and that leads up to something very specific. People suddenly feel connected again in a heroic struggle with the object of anxiety.
So a new kind of solidarity, a new kind of social bond and a new kind of meaning emerges in society. And that’s the reason why people follow the narrative, why people buy into the narrative and why they are willing to participate in this strategy, even if it is utterly absurd.”
“Around the end of February 2020, I took the perspective of a statistician. I started to study some numbers and some figures and some mortality rates, the infection fatality rate, the case fatality rate, stuff like that. And I immediately got the impression that most statistical models overestimated the dangerousness of the virus.”
“Besides other things of course, something that also struck me at the beginning of the crisis was that political leaders never seem to have taken into account the collateral damage caused by the measures. In my opinion, if you take measures against the virus, the first thing that you would consider is whether the measures you take, for instance, the lockdowns, will not claim more victims than the virus could claim.”
“Classic dictatorships can exist for thousands of years, such as in Egypt with the Pharaohs, for instance. But totalitarian systems usually destroy themselves and usually quite quickly.”
“Exactly, this mechanistic ideal, this mechanistic thinking, this transhumanist thinking is the cause of the problems, because if we wonder why we ended up, before the Covid crisis, in this terrible mental state in which people felt socially disconnected, in which they experienced this lack of meaning in which there was all this free floating anxiety, all this frustration, then we can clearly see that all this free floating anxiety and this frustration that it started to increase once the world became industrialized and mechanized.
So this is very typical. While the mechanistic view on men in the world started to become predominant at the same pace, the free floating anxiety and also the social disconnectedness started to increase. And that’s why Hannah Arendt says that the phenomenon of mass formation became increasingly strong throughout the last century because more and more people ended up in an isolated state. More and more people dealt with this free floating anxiety.
So, I believe that the people, the large institutions who are in charge now and who actually tried to shape the future according to their own ideal image, well, I think that these people propose a solution exactly like the kind of discours, the things that caused the problem.
Einstein said something very nice about that. You can never solve a problem by the same kind of thinking that caused it. That’s exactly what people try to do now, I think.”
“For certain people, their fatal flaw is not that they hate the world or hate society. It’s not the Batman villain Bane that just wants to watch the world burn. They actually are more like the Bond villains that are like, oh, well, or Thanos, for example, yes. Except for an ordered universe, we need to kill half. We need to blink half of the people out of existence, and then the universe will be fine, and then I’ll retire.
The motivation was pure in a way, it’s just a delusion. The delusion in the hubris to say, I can be God, and I accept the knowledge and I can decide. So it’s very interesting because the actions themselves are evil, but the intentions are often not evil. So when we project these, like demonic reptilian things upon them, it’s not that, they’re just overconfident and they just think they’re doing something good, but they’re actually not.”
“For one reason or another, the process of mass formation become stronger throughout the 19th century.”
“Gustave Le Bon, who is one of the major scholars on the phenomenon of mass formation, warned us in 1895 already that if the process would continue to become stronger – the process of mass formation – we would soon end up in a state in which the masters of the crowd would take over control in society. And that we would, according to Gustave Le Bon, experience the emergence of a new kind of state, a new kind of political apparatus.
And that's exactly what happened in the beginning of the 20th century in the Soviet Union and in Nazi Germany. We saw this immense, large scale process of mass formation there. The objects of anxiety were the aristocracy in the Soviet Union and the Jews in Nazi Germany. We saw how the masses emerged and how the masses were grasped in this specific narrative. And then how suddenly a totalitarian regime took advantage of this mass formation and started one of the most cruel episodes in modern history.”
“Hannah Arendt says the monster of totalitarianism and mass formation always is a monster that devours its own children. There’s something very strange. In the end, it starts to kill among its own members.”
“I think this kind of totalitarianism we are in now, like Hannah Arendt warned already in 1953, she said, we’ve seen the decline and fall of Nazism, and we've seen the decline of the Soviet Union, of Stalinism. But she wonders that that does not mean that a trend towards authoritarianism will stop. Very soon, she said, a new totalitarian state will emerge and it will be a worldwide system. And it will be a system that is no longer led by mob leaders such as Stalin and Hitler, but by dull technocrats and bureaucrats.
And I think that’s what we are about to see now and just like the totalitarian systems of the first half of the 20th century, this system will destroy itself, and it probably will destroy itself much quicker than the systems of the 20th century. It will be more intrinsically self-destructive because totalitarianism and mass formation are always self-destructive.
You can explain this very well from a psychological point of view, but it’s quite complicated, but they are always self-destructive. And once you realize that you know that the only thing you have to do is in one way or another, you have to try to survive outside of the system in a parallel structure and just wait until the system destroys itself.”
“In a country such as Belgium, each year, 300 million doses of antidepressants are used in a population of about 11 million. And then we are talking only about antidepressants. There are also antipsychotics and sleeping pills.”
“In a process of mass formation, the individual disappears and the collective becomes absolutely predominant and erases all individual characteristics. It doesn’t make a difference whether the people involved are very intelligent or not. It doesn’t make any difference.
The same thing always happens. Everybody becomes equally 'stupid' in a mass, and it doesn’t matter how smart or how intelligent they were before they lose all capacity for critical thinking. They lose all individual characteristics because they are really absorbed in this process of mass formation.”
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“In mass formation, the attention is focused on the virus, for instance, in this case, and then people are not aware that they lose their psychological health or their physical health. Or they lose their wealth, their material well being, and so on. That’s one of the most problematic aspects of the phenomenon of mass formation.”
“In the beginning of the crisis, institutions such as the United Nations warned us immediately that there could be more people dying from hunger, from starvation in developing countries, then there could possibly die from the virus if no measures were taken at all.
So it shows immediately that the remedy could be far worse than the disease in this case and also that in one way or another, nobody seemed really able to take into account both the victims that could be claimed by the virus on the one hand, and the collateral damage caused by the Coronavirus measures. Never during this crisis we saw one mathematical model that calculated both the number of victims that could die from the virus and the collateral damage of the measures never happened.”
“Mass formation arises around an object of anxiety, and that object always has to be destroyed. So if the population is too small, the mass formation will take less long than in a large population. That was exactly the reason – according to Hannah Arendt, a Jewish German philosopher – why totalitarianism was only successful or emerged only in countries with a very large population, such as the Soviet Union.”
“Mass formation in one way or another will make that after a while, people feel even more socially isolated. That was exactly what happened in Nazi Germany and then in the Soviet Union as well. After a while, people didn’t dare to come together anymore with more than two or three people because they were always scared of being accused that they were conspiring against the state. So in that way, they became even more socially isolated than they were in the beginning, and that in itself made them more susceptible, more vulnerable to mass formation.
So the phenomenon of mass formation, indeed, in one way or another makes that society ends up in a vicious spiral. It always goes down, and it always goes down faster, and in the end, it always leads to its own destruction.”
“Mass formation is a kind of hypnosis. And just like in hypnosis, the attention is focused on this very small part of reality that is indicated by the story. And just like in hypnosis, people are not aware of everything that happens mentally outside of this small focus of attention. That’s something very striking.”
“Mass formation is a kind of hypnosis. But there are differences with classic hypnosis. For instance, in the process of mass formation, the hypnotist is hypnotized himself. That’s the most important difference. Like in a classical hypnosis, the hypnotist is awake. His field of attention is not narrower than normal, but the person who is hypnotized suffers from a narrow field of attention. But the hypnotist doesn’t.
And in the process of mass formation, usually the opposite is true. The field of attention of the person who hypnotizes is usually even narrower than the masses themselves. So that’s why the experts in this situation, make mistakes that ordinary people wouldn’t make, and that was very clear to me from the beginning.
If you look at the statistics and the numbers that are presented through the mass media, they are often so blatantly wrong that even a child can see it. And still it is as if many of the experts do not realize it. And that’s because in one way or another, they very often are hypnotized, or their field of attention is even narrower.
So we could talk for days about the leaders of the masses. It’s very complicated because in one way or another, they are hypnotized. In another way, they often manipulate and cheat and lie to the people, and that’s because they do really believe in their ideology and the ideals they are striving for. That’s something they are usually hypnotized by. But usually they do not believe in the narrative that they are presenting to the people. They feel that it is justified to lie to the people and to manipulate them. So you have to make a distinction there.
They are hypnotized in this sense that they really believe in a megalomaniac way, that their ideology will create a kind of a paradise for humanity. But that doesn’t mean that they believe everything they are telling, because usually they know that they are manipulating the population. So it’s double, I think.”
“Mass formation is a specific kind of group formation, and it emerges in a society when very specific conditions are met. And the most central of these conditions, the most important of these conditions, is that there should be a lot of people who experience a lack of social bond. A lot of people who feel socially isolated, and then the second condition immediately.”
“Maybe some of the measures have a certain practical effect. That’s possible. But in the psychological function, I think that we should not expect that because the measures are absurd, in certain respect, people will stop to follow them. Not at all. The more absurd they are, the more the 30% of people who are under hypnosis will be willing to cling to them and to follow them.”
“On the other side, there is a very similar process in which people are confronted with a lot of anxiety because they feel threatened by the process of the mass formation. They also deal with a lot of free floating anxiety, and they connect to a different object, to the elite, to the Illuminati or a small elite that would threaten them.
They dehumanize this small group of people, so they have a different enemy. While the masses have as an enemy the people who refuse to conform with the masses, the other side also creates an enemy, an object of anxiety. And in a similar way, they want to destroy this enemy. They believe that if we destroy the elite, the problem will be solved, which, of course, is not true.”
“People do not commit suicide under very severe conditions. For instance, in the concentration camps and the Gulag people did not commit suicide. And it was because there was a clear external danger they were focused on and which made their psychological system very coherent, very coherently focused on one point.”
“People often say that we are dealing with psychopaths but I think we are dealing with megalomaniac plans, with people who believe that they will solve all the problems in the world by imposing a new social system, which is transhumanist in nature. People who believe that problems can only be solved through technological control.
I truly believe that this is what drives these people. This is their view on man and the world. And this is their idea on how the problems of humanity can be solved, which is delusional thinking, that’s not true at all.”
“Professor Graeber in Great Britain wrote a book titled Bullshit Jobs, and he describes how research shows that when you ask people whether they think their job is meaningful, 50% of the people answered 'not at all'. 50% feels that their job is not meaningful at all. That it doesn’t mean anything to anyone.”
“Solomon Asch was a psychologist who did some experiments shortly after the second World War, in which he showed two small groups of about eight people one line which was about 30 CM long, and then three other lines. The first of these three lines was about 10 CM long. The second was 60 CM long, and then the third one was about 30 CM long.
So it was clear in one glance of an eye that the third line was the line that was equal, that had the same length as the first one. And that was what Solomon Asch asked to these small groups of eight participants. He asked, what do you think, which lines have the same length?
And the first seven of the participants actually were collaborators of Solomon Asch. And they were all instructed to give the wrong answer. They were all instructed to say that line one and line two were equally long, which were absolutely not equally long. And upon hearing that the first seven participants all gave the wrong answer, of which a blind man could see that this was wrong, the 8th participant – in 75% of the cases – gave the same wrong answer. So it was really amazing to see.”
“Stalin switched it to the Kulaks, the farmers, actually. And then to the goldsmiths, then to the Jews, one group after the other. Until finally, he also killed 50% of his Communist Party members, who usually didn’t do anything wrong, who were not disloyal to him, not at all. But he killed them.
And the strangest thing about this was that these party members actually in a very strange way, which was also very nicely described by George Orwell in Animal Farm, for instance, but also by Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago and Hannah Arendt also describes it. These party members who were killed, who were condemned, all admitted that they had been disloyal, that they had been traitors and so on, which was very strange. Like people, observers from abroad, international observers were baffled. And they said, what is happening here? We can’t believe our eyes. These people didn’t do anything wrong. They did not go against the rules of Stalin. And then now they admit that they have done things wrong and that they deserve to die, which was extremely strange.
And that’s exactly what happens in a process of mass formation. Someone is grasped so much by a narrative that he accepts the most absurd consequences of the narrative, even if it costs him or her their own life. So that’s one of the strangest things I’ve heard.”
“Stalin was convinced that his historical materialistic ideal society would be realized and that in order to do that, it was justified to manipulate the population to move them in the direction he wanted.
Exactly the same was the case for Hitler, who felt that his race theory would turn society into a kind of a paradise. And exactly for that reason, it was justified to provoke some collateral damage.
And I think it’s the same now of course, there are some powerful institutions who have this ideal image of society and who want to use the crisis to move the society in the direction they think is optimal, and they use all their power that is at their means to make people go in the direction they want. That’s true.
But I think for 95%, what is happening is not the process of large scale manipulation, but for 95%, we are in a process of large scale unconscious mass formation in which almost everybody is grasped. We shouldn’t be naive, there have always been intentional manipulations. There are always institutions who want to benefit from all kinds of circumstances. All institutions have their own idea about how the future society should look like, and they always will use their power to move in that direction. So that’s definitely happening. But that doesn’t take away. I think that for 95%, it’s a phenomenon of mass formation that happens.”
“That’s also something typical for mass formation, all the free floating frustration and aggression that existed before the mass formation, is projected and channeled onto the people who are not into the process of mass formation. So that’s one major risk. And then also, of course, if the masses would succeed in silencing these people, then the masses will start to commit atrocities, also towards the members of the masses themselves.”
“The Covid measures, the lockdowns, the social distancing, the mask wearing, and so on actually have the function, unconsciously, of a ritual. A ritual – a kind of behavior – which only function is to create a social bond.
And the less practically meaningful such a behavior is, the better it serves its function as a ritual. The more absurd it is, the better it serves a function as a ritual. And the more sacrifices it demands, the better it functions as a ritual, because in this way, the individual that sacrifices something shows that the collective, the group, the cohesion among the group members, is more important than what is important to the individual.
So that’s exactly how rituals function. Rituals have to be pragmatically meaningless, useless. And they have to demand sacrifices of the individual. And that’s exactly what the Corona measures do. They are absurd without practical relevance, most of them. And they also imply huge losses for the individuals, which makes them very useful, very suitable as rituals for the new cohesion, the new collective, the new solidarity.”
“The large scale mass formations that we have seen, from the 20th century on, could never exist without mass media. So that’s clear, you need mass media who distribute the same narrative time and time again to make this large scale and long term mass formation happen. And usually I think it’s a mixture. And it’s for 90% an unconscious process. But there is also about 10% – could be more, could be less – of intentional manipulation of the masses. And usually the people who do it are convinced that they will bring paradise to society.”
“The larger the population, the worse the processes of mass formation are because mass formation always needs new victims.”
“The masses always long for a severe and cruel leader, Gustave Le Bon said, which is something very strange in the process of mass formation.”
“The most important thing we can do in this situation is to continue to speak out. I repeat this time and time again, mass formation is a kind of hypnosis. It’s an example of hypnosis, and hypnosis works through the voice in one way or another. People are grasped in the resonance of a voice.
That’s what totalitarian leaders know. They start each day with 30 minutes of propaganda, for instance, just to keep people into the narrative and to make sure that they continue to resonate with the voice of the leader, with the narrative that led up to the mass formation. And the opposite is also true. Like, if there are dissonant voices that continue to speak out, then the hypnosis will become less deep.
Gustave Le Bon, in the 19th century, said usually dissonant voices will not have the power to wake up the masses, but they will make the hypnosis less deep, and they will prevent that the masses start to commit atrocities. So that’s what we all have to realize. We all have to realize, in my opinion, that it is not an option to stop speaking. We should continue to speak out. That’s the most important thing we can do.”
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“The predictions of Imperial College were completely off. And the strangest thing was for me that at that moment, the Corona measures, the people in charge, always claimed that they relied on mathematical modeling and science, actually. But when it was proven beyond doubt that the initial models were completely wrong, the measures continued. The Corona measures continued as if nothing was wrong, as if the models were right. So for me, it was a strong sign that there were things going on at a psychological level that were really powerful.”
“The process totalitarian states go through is really different from the process of classical dictatorships. For instance, if in a classical dictatorship, the opposition stops to speak out. Like if the opposition, the dissonant voices, the dissident voices are silenced, then usually the dictator will become milder. He will become less aggressive because he realizes that he has to try to make the population sympathetic towards him to make them feel that he will be a good leader and stuff. So it’s important for him that at that moment he becomes milder and less aggressive because he is in power. He doesn’t need to be aggressive anymore.
But in totalitarianism, a totalitarian state, exactly the opposite happens. When the opposition is silent, when the opposition stops to speak out. At that moment, exactly, the totalitarian state starts to commit its most cruel atrocities. And that's what happened in 1930 in the Soviet Union, when Stalin started his 'large scale purification', which led to about 80 million people dying in less than ten years, according to Selsinchin. And then in Nazi Germany, the same happened around 1935. The opposition was silenced and then the real problem started in the totalitarian state.
So totalitarianism is something really different from classical dictatorships. And it’s the process of mass formation that is important.”
“The reason why people buy into the narrative is because it leads to this new social bond, this new solidarity. People are social beings and being socially isolated is really painful. And through the process of mass formation they switch from the very negative state of social isolation to the opposite state of maximal connectedness that exists in a crowd in a mass. And that in itself leads up to a kind of mental intoxication which is the real reason why people stick to the narrative, why people are willing to go along with the narrative, even as we said, if it is utterly wrong and even more important, even if they lose everything that is important to them personally.”
“The risk is that the people who don’t want to buy into the narrative become a scapegoat. The anti-vaccines, for instance, people who don’t want to take the vaccine, might become public enemy number one, and they might become the object of – this fourth condition that we mentioned at the beginning – all this free floating frustration and aggression.”
“The third condition in order for mass formation to emerge is that there should be a lot of – what psychologists call – free floating anxiety and free floating psychological discontent. If you’re anxious of a lion, you know what you’re anxious for. So the anxiety is connected to the mental representation or the mental image of a lion. But if people feel socially isolated and if they feel that their life has no meaning, then they are confronted with a kind of anxiety that is free floating. That means that it is not connected to a mental representation and with a lot of psychological discontent that is not connected with a mental representation.”
“There is a strong tendency to dehumanize on both sides, and that’s exactly what we should avoid. We should try to identify with being someone who tries to speak as sincere as possible and who gives everybody the right to speak out his own opinion. That’s being human.
What makes us human is that we have the right to speak in our own way and the way we prefer. If people could unify, if people could form a group because they all identify with this position, that would be the solution to the problem we are facing.”
“Usually people who are under hypnosis stick to the same ethical rules and ethical level as they do when they are not hypnotized. Being hypnotized is not an excuse to transgress ethical boundaries.”
“Usually when a process of mass formation emerges in a society and a population, only 30% of the people is really hypnotized. So that’s something very important, because it seems there are much more. But it’s not the case. There is only 30% of the people who are really hypnotized.
Then there is an additional 40% of the people who goes along with this first group because they never go against the current, and they feel that they don’t want to go against the current, that is too difficult and too dangerous to go against the crowd.
And then there is an additional 20% or 30% or something who is not hypnotized and who wants to speak out, who wants to do something. But it can be surprising, like even in totalitarian States such as Germany or the Soviet Union, uUsually not more than about 30% of the people is really totalitarian. And that’s something that is observed time and time again.”
“Usually, people commit suicide because they feel internally divided, because they feel that they lack unity, they lack coherence. And when there is a strong external danger, people usually will feel very coherent and they will not commit suicide. That’s something very striking.”
“We come from a very individualistic age in which people try to find meaning in their own lives in their own way, but actually in a strange way. Now we see how the opposite emerges. It is as if people want to lose themselves in the masses, in the crowd and as if they are looking for a leader who tells them what to do.
And that’s one of the most specific aspects of mass formation, that it makes people long for a harsh leader. Gustave Le Bon describes this already. And if the leaders of the masses understand this, they understand that they can be as absurd as they want, that they can be as harsh as they want, that they can impose the most absurd limitations to individuals' lives. It will only make mass formation stronger, and it will only make the leaders more popular.”
“What made that the attention of people was so narrowly focused on the coronavirus?”
“You can consider mass formation as a kind of a psychological symptom of a society. And as all symptoms do, they always create more of the conditions that made them emerge.
At the individual level, you see the same. If someone drinks too much alcohol, something in his system will change, which makes him long for more alcohol. And that’s exactly the same with all symptoms. Symptoms always recreate and reinforce the things they need to exist. And I think that mass formation is the same.”
“You see these three groups time and time again in each process of mass formation. A group that is really hypnotized and who becomes really totalitarian, then a second group who only just goes along with the first group and then a third group who does not want to buy into the story and who wants to speak out.
So in this situation, if the people who want to speak out – the dissident voices – in one way or another could unify and form one group, then it’s very probable the second group of about 40% of the people might switch direction and join them. And that would mean that the mass formation is over, so that’s one of the solutions to the problem.
But if all the people who want to speak out and who want to go against the current, who are not hypnotized and who want to do something against the crowd or against the mainstream narrative, if they would unify and become one group, they would be powerful enough to change the direction of the middle group, which would mean that the majority of the people would go in a different direction than the people who are really hypnotized.”
The Peak Prosperity Podcast Quotes
“If you look at the Covid-crisis and you listen to the mainstream narrative you will hear that everything is about solidarity. You have to participate. You have to accept the vaccine. You have to respect social distancing. Because if you don't, you lack citizenship.”
“The real reason why people buy into the story even if it is utterly absurd, is not because they believe in the narrative. It is because the narrative leads to the new social bond.”