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Mass Formation and Totalitarian Thinking in This Time of Global Crisis
Prof Mattias Desmet: The Eye of the Storm
Corona Committee, 30 July 2021

video (1:30:57), mp3 (1:09:06)
The time stamps herein reflect the English-only version of the mp3 audio recording.
Mattias Desmet is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ghent University in Belgium. He was the final guest at the Corona Committee Session 63: Eye of the Storm, conducted on 30 July 2021. This is a transcript of the English portions of the recording, edited to enhance readability.
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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, IF we do not succeed in solving the real problem of this crisis. Namely the question: 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. So I think the real question in this crisis is: What is there in our view of man and of the world in the way in which we look at life that makes us experience lack of sense-making? In my opinion we must conclude that it is something in our materialistic mechanistic view of man in the world that leads up to a radical destruction of the real social structures and social bonds and of the feeling that life makes sense.

Reiner Fuellmich: Professor Desmet, I apologize for keeping you waiting for so long, but I hope that you were able to listen in on what Doctor Ardis had to say, because this is a perfect segue onto what you can say is a perfect followup on what he says. Because he closed by saying that it’s probably the media that were most influential in, more or less destroying people’s ability to use their common sense.

Prof Desmet (00:00:34): That’s possible. The media play a major part in a mass formation and the totalitarian thinking that’s true. Of course there is more than media alone, and there needs to be very specific conditions before mass formation and totalitarian thinking emerges in a society. These conditions are as important as the media itself. But that doesn’t take away, without mass media you cannot create a mass formation or crowd formation at a scale as we experience it now and as a scale as it has been experienced shortly before the Second World War and then Nazi Germany, and then the first part of the 20th century in the Soviet Union. You need mass media to create a mass phenomenon at that scale. That’s true. Yes.

Reiner Fuellmich (00:01:33): You are a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. You’re a lecturing professor at Ghent University in Belgium. And you specialize in the mechanisms of mass formation and totalitarian thinking. Is that correct?

Prof Desmet (00:01:47): I’m a professor in clinical psychology at Ghent University and I also have a master degree in statistics. But in this crisis, I’ve been taking the perspective of more psychology, yes, indeed. In the beginning of the 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.

Reiner Fuellmich (00:03:00): So what is it in your view? What is it that, apart from the mainstream media, what is it that has caused this, well, illusion for so many people that they don’t see the reality, but they see a totally different picture of what really goes on?

Prof Desmet (00:03:20): Yes. 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.

(00:04:27): And these four conditions existed shortly before the Corona Crisis. There was an epidemic of burnout. Over 40 to 70% of the people experienced their jobs as completely senseless. This is described in the book Bullshit Jobs by this professor of Harvard [David Graeber] of whom I always forget his name. (He died last year, I think.) Then 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. So you see that these four conditions really existed: lack of sense-making, lack of social bonds, free-floating anxiety, and then a free-floating discontent.

Reiner Fuellmich (00:05:32): Yeah, let me translate....... Okay.

Prof Desmet (00:05:36): Yes. You have to know that 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.

(00:06:42): Then in a second step, people start a collective and heroic battle with this object of anxiety. And in that way, a new kind of social bond emerges and a new kind of sense-making. Suddenly life is all directed at battling the object of anxiety and in this way, establishing a new connection with other people. And that, the sudden switch of a negative state, a radical lack of social connection, to the opposite, to the massive social connection that is experienced in a crowd. This sudden switch leads up to a sort of mental intoxication. That’s what makes mass formation, or crowd formation, the exact equivalent of hypnosis. 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; that mass formation is exactly equal to hypnosis. Mass formation is a sort of hypnosis.

(00:08:09): What happens is that at that moment, 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.


“  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.

(00:09:11): What we have to realize, if we want to change this state of affairs, is that the first thing we have to do is acknowledge this painful anxiety. To think about why we got in the state of lack of sense-making, lack of social bonds, free-floating anxiety, the massive psychological discontent, and try to tell people, now we don’t need a Corona Crisis to establish a new social bond. We have to look for other ways to deal with the psychological problems that existed before the Corona Crisis and try to find other solutions. We don’t need this kind of mass phenomenon to solve the problems.

(00:09:57): 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, let’s say. From this state of mental intoxication you can explain all the rest of the phenomenon of totalitarianism. The mental intoxication leads to a to a narrowing of the field of attention. It makes people only see what is indicated by the narrative.

(00:10:41): For instance, 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. That is not because they are very egoistic. No, it’s just an effect of this psychological phenomenon. And it’s definitely—even as a consequence of mass formation, people do not get egoistic at all. But rather, to 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.

(00:11:41): That’s one of the major consequences of mass formation. It’s exactly the same as hypnosis, as classical hypnosis. When a hypnotist—during hypnosis someone’s attention is focused on one point, you can cut in his flesh, the person will not notice it. That is what happens all the time. 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.

(00:12:51): 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.

Reiner Fuellmich (00:14:03): What do you think this—this is not an accident. Who is responsible for this? For this mass hypnosis? Is it colleagues of yours?

Prof Desmet (00:14:22): That’s a good question. I have no idea. I described it, of course, the mass hypnosis. But I don’t know about the origins. Sometimes it arises spontaneously. Sometimes it is provoked artificially. Yeah.

Dr Wolfgang Wodarg (00:14:40): If someone has a lot of money, has billions, he can buy science. He can make universities. He can pay anything. Do you know how many colleagues that have the same education that you have, work in such firms that make consultants to those who are going for money, going for power, are being—who are on the market, who can be bought? How many percent of skilled people like you, do you think are working in such organizations? If you would, if we would guess. So ...

Prof Desmet (00:15:21): It depends how you define working in such organizations, I think. But it’s a strange thing that even most psychologists do not really recognize these processes in the present state and in this crisis. It’s very strange because actually it took me six months to understand that what we had to deal with was a problem of mass formation. From the beginning of the crisis I noticed that there was something wrong. I noticed that in one way or another nobody seemed to see that a lot of the numbers and the figures about the mortality rates of the virus and stuff were actually radically wrong. Then I started to think, What is happening here at a psychological level? What for Christ’s sake is happening here? That took me until the summer of 2020 before I’d really figured out that this is a problem of mass formation while I had been lecturing about it for three or four years. I think that a lot of the psychologists themselves are not aware of what is happening. I’m sure of that. And there are, some of my colleagues who are involved in and really intentionally provoking this mass phenomenon. At my faculty, I don’t think so.

(00:16:52): I know in Great Britain that there were some psychologists who mentioned that they were hired by the government to provoke fear and anxiety during the Corona Crisis. But I’m not aware of similar things in Belgium actually.

Dr Wodarg (00:17:16): I was vaccinated twice. I experienced very intensively the bird flu and I experienced very intensively the swine flu. I did some research then and I found out that for instance, the swine flu, Glaxo hired the son of Murdoch to get to be Director in Glaxo. So they really integrated the media into their business. We know that science now gets money from the state, science gets money from private enterprise. They are sponsors. There is research done, how to influence people. Before it was the state had a control, had a function of controlling that there’s no misuse of science and it functioned a little bit. But now the state themselves gives money to people who do science with the results they were looking for. So there is no corrective anymore. There is no money for independent science. When the states are also engaged in this big business, if it’s a private-public partnership making us afraid, then there is no one who has the money who pays the science that could help us.

Prof Desmet (00:18:37): Yeah, of course, being funded by someone diminishes your capacity to think independently. That happens all the time, I think. That’s also why scientists always have to mention their funding and the people by whom they are funded on their publications. Because everybody knows that it has an impact on your results and it should not be like that. But it has an impact. I think that this impact to a certain extent manifests unconsciously sometimes, maybe consciously is possible, but in any case it has an impact. I think that at this moment—we actually know all this since 2005—at this moment science is really in a crisis. One of the reasons is that almost all research is funded by people who it should not be funded by. That’s one part of the crisis. Definitely. But still, I think maybe something else than saying that most scientists are willingly drawing wrong conclusions or willingly manipulating the data. Some scientists do, that’s also something we are sure about.

Dr Wodarg (00:20:03): You can’t see things when your when your salary is dependent on that. You don’t see it.

Prof Desmet (00:20:09): I agree. I absolutely agree. And we know that, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the publication that appeared in 2005 of John Ioannidis titled Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. I have been doing my PhD on this problem in psychology and I know that it’s really true. If you really scrutinized most scientific publications, then you will find out that the conclusions are wrong. You do mistakes, you do sloppiness at a level of methodology due to questionable research practices or you do straight fraud. We deal with huge problems in the academic world and I think that the problems that we see surfacing now in the Corona Crisis actually are more or less the same as those who existed already for a long time and that we refused to solve in time. So we have become the victim now of neglect—

Dr Wodarg —for laziness.

Prof Desmet (00:21:29): Yes. And our lack of honesty and the lack of, yeah. Indeed all such things. Yes.

Reiner Fuellmich (00:21:34): I understand that you try to stick to the facts and you try not to make any judgements. Now we’re all of us lawyers here. And since this is something that we have no personal—at least I don’t—knowledge about we depend on the testimony and on interviewing experts like you. Now if I look at the totality of the evidence that we have seen over the course of the existence of this Corona Investigative Committee, there is no other conclusion than that this has never been about health. There is something sinister and evil going on, just like Dr. Ardis just said. This is intentional destruction of businesses and of human lives. And if you read what the people who are behind this—this is not hidden any place—if you read what they’re saying out loud, including in their Great Reset and other papers, then this is distinctly what they’re trying to do. Destroy. What kind of people do this? Who does this? I mean, do you have to be crazy? Do you have to be a sociopath or psychopath? What kind of people do this?

Prof Desmet (00:23:07): That’s very interesting. I think that the most fruitful perspective to take to answer this question is to look at the people who installed the totalitarian regimes in the Soviet Union and then Nazi Germany. And one thing is sure. They are not common criminals. Because most of these people perfectly know how to behave according to social rules. And so while a classical criminal actually transgresses all kinds of social rules, people in a totalitarian state who commit the crimes are usually characterized by the opposite. They stick to the rules even if the rules are radically criminal in themselves. That’s a major difference. And also a very—

Reiner Fuellmich (00:24:01): —That’s why they stick to the rules because they make these rules.

Prof Desmet (00:24:04): Yeah maybe. Yeah that’s possible. Yes. That’s possible for their own advantage. It’s perfectly possible. Another interesting thing in this context is that people like Gustave Le Bon and Hannah Arendt claim that if there is one difference between mass formation and totalitarianism—because the two are almost identical—on the one hand and a classical hypnosis on the other hand, then it is that while in classical hypnosis, the one who hypnotizes is awake. His field of attention is not narrowed down. In mass formation and in totalitarianism, the field of attention of the leaders of the masses—of the totalitarian leaders—is usually even narrower than the field of attention of the population. Meaning that the totalitarian leaders and the leaders of the masses usually really believe in the ideology, according to which they try to organize society.

(00:25:12): So they are convinced, for instance, of transhumanism. They are convinced of mechanistic, materialism, and so on. They are convinced of the ideology. They are convinced that this ideology will bring people into a kind of artificial paradise because that’s something that is common to all kinds of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism, actually for the first time arose in the beginning of the 20th century. Before it it didn’t exist. Before the 20th century we had classical dictatorships. Starting from the 20th century we had totalitarian regimes which is something radically different. You cannot compare it to each other. But the leaders of the masses and the totalitarian leaders usually—not usually, always said Gustave Le Bon and said Hannah Arendt, they are really, deeply convinced of the ideology that they want and they want to use it. They want to use it to create an artificial paradise.

(00:26:15): We’ve seen this in the Soviet union. We’ve seen this in Nazi Germany. And I think that later on, the ideologies of the Nazis and the Soviet Union were replaced by transhumanism in general. I wrote about this in an article. It’s not translated in English but it will be translated I guess and I can send that to you if you want. So the leaders of the masses are convinced of their ideology and that’s why they have this huge mental impact on the masses. But—and that’s important—they feel that without any problem, they can sacrifice a part of the population to realize this paradise. For instance, Hitler felt that he could, without any problem, sacrifice a part of the population to bring about this rule of the German race over the world. He felt like it was perfectly justified to do that because in the end the whole undertaking would result in a paradise which was the best possible place for everyone. And the same with Stalin.

(00:27:29): So they are convinced of their ideology. And that’s why they feel like almost everything can be sacrificed to make this ideology real. To realize this ideological fiction as Hannah Arendt says. So usually it’s this type of person who leads the masses. Yeah, I try to describe it in a very short time now. But okay. Well,

Reiner Fuellmich (00:27:58): One thing. If I were—what’s his name?—Lauterbach [sp?], I would call myself a psychiatrist because I had one semester of psychiatry when I was in law school at UCLA. Of course that’s a lie. I mean, I did have that one semester but that doesn’t make me a psychiatrist. But if I look at what you’re explaining to us from a legal standpoint, if I were a judge and these people were before me, I would sentence them to jail, at least. I would sentence them to jail. Because it does—none of what you’re saying is a justification for them. And it’s not—there’s no apology either. There’s no excuse. Because what you’re saying is they know precisely what they’re doing except that they believe in their own lies. That’s why they themselves are also hypnotized. But they know that they’re lying because whenever we put them on the spot and ask them concrete questions—we’re just witnessing this in our own, in this new political party right now—same people—same people have infiltrated this party when we put them on the spot they lie. And they know that they’re lying because if you confront them with what is actually happening and with what they’re trying to make it look like, then they squirm and they try to find a way out. But they can’t. So I don’t see any—from a legal standpoint, that is—I don’t see any, of course there’s no justification, but there’s also no excuse. So from a legal standpoint I think they’re liable. They’re guilty.

Prof Desmet (00:29:40): You could even wonder if it would make a difference if they would not know that they lied because as Sigmund Freud said, you’re responsible for your unconscious. And it’s not because you do something unconscious that you’re not responsible for it. I advise everyone to read this book. I have it here beside me. Eichmann in Jerusalem, the book of Hannah Arendt actually deals with all these questions. Because she’s confronted with someone that in many respects does not behave like a common criminal but indeed who, according to her, is responsible for what he does. But it’s an extremely interesting book because it’s not simplistic. She acknowledges the complexity of the person of Eichmann.

(00:30:31): I think everybody should read it together with this other book of Hannah Arendt. This is really important: The Origins of Totalitarianism. This is such an important book because it shows you so beautifully how totalitarianism arises in a society. And that I think it’s also good to balance out the impact of conscious intentional processes and unconscious processes. Because I think some people now ignore that there is intentional misleading in this situation and that’s of course a disaster. And other people try to reduce everything to intentional processes and end up in extreme conspiracy theories which are also wrong. And so I think we have to acknowledge the complexity of the situation and try to build an image that is as realistic as possible. I know everybody tends to try to reduce the complexity of reality and either believes in the mainstream narrative or ends up in radical conspiracy theories. And I think very often that we need both perspectives to really understand what’s going on.

Dr Wodarg (00:32:00): I’m very fascinated by what you tell us. I think it’s very important what you tell us and I’m very sad that we cannot have Hannah Arendt in this room and talk with us. But we should read that book again and again. I think it’s right. And I have one question. When there were such crimes or such people who were convinced perhaps even that they are doing right. When you think of the apartheid regime in South Africa, of the brutality, and there were those truth commissions afterwards. They were trying to confront those people. To have both those realities in one room and to find out what happens. What do you think? Do you think this is an instrument, this is a possibility to digest as a society? And do you have experience with such processes?

Prof Desmet (00:33:00): Not at that scale, no. No. I think it could be very important to put people with a different opinion and people who choose a different side together and to let them talk with each other. That’s extremely important because I think that actually most people who believe in the mainstream narrative, who even supported publicly even those who present themselves now as experts and virologists, that very often, they actually are not aware of bad intentions in themselves. So I think for these people that really makes sense to put them together with people with a different opinion and to let them talk. I also experience it myself. When I talk to someone who is convinced of the opposite narrative, who has a really different opinion as me, it almost always, if I continue to talk and if I try to really exchange ideas, I will always find out that for me, it opens up my mind a little bit.

(00:34:09): That’s something that Gustave Le Bon says, for instance: that it’s very difficult if mass formation happens at a very large scale in a society, it’s very difficult to wake up the masses. He says that usually you cannot do that. It’s impossible to do. Because the masses only wake up after a lot of destruction usually. But he says that if people who do not agree with the mass narrative, if they continue to talk, they prevent the masses to commence their largest crimes. That’s very important, you can make the hypnosis less deep by continuing to talk. And that’s what we all have to do. The people who have different opinions, the people who know about the different narrative, they have to continue to speak in the public space. That’s extremely, extremely important. I’m convinced that in this way, we will succeed in keeping open a certain part besides the mainstream.

Dr Wodarg (00:35:24): Yes. I think we are just building space for those who don’t follow the narrative, who are in the streets in Paris, who are on the streets in Rome now. If we speak about it, they don’t follow the narrative and they need more space. I think we have to build this space with our theories and with our talks. And I think it’s very important that we take serious all the other peoples who are not on the street. Who are in their offices, who are afraid to lose their job when they say what they really—they don’t get to say it, but there is something in their head that makes them doubt. They see the real numbers but they have to speak differently. So there is a conflict in many people. And I think we have to strengthen them. We had to give them power that they dare. That they don’t feel alone. I think this is our function.

Prof Desmet (00:36:22): And we also have to do it, somewhat paradoxically, for the individuals who are believing in the mainstream narrative and who are grasped in this process of mass formation. Because if we stop speaking the hypnosis will get deeper. That’s, something that’s very interesting from a historical point of view. Around 1930 in the Soviet Union, and around 1935 in Nazi Germany, the opposition was completely extinguished. Then you see something that is fairly typical for a totalitarian state. Then a totalitarian state starts to show its most aggressive face. And it starts to destroy—Hannah Arendt says literally—it starts to devour its own children. It starts to destroy its own children. Stalin extinguished 50% of his Communist Party.

(00:37:19): Totalitarianism and mass formation are intrinsically self-destructive. That’s something, for instance, that is completely different in a dictatorship. Because in a classical dictatorship, once the opposition is overwhelmed, the dictator starts to lessen, to get milder. Because he realizes that he needs the population to be on his side. He needs to make them content with him. And that’s what the totalitarian state does not realize. Because the totalitarian state is really based on a kind of mass hypnosis which makes it unaware of reality and in that respect it reacts in a radically different way. So I think we have to speak for both the people who are in the masses and for the people who refuse to go along with the masses. They need us both I think and I think you guys all do a wonderful job for that.

Justus Hoffman (00:38:21): I think one of the biggest problems and what makes totalitarian regimes so alluring in the short term is that they create, in the short term, very orderly societies. And that’s, in my opinion, what makes talking to people rather difficult. Because you can’t say, Well, there is no more rule of law. They all think of a classical dictatorship where there’s just one figure that does whatever he wants and creates chaos. But the problem is, a totalitarian regime creates a very strict, very orderly society with a very strict rule of law. Look at the Nazis. They created more laws, more government agencies, more policing, more everything. And that’s what we see here. You can’t go to people and say, Well, there is no more rule of law. In fact, there’s more police on the streets. There’s more court rulings against, so to say minorities. And then they can always say, Well, what do you want? We’re still living under the rule of law. Everything’s fine.

Prof Desmet (00:39:19): Yes. I do not agree that totalitarian states impose laws. They actually impose rules. Of course. Rules that change every five minutes. That’s something Hannah Arendt notes already both in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany there were no laws anymore. And I think in this, even in this situation, there is a big risk that the pandemic law of—how is it called in English?—there’s a law that states that when there is a pandemic that there are all kinds of other rules that apply. The pandemic law, no? Anyway it seems to be a law that erases all the other laws. And that says that from now on, we will live by rules that are changed no matter how the situation evolves.

Viviane Fischer (00:40:18): I have a question. I would like to know, why can we see it? What’s different? What kind of—what’s our mental immune system that we have not been affected? Or that there are—I mean, not only us, but it seems to be that there’s quite a lot of people—there was just a new poll that the university of Airfoud (sp?) does. I think it’s not representative because they’re only talking to 950 people or something like that. But they seem to be doing this on a regular basis so maybe to get some information for the government out, like what’s going on in the population. And it seems that only 30% believe the government at this point. I think it’s very much related to the Corona situation. So there seems to be maybe not so many people under a full blown kind of hypnosis but some sort of—that they just cannot draw the right conclusions of what they’re seeing.

(00:41:19): I wonder why, why we can see that? And what’s making—because we hear that quite often, that you or not quite often, but every now and then that someone, all of a sudden woke up and took a close look and said, Wow, what’s going on here? I don’t believe it. Or I don’t want the vaccine. Or I don’t want my children to be vaccinated or something like that. Where do you think—what’s different with our state of mind or psychological constellation and what is it, is there a way into this breaking the spell of the people who are under it to some extent?

Prof Desmet (00:41:55): Usually it’s only about 30% who are really grasped in mass phenomenon or in the hypnosis. But an additional 35 to 40% usually does not want to raise a dissonant voice in public space because they are scared of the consequences. So usually we have about 70% who shut up; 30% because they are convinced of the mainstream narrative and 40% because they don’t dare to speak out. Then there is an additional 20, 25, 30% who do not go along with the narrative and also says it out loud in certain situations.

(00:42:37): There is a very interesting experiment, maybe you know it, of Solomon Ash on the impact of mass formation and group pressure. [It] concerns the question as to Why some people are immune to mass formation? That’s a very good question because one thing is sure: the group that is immune is always highly diverse. They come from all political orientations, from all social classes, from all that, something that is very striking, is so highly diverse. And that’s something that was described already in the Dreyfus case and the group who is not sensitive to mass formation. In the Dreyfus case at the end of the 19th century in France, the people who wanted an investigation into the Dreyfus case, who did not go along with the mass hysteria against Dreyfus, they were really so highly diverse that everybody noticed it. And they came from all political orientations and so on.

(00:43:48): So why and what connects these people and what makes someone immune? Yeah. I think to answer that question, we need to go really deep into individual psychology and to ask ourselves, In what way people try to establish psychological stability? Some people always do it by going along with the group. And other people do it much more by staying very close to what they think is reasonable. And both these things—both identifying with the group and on the other hand trying to be as reasonable as possible and to speak up when you do believe in something—both these things give a specific kind of psychological stability and a specific kind of psychological backbone or strength. But I think it really, it’s very difficult to explain this in a few minutes.

Viviane Fischer (00:44:54): I just want to add something—

Reiner Fuellmich (00:44:55): I want to say, I don’t want to be rude, but I have to rush to get a train because I have to join a zoom with the Anglo-Americans in a very short time. So don’t let me interrupt you. I don’t want to be rude. I’m really grateful for what you’re doing.

Prof Desmet (00:45:11): You’re welcome. And I’m grateful for what you guys are doing as well.

Reiner Fuellmich (00:45:15): Thank you.

Viviane Fischer (00:45:16): I want to add something. We once did a little survey, a very small survey with, maybe, I dunno, just 20 people or something like that. And we asked ourselves because we came from, some were from the political party that we joined and some from other areas of resistance, let’s call it that. And it turned out that what we all could agree to, what we thought were the main driving forces for us was that we had a very strong sense of freedom and we cared very strongly about justice. We had a kind of extraordinary amount of wish to help other people. That we would actually be the ones who call the whatever, like run to the homeless and help him while everyone walks away, walks past that person or something like that.

(00:46:09): And then also that we had kind of, not a mistrust against authorities, but something, some feeling that just because you have this white coat, or just because you bear this title of professor so-and-so, we do not necessarily trust in what you say. But if you can convince us that if you come with evidence or like, we can, if it sounds convincing and we can ask questions and then you go because you have convincing authorities because you know the facts, then we would accept it. But not in general. Just because you tell us something that would be maybe the same thing with like police. If it’s something very silly, what they tell us, You cannot stand here. And then we would ask, Why can I not stand here? I’m no danger to whatever. These [...] seem to be like the driving forces for us. And did you see some connection to—

Prof Desmet (00:46:59): Yes of course. I think there is this tendency to independent thinking, to thinking with our own heads and that this is really a characteristic of people who are more or less immune to mass formation. The other thing, that we have a tendency to help people. That depends a little bit, because people who are in the masses, who are sensitive to mass formation, have the impression of themselves that they do everything to help the others. And that’s exactly—everything is done out of a sense of citizenship, out of a sense of, they do it all for the collectivity, for the community. They’re convinced of that. That’s also for instance, what Hitler said: I expect of every German that he sacrifices his life without hesitation for the German people. That was what Stalin said.

(00:47:53): I definitely agree that the people who are not sensitive to mass formation, that they really want to understand what they believe and that they have a certain tendency to really stick to reason. But still I don’t think that’s sufficient to explain why someone is not sensitive for mass formation. You actually have to refer to the concept of truth.

Dr Wodarg (00:48:30): If you have been betrayed very severely and you still want to trust, the only solution is that your trust, you want to always have to find out whether your trust is justified. For this you need transparency of the relation to others. You need the possibility that you could control. And if you have this possibility, you don’t even use it because there is the possibility and the other one knows it too, and so there is a basis of justified trust. I think this has to do with time, whether you have the time to establish such relationship. This has to do with the size the social system you are working in. It’s very difficult in a big system to build up the justified trust because you don’t, you have not kept a city to control everything. I think we have to think when we want a new society where we want more people—now many people have been cheated and are destroyed in their life. We should offer them a society where they can have a trust, which is easily to be justified.

Prof Desmet (00:49:53): Yeah.

Justus Hoffmann (00:49:55): From my personal experience, what I’d say a trait that is very common with everyone I’m talking to that asks questions is they’re not very agreeable. They’re not shy from confrontation like some other people and something that I wondered, because in the beginning you said, what’s also my experience, that otherwise very intelligent people are shutting down, basically. They completely shut down and they follow the rules no matter what. I know a surprisingly high number actually of psychologists and psychotherapists and the overwhelming majority of those, if you talk to them, they don’t want to hear anything of it. The only thing they’re concerned with is how to reach the conspiracy theorists and everyone who disagrees with them is a conspiracy theorist. Their whole scientific knowledge or theoretic knowledge is employed in a way that they say, Oh, we need to reach those people because not only are they wrong, but they have some kind of psychopathology. This is also very sadly, very consistent with history. I mean, assigning a certain psychopathology to anyone who’s disagreeing with you, it’s not only unprofessional, it’s dangerous.

(00:51:06): This is something I have encountered so much—to finish this—my personal experience is that people with certainly above average intelligence and high, let’s say academic credentials like lawyers, doctors, psychologists, they seem to me to be more susceptible to this kind of manipulation. For example, my father’s side of the family, my father was the only academic, he was a chemist, a chemical engineer. Everybody else on my father’s family side they are hairdressers or they have a mechanic shop and you can talk to them and they’re very educated on these topics. You can have a conversation with them and they let you speak, you let them speak and you can come to a consensus of sorts even if it’s to agree to disagree. This is my experience with people who work construction, who are craftsmen, handymen, whatever. They have no academic background and they are more open to discussion and more open to being convinced that you may be onto something than most academics I know.

Prof Desmet (00:52:33): That’s something that was already mentioned by Gustave Le Bon in the 19th century: the higher degree of education, the more susceptible to mass formation.

Viviane Fischer (00:52:42): But why is that?

Dr Wodarg (00:52:44): This is because of education. Just think what education means.

Prof Desmet (00:52:47): Yes of course. You could see education as a process in which you learn to think for yourself. But you could also see it as a process that you learn to think like everybody else.

Dr Wodarg (00:53:03): You learn to obey.

Viviane Fischer (00:53:05): But do you think that there’s some sort of way into that, I guess not by just questioning things, I mean, to get beyond the spell by these people. But could it be some kind of wake up call, like some emotional thing that you could present. Is it about emotions at all? Or is this not even an issue, could you not even on an emotional level reach them or wake them up?

Prof Desmet (00:53:40): We can think about short term solutions. Things we can do now. I think we have to be honest that we will not wake up the masses in a few days. But as I just said, we can continue to talk and that way, make sure that the mass phenomenon doesn’t get too deep and that people stay awake a little bit and remain a little bit open for other, for corrective experiences. I’m sure that is possible. And I’m sure that, in this respect, it’s extremely important to continue to talk in a thoughtful and deliberate way as we do now.

(00:54:34): At the same time also something that can be very efficacious, but it’s difficult, is the use of humor. Because mass formation, just like every type of hypnosis, relies upon the attribution of authority. Always the more authority someone attributes to someone the more he susceptible for being hypnotized by this person. What’s always very good is having this gentle, being humoristic in a gentle and polite way. That’s something that’s very good. Because if it’s not in a gentle and polite way, you will provoke the aggression of the masses. But if it’s a gentle and polite and refined humor it is very efficacious as a kind of antidote against the mass formation and the hypnosis.

(00:55:35): But that in itself, 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, IF we do not succeed in solving the real problem of this crisis. Namely the question: 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. So I think the real question in this crisis is: What is there in our view of man and of the world in the way in which we look at life that makes us experience lack of sense-making? In my opinion we must conclude that it is something in our materialistic mechanistic view of man in the world that leads up to a radical destruction of the real social structures and social bonds and of the feeling that life makes sense.

(00:57:05): If you believe that human beings are a machine, a biological machine, then by definition this implies that life is senseless. What would the sense be of a life that is reduced, for a human being, if it is reduced to a little mechanistic part of the larger machine of the universe? if you look at the universe and that the human being like that, then I’m afraid that you always end up by concluding that life is meaningless, and that you don’t really have to invest energy in social relations, that you don’t have to follow real ethical principles. In this way you destroy your psychological energy and your connectedness and you end up in free-floating anxiety and so on.

Dr Wodarg (00:58:04): You are a burden for the big machine. You feel like a burden for the big machine. They don’t need you. And you have to feel that you are the machine.

Prof Desmet (00:58:17): The large machine.

Dr Wodarg (00:58:18): Yes. You are the large machine which is a wonder. This is why we have the dignity of human as a principle of all our laws. Because it’s the individual, the dignity of the wonderful individual, all different, all equal. This is such a great thing. We have to help each other to feel that we are, each of us, a wonderful thing. That we are great. We get forlorn with with our beauty, with our knowledge, with our feelings, we get forlorn being a small, small wheel in the big machine. I think this is a way of looking at each other. It’s the image we have of ourselves and we have to help each other to get the right image again.

Prof Desmet (00:59:11): That’s something that is always also important, I think, as to the question what the difference is between the people who are grasped in the masses now and those who are not. I think that a lot of the people who do not go along with the mainstream narrative now actually object against the mechanistic view of the immune system, for instance, against the mechanistic view on life. I think that’s also an important characteristic that maybe distinguishes a little bit between the two groups. Not entirely of course, but to a certain extent, I think so. And I think that actually, that also very important important science itself, the seminal scientists, the great scientists of the 20th century, such as Niels Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and also the great mathematicians such as János Bolyai, who was one of the pioneers in the non-Euclidean mathematics or the complex dynamical systems theory. They all concluded that one cannot completely, rationally understand the reality and definitely not in mechanistic terms. And we should try to do arrive at knowing the world, than the mechanistic way, I think.

Dr Wodarg (01:00:31): We are our own narratives and we can exchange narratives.

Viviane Fischer (01:00:38): But if we have 40% silent or silent majority that’s just going along, I mean, they are, they have not bought into the narrative at all. They’re just afraid. So if they have some kind of crowd where life is maybe more fun, or where it’s going in another direction, they see that this is something attractive. Do you think they could just switch gears and just turn around and run in the other direction?

Prof Desmet (01:01:10): Yes of course. And they will sooner or later. But first our story, our alternative view on man in the world must be concrete enough and there are also other factors that will play of course. Totalitarianism and mass formation have one main characteristic: that it is always self-destructive. It’s something that was observed by Hannah Arendt, it was observed by McDougall, it was observed by Gustave Le Bon and one way or another, the masses and the totalitarian systems are only capable for destruction, never for construction. It was very, very striking that no matter what totalitarian leaders such as Stalin or Hitler did, it always ended up as a failure and it always ended up in destruction.

(01:02:00): For me, that’s one of the very dangerous things in this situation. I’m not a biologist, I’m not a vaccinologist, I’m not an immunologist, but I’m just relying on this psychological law that the masses are only capable of destruction and totalitarianism is only capable of destruction. Something in these systems seems to make it inevitable that each project ends up in destruction. That makes it a very difficult situation, of course. And because actually now that the mainstream ideology intervenes immediately in the body, in the physical body of the patients and it would be the case that also they are part of a mass phenomenon, then we could already predict that all the measures that are taken, including vaccination and all the rest, that it could end up as a dramatic failure. Well why did I say that? ...

Viviane Fischer (01:03:13): Because of the self-destructiveness of the totalitarianism.

Prof Desmet (01:03:18): Yes, indeed. That’s what we have to do. I think if we can keep people with our alternative voice, even a little bit awake, in particular this group who doesn’t really, is not really hypnotized, if we can keep them a little bit awake until the facts are so clear, the damage done by the system is so clear, then they might see it. The fully hypnotized group will never see it. That’s the strange thing. You can take them, you can destroy them completely. You can do what you want with them. They will undergo it and they will not wake up. But the other group, the 40%, will be motivated if there is more and more damage, they’ll be motivated to start to speak up aloud. And that’s the tipping point. I think that’s the point where someone can change and we reach this point quicker and faster, the more we can keep them awake. So that’s why I think in my opinion, I have to be careful if I say that, but I think it’s better for us all to continue to speak in a public space.

Justus Hoffmann (01:04:28): I think that that’s true because common sense dictates that this kind of society is not sustainable. You can’t drive such an immense—create such an immense rift in the society, and such a divide, and expect the society to uphold itself. It’s impossible.

Prof Desmet (01:04:52): No, no. It’s impossible, yes.

Viviane Fischer (01:04:55): Do you know what struck me is that when you look at, for instance Nazi times, at least if you were part of the crowd that was the good crowd—I mean in their kind of point of view, that you could, then you could join for instance, [German phrase], I mean, what’s that ‘power through happiness,’ you could go on a holiday vacation that they provided, you could be part of this crowd of the blonde, white people, whatever, and you had privileges. Here, we see that if you play along, if you really stick to all these crazy rules, you have even less fun than the others who maybe sat together and celebrated their birthday party and then maybe got a letter from the police. But in the end, nothing happens like as we see this now in a lot of cases. So what’s making this, is it not necessary to at least provide something that’s a little bit fun if you want to lure people into this totalitarianism? Or is this, as you said, really just like getting the anxiety that you had before, that you now have an anchor point for that and having fun does not play any role at all?

Prof Desmet (01:06:16): No, I don’t know. I will refer again to Gustave Le Bon who observed already in the 19th century, that the masses always have a preference for harsh and strict leaders who are cruel to their own people. So I hope our experts or our people who come to the fore now as the leaders do not realize this, but the harsher they are and the more they take away of the people, the more success they will have.

Dr Wodarg (01:06:52): They run the risk to be ridiculous. And if we see this risk, we point with our finger on that. They are naked. This is what we can laugh about and which opens the space. We work together with comedians and I think it’s a very good thing to work together with artists and comedians and musicians and to find this space, this human space, which gives a little bit of freedom so that you can go a little bit back and see the whole thing and you are not fixed in this hypnosis so much. I think humor is a way to to give space, even if you’re hypnotized.

Viviane Fischer (01:07:44): Yeah. Okay. Let me translate this. .... Yeah. Is there anything else we would like to add or—we’ve been really extensively discussing everything. I think.

Justus Hoffmann (01:07:54): Thank you for coming and for your time and for your very, very insightful comments about the situation.

Prof Desmet (01:08:01): It’s nice to hear.

Viviane Fischer (01:08:02): I want to, I think you had the information that we’ve been, I think during our conversation, we have been cut off on YouTube. So we seem to have been spot on. The live stream on YouTube, we had been broadcasting through a variety of channels, but on YouTube, we were cut off during the conversation with you. They deleted the stream. So we must have been spot on.

Prof Desmet (01:08:35): Maybe, will this be, this is recorded and will be put on YouTube?

Viviane Fischer (01:08:42): We’re live. This was live and has been live.

Prof Desmet (01:08:46): Yes, but then there will be a copy spread through social media or something?

Viviane Fischer (01:08:53): Of course we’ll spread it. Like it’s going to be everywhere.

Prof Desmet (01:08:57): Okay. Perfect. And can you send me a link? Okay. Then I can put it also on my social media.

References

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