The Psychology of Totalitarianism by
I was in a good position to warn for the psychological risks of the corona narrative. I could draw on my knowledge of individual psychological processes (I am a lecturing professor at Ghent University, Belgium); my PhD on the dramatically poor quality of academic research which taught me that we can never take “science” for granted; my master degree in statistics which allowed me to see through statistical deception and illusions; my knowledge of mass psychology; my philosophical explorations of the limits and destructive psychological effects of the mechanist-rationalist view on man and the world; and last but not least, my investigations into the effects of speech on the human being and the quintessential importance of “Truth Speech” in particular.
In the first week of the crisis, March 2020, I published an opinion paper titled “The Fear of the Virus Is More Dangerous Than the Virus Itself.” I had analyzed the statistics and mathematical models on which the coronavirus narrative was based and immediately saw that they all dramatically overrated the dangerousness of the virus. A few months later, by the end of May 2020, this impression had been confirmed beyond the shadow of a doubt. There were no countries, including those that didn’t go into lockdown, in which the virus claimed the enormous number of casualties the models predicted it would. Sweden was perhaps the best example. According to the models, at least 60,000 people would die if the country didn’t go into lockdown. It didn’t, and only 6,000 people died.
As much as I (and others) tried to bring this to the attention of society, it didn’t have much effect. People continued to go along with the narrative. That was the moment when I decided to focus on something else, namely on the psychological processes that were at work in society and that could explain how people can become so radically blind and continued to buy into a narrative so utterly absurd. It took me a few months to realize that what was going on in society was a worldwide process of mass formation.
Mattias Desmet, a Belgian victim of cancel culture, as part of telling his own story [paraphrased]:
I recommend that everyone read the excellent book by David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. The authors describe how, in Indigenous tribes of northeastern North America, no one had power over another. How were the problems of coexistence solved? By only one means: talking to each other (see p. 56). An enormous amount of time was spent in public debates. And it never occurred to anyone to exclude even one person from those conversations. This was also radically extended to cases of crime. Even then, only conversation, not power, was applied. When a punishment was finally determined, it was never the responsibility of a singular person who had committed the crime, but a wider network around him who had played a role in some way or another…
Missionaries and other Westerners who engaged in dialogue with the Native Americans were also impressed by their eloquence and skill in reasoning. They noted that these “savages” attained a degree of competence throughout the tribe against which Europe’s highly educated elite paled in comparison (see p. 57). Indigenous orators such as Huron-Wendat Chief Kondiaronk were invited to Europe for a seat at the table so that nobility and clergy might enjoy their extraordinary rhetoric and reasoning. (Many such Indigenous leaders also mastered European languages.)
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Desmet’s own book is The Psychology of Totalitarianism — which in part deals with mass formation psychosis.