Below is an interview with Dr Mattias Desmet, a Belgian professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University who also holds a degree in statistics. He provides insights into the large-scale psychological phenomenon he called a Mass Formation.
Overviewing some statistical analysis conducted during the early pandemic stages, Dr. Desmet noticed certain anomalies. These anomalies pertained to the calculations of the probable number of deaths, for example, in Sweden, which was far off to be regarded as an acceptable margin of error. Realizing that the corona measures were not adjusted based on the actual numbers, he became concerned by the common consent narrative he found in the mainstream and the psychological formation that followed.
Trying to explain the large-scale phenomenon, he suggests the existence of four psychological conditions that allowed for mass formation as we are experiencing.
1. Lack of social bond – the American Sociological Review report found that 25% of people don’t have a single close friend. Millennials and Generation Z are lonelier than any other U.S. demographic. The psychological, social media paradox reveals that time spent on social media interacting with the ‘avatars’ does not create a community with connections where individuals can create intimate relationships through shared experience.
2. Lack of meaning and sense in life – in the book “Bullshit Jobs’, David Graeber showed that 50% of surveyed people recognized their jobs as meaningless. A Gallup poll from 2012 completed in 142 countries revealed that 63% of responders disclosed being disengaged at work and sleepwalking during the workday.
3. Free-floating anxiety – is the third condition for a rise in mass formation. A quick count of prescriptions each year shows that there’s no denying how crushing levels have become prevalent throughout our communities with depression medication or anti-anxiety drugs. Data shows that one in six U.S. adults reported taking a psychiatric drug, such as an antidepressant or a sedative, in 2013. During 2015–2018, 13.2% of adults used antidepressants in the past 30 days
4. Free-floating frustration and aggression – People feel frustrated and aggressive, with no rational explanation of the cause. This means – they are unable to identify the object of their frustration
These four conditions exposed to the narrative identifying the Object of the anxiety (Covid) along with the strategy to deal with that Object created a perfect outlet to bring a sense of belonging, a sense of meaning and opened the door to relieve anxiety, frustration and anger. The act of struggling together created new solidarity and a sense that people can control their psychological discontent by participating in the strategy, even if it was absurd.
That participation ignores the facts, and it is fully directed to preserve the newly created social bond. That strategy shifted people from being very negative to the polar opposite, where a state of large connections is created. This lead to a form of mental intoxication, where people agree to anything even if it is completely wrong and absurd. Such psychological intoxication causes people to adopt the same oppressive, shaming language they hear from their leaders.
In a nutshell, this is how hypnosis works. It is an attention-grabbing process that focuses on one small part of reality told by the hypnotist. Like with hypnosis, people are distracted from what’s going outside their focus so long as they follow a media that provides the narrative.
I have selected one particular interview, conducted by Dr. Chris Martensen on YouTube for your viewing pleasure; it explores Mass Formation (Desmets’ name), psychological distress as well hypnosis through his interesting perspective!