Were We Hypnotised by Desmet – Part I: Where Does His Argument Fall Apart?

Billie Grace Ward from New York, USA, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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The first of three parts, this article by Rusere Shoniwa was originally published at A Plague on Both Houses where you can find much more of Rusere’s work.

The highly persuasive Belgian psychologist Mattias Desmet burst on to the covid resistance scene in the late summer of 2021 with his explanation of the terrifying global march of the Covidian Cult. I was completely seduced by his theory of mass formation hypnosis, expounded in a series of interviews between August 2021 and March 2022. With each interview he did, his star seemed to burn brighter.

But then he published his book The Psychology of Totalitarianism in June 2022. And that’s when his seemingly wonderful exposition, hitherto hung on a series of brilliant one-hour interviews, started to fall apart. If ever there was an argument for forgoing a disquisition in favour of keeping things simple on YouTube, the curious incident of the hypnotic psychologist seems to be it.   

Desmet was attacked by the likes of Peter Breggin, a US psychiatrist no less, who accused him of blaming the victims of totalitarianism instead of the perpetrators and, far more sensationally, of having “protected a mass murderer in his therapy practice.” Robert Malone soon discovered that Breggin’s wrath knew no bounds as Malone himself was maligned for being an alleged promoter of Desmet’s theory. Malone, having none of it, is now suing Breggin for a cool $25 million and, reading between the lines, Breggin seems worried. C J Hopkins, with his trademark devil-may-care insouciance, has delighted in attracting the ire of Desmet’s fan club by trashing the mass hypnosis theory in less than diplomatic tones.    

Et moi? For starters, I have checked the above paragraph to ensure it is libel-proof, such is the febrile atmosphere surrounding the mass formation brouhaha. I must also disclose that I have gone from being a fully paid-up acolyte of the mass hypnosis theory to being less convinced. I have gone from exhorting friends to listen to Desmet interviews to co-authoring a two-part critique of the hypnosis part of the theory – one questioning whether hypnosis is really at play in mass formation and another suggesting that a hard core of Covidians are not under a hypnotic spell but rather may simply be crisis addicts. I always emphasise that the second piece is not offered up as a neat, self-contained single explanation of the cause of the violent lurch towards totalitarianism but rather as a rejection of one simple theory and a discussion of one (among many) potential psychological catalyst in a complex political crime.

So, the ‘we’ in the title to this piece clearly does not refer to the Breggins and Hopkins of the world who poured petrol and lit a match on Desmet’s theory at the first opportunity. It refers to the likes of me, who started out ‘hypnotised’ by mass hypnosis theory and then became sceptical after reading the book and hearing other critiques.

At this point, it’s important for me to nuance my stance on Desmet’s theory. If you care to sample my writing before and after the Desmet drama, you will find that I have never depoliticised the global march to neo-fascism that began with covid tyranny in March 2020 by suggesting that the whole predicament can be seen through a purely psychoanalytical lens. On the contrary, I have always started out with a systemic analysis of the global political economy. I believe that The System is designed for and has been captured by a nexus of powerful supranational, global corporate and government interests whose aim is to implement a global human control grid by propagating bogus ideological and technocratic pretexts. Human systems are not abstractions: they are run by people. Systems that reward evil behaviour will drive evil outcomes, and it certainly feels to me as though we are fast approaching peak evil.

This line of thinking has remained a constant for me despite the apparent contradictory seduction by and subsequent doubts about the mass hypnosis theory. To complicate that stance, I do not reject Desmet’s theory outright, despite my rejection of his key arguments. One aspect of his thinking is not entirely incompatible with a systemic analysis of the political economy and indeed with the evil that men and women do. So, my flirtation with mass hypnosis theory and its partial rejection is the basis for the question: was I, along with others like Robert Malone, hypnotised by mass hypnosis theory? Indeed, the apparent ambiguity of my new position raises new questions: am I now fully de-hypnotised or am I semi-hypnotised? Here is the framework within which I propose to answer these questions:

  • In part I, I will home in on Desmet’s book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, to explain where I think things fall apart. I will also deconstruct Desmet’s portrayal of the mechanistic worldview as a simple diagnosis for all that is wrong with the world. I will try to put it into a different perspective and align it with what I believe is the true guiding ideology of today’s masters of the universe.
  • In part II, I will attempt to establish a coherent relationship between woke discourses and the ruling ideology. I’ll examine Desmet’s disappointingly pejorative stance towards conspiracy theory. Then I will outline why a different diagnosis of the problem shifts our perception of how to resist 21st century totalitarianism.
  • In part III, I will survey three of the dominant critiques to understand what they’re saying, what they’re not saying and to what extent I agree or disagree with them. In doing so, I will try to arrive at the meaning of the brouhaha over the musings of a thoughtful, quietly spoken, possibly partially misguided, Belgian psychologist.

Where things fall apart and why

The starting point for understanding where The Psychology of Totalitarianism goes wrong lies in how the book is structured. It consists of eleven chapters split into three parts. The first part, spread over five chapters, is a wonderful disquisition on what is wrong with the modern world and the failed promise of science. Here Desmet is setting the scene; how social atomisation, the ascendancy of the mechanistic worldview, pseudoscience and the desire for certainty have led to greater insecurity and brought us to the precipice we now stand at.

You know you have arrived at the core of the book in part two because it is aptly titled Mass Formation and Totalitarianism. This is where I believe the book’s essential argument is, sadly, lost.

Part three is another wonderful disquisition on spiritual matters and how to escape the mechanistic worldview. In Chapters 9 and 10 – The Dead versus the Living Universe and Matter and Spirit – I find myself agreeing with Desmet’s elucidation of the mystery of consciousness and the evidence that seriously challenges the assumed mechanistic link between the brain as a material substrate and consciousness. There are certainly more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the narrow, reductionist philosophy of the mechanistic worldview.

In short, if you want to understand why this book is so seductive, read parts one and three. Part two is the reason why this book is attracting so much ire from the Great Reset resistance movement.

Even though the core of the book, part two, is only 56 pages long – 30% of the total book – this is the core. There is no getting away from this fact. This is where Desmet attempts to convince us that the masses and leaders are hypnotised, are hypnotising each other, are hypnotised by an ideology and that the leaders are even more hypnotised than the masses. It’s a mess and it’s riddled with arguments that jar to the bone. In fact, parts one and three may well be Desmet’s attempt to hypnotise us into swallowing the very weak arguments in part two. But sandwiching this messy core between two uplifting and insightful chunks of prose cannot salvage such a messy core. One of the main problems of part two is that it builds on theories of totalitarianism by Gustav Le Bon and Hannah Arendt but fails to adapt them to fit 21st century totalitarianism. As a grand psychological theory, its failure to knit in the current political and economic dimensions leaves it sorely wanting.

So that’s where things fall apart. If I had to summarise why they fall apart, I would have to say it comes down to a failure to view the problem through a systemic lens and then formulate a psychological theory rooted not just in individual theories of mind but in how the pressures of the system change the way people interact with each other. I cannot see how it is possible to formulate a grand theory of the psychology of totalitarianism without first examining the social and economic systems in which it flourishes.

Once ideology was positioned as the source from which all problems radiate, it was inevitable that concrete realities of human behaviour would be dismissed as ‘conspiracy theory’ or misattributed to ideological entrancement. A prime example of perplexing misattribution: through the lens of ideological ‘hypnosis’, Desmet believes we should not rule out the possibility that the victims of the holocaust cooperated with Nazis, not because they were powerless to resist the might of the brutal German military machine, but because they were, like the Nazis, entranced by the ideology of the day. I’ll unpick that later, but I think it’s, well, very wrong.

Another example of a failure to see problems systemically is when Desmet correctly observes that the most important and meaningful jobs in society such as farming, nursing or crafts are perversely the most poorly rewarded. However, he posits that this paradox is the product of feelings of resentment and revenge towards those who have meaningful work. Viewed through a socio-economic lens – i.e. The System – a different and more plausible explanation emerges. Under capitalism, value is created by those who produce real work and extracted by the owners and managers of The System for profit. This is termed ‘leveraging’ – a euphemism for sucking up value from those who produce at the bottom of the economic pyramid to those who own or manage the process of production at the top. This is the real source of this perversity; revenge and resentment have far less to do with it than an abusive system. I won’t deny that all sorts of negative emotions arise on all sides as a result of this perversity, but the emotions themselves are not the primary cause of the economic reality of real jobs being disproportionately rewarded. It’s an important distinction to make, and Desmet’s unwillingness to do this is a theme that weaves through his book.

It ain’t hypnosis

Early on in part two, Desmet unequivocally reasserts Le Bon’s claim that “the effect of mass formation is identical to hypnosis”.[1] He goes on to argue that it’s not as if the masses are hypnotised; they simply are hypnotised. To be clear, he is stating that mass hypnosis is mass formation. The basic rules of logic require that if you assert that (a) = (b), you must first clearly define (a) and then prove that (b) has all the qualities of (a), or at least such a significant proportion of those qualities as to render it materially equivalent to (a). This is not achieved. Desmet’s highly superficial rendering of mass formation into mass hypnosis based purely on the singular, hysterical focus on a barmy narrative just isn’t enough to meet the standards of this logical test.

In a piece I co-authored with Amy Willows, we argued that, apart from hypnosis and mass formation, there are numerous other circumstances which seem to involve a focus on a single stimulus, along with suggestibility and a lack of concern for anything else. To name a few: shock, terror, sex, meditation, pain, paranoia, play and addiction. While the appearance of a highly focused state may be the most obvious commonality, it is perhaps also the most superficial one because the internal psychic processes and emotional experience differ considerably during each of these situations. I believe that shock, terror and addiction are better candidates than hypnosis for the singular focus that characterised the covid hysteria.

In another piece I co-authored with Amy, we set out arguments for why we thought addiction (specifically crisis addiction) could be a plausible causal factor in mass formation. But you don’t even have to buy into that theory to see the flaws in Desmet’s argument: simply looking more deeply at what hypnosis actually involves is enough to highlight the problems with his theory.

I invite you to read Amy’s arguments, but here is a summary of the main points that challenge the Desmet stance:

  • In real hypnosis, the relationship between hypnotist and subject is based on trust. Anxiety is inimical to the hypnotic process, but the basis of covid mass formation was in fact fear and anxiety. The covid mass formation relationship was a precarious and paranoid one in which an authority figure threatened to punish or expel individuals if they lost faith in the authority and its narrative.
  • Contrary to hypnosis, where the relationship-making process is highly receptive to the interpretation of all experiences as pleasant or benign, covid mass formation seemed to destroy parts of the mind’s relationship-making process, making all anomalies with the narrative very threatening, thus triggering urgent action to fix or avoid them.
  • In real hypnosis, the source of the hypnotic stimulus tends to be reassuring. Many of us can easily enter a hypnotic trance when our attention is engaged by a subtle yet evocative stimulus, one without specific or important verbal meaning. For example, a low tone of voice which we might associate with the experience of being soothed as an infant. As the voice reassures us about what we are able and unable to do, we are surprised to discover that it’s right, and so we pay more attention to it. Contrast this with the alarmist, in-your-face, noisy messaging of covid terror: “PANDEMIC ALERT! MILLIONS OF YOU ARE GOING TO DIE! DON’T BE ONE OF THEM!”, which lacks something of the inconsequentiality of the hypnotic stimulus.
  • Hypnosis is not very effective at brainwashing. Changing someone’s principles and political opinions cannot be done this way. The processes involved would be too complex and in fact people’s principles and political values were not changed – they were simply revealed.

Desmet agrees with us on this last point, but that agreement only serves to de-emphasise the role of hypnosis, which is a calming and positive intervention, in exposing mass moral depravity. Something else was at play. And I am well aware that in referring to the existence of “mass moral depravity”, I, unlike many critics of Desmet’s theory, do not see the general populace solely as victims to whom terrible things were done. We will tease this out more in Part III.

Pity the leaders, for they know not what they do?

Chapter 7 is where Desmet starts to bend the laws of logic in a serious way by positing that the leaders themselves are hypnotised. He asserts that “in mass formation…the person who conveys the story is usually in the grip of the story as well. The leader usually fanatically believes in the ideological basis of the narrative (not in the narrative itself!) that controls the masses.”[2] [emphasis added]

It’s not implausible that our great leaders could genuinely be under the spell of a crackpot theory and simply wish to take the masses along with them in the sincere belief that their story is noble and good. However, Desmet is forced to acknowledge deceit on the part of the leaders because the entire covid narrative was a labyrinth of lies. Here he posits that the leader “blindly believes in the ideology he is trying to impose but not in the discourse he uses to promote it”[3]. In other words, Desmet offers a contradictory formulation – that of an overarching ideology in which the rulers fervently and sincerely believe but which must be knowingly serviced by a false narrative.

This claim is highly problematic because it clearly implies that the leader is using the discourse to hide his ideology from the masses. But if leaders and masses were both in the grip of the same ideology, why would one party need to hide it from the other? Surely sharing it would help to feed each other’s entrancement by it? The answer of course is that they’re not in the grip of the same ideology and if the masses found out what the leaders’ true ideology was, the house of cards, built on deception, might tumble.  

The contradiction goes deeper than mere deception because it speaks to differing levels of consciousness. Consciousness is many things, but one facet of it could be described as the alignment of perception with reality. The leaders understood that the perception of the threat did not align with the reality of it. As such, they could not possibly have been as hypnotised as the masses by an ideology, whatever it is, because they had a competitive edge in consciousness – the understanding that all was not what it seemed. This is in fact a key ingredient in all the discourses currently being weaponised by the leaders against the masses, more of which later.

So, I think this contradiction alone is enough to destroy the claim that the leaders and masses are singing from the same ideological hymn sheet. But Desmet compounds this error even further.

In arguing his case for hypnotism of both masses and leaders by an ideological narrative, and that, furthermore, “they hypnotise one another”,[4] Desmet stretches the bounds of credulity by claiming that “in the initial phase of the totalitarization process, such a logic first takes hold of the population.”[5] [emphasis added]. This claim flies in the face of the historical record from which there is much evidence that the ideas factory for propagating hairbrained pseudoscience and political chicanery is run by idle elites who have a monopoly on the means, motive and opportunity to float their idiotic, self-aggrandising and dangerous eccentricities dressed up as erudition. You get a strong sense of clutching at straws when Desmet talks about the masses as becoming mysteriously “imbued with certain ideological convictions”. The word “imbued” glosses over the real process by which these ideas take hold.

I could stop here, but there is one claim that Desmet makes while pressing his case for hypnosis by ideology that cannot go unanswered for its sheer audacity. Desmet actually asks us to contemplate the possibility that Jews in 1930s Germany seemed to willingly cooperate with the Nazis in their deportation to the death camps because they “were also in the grip of mass formation.”[6] This claim is not made any more credible by a quote from Hannah Arendt which is alleged to support this view.

To me, it seems patently obvious that what Desmet sees as the ‘cooperation’ of Jews with Nazis in 1930s Germany was in fact submission – a survival imperative necessitated by the threat from the most sophisticated and sadistic military machine in the world at the time. When faced with the choice between immediate and certain death or a stay of execution, the survival instinct dictates that you submit to the threat of force from the far stronger opponent in the hopes that submission will buy you more time – not to put too fine a point on it, more time is more life. And when the odds are so overwhelmingly stacked against you, the hope is that submission will buy leniency.

Desmet seems to unwittingly acknowledge the reality of the threat of brute Nazi force that the Jewish population faced when he states that “sometimes there was heroic resistance and the gruesome manner in which it was crushed must have played a role in discouraging it. Think of 425 young Dutch Jews who, after fighting with a German security police detachment, were tortured for months on end in Buchenwald, to the point of death.”[7] [emphasis added]

So, Desmet makes the case for the survival imperative of submission to avoid a certain and gruesome death, only to follow it up immediately with the contradictory conclusion that: “Still, the extent to which victims repeatedly complied with the plans of Nazi executioners should not be ignored from a psychological perspective; apparently many of them were also in the grip of mass formation.” 

The mechanistic worldview and the true ideology of the rulers

The weakness in the core claim of hypnosis and in the claim that both leaders and masses are under the hypnotic spell of a single ideology, must then lead us to question the overarching ideology that Desmet claims is weaving its magic spell on humanity.

Desmet’s simplistic formulation of the ideology problem is that all of humanity, leaders and masses alike, is in the grip of the Cartesian mechanistic worldview, seeded in the Enlightenment period and now blossoming into a mutual obsession with control in which the masses clamour for control and the leaders give them what they want and then some. Thus, central to the mechanistic worldview is the idea that it is a tool that serves an obsession with control shared by both leaders and masses. That’s Desmet’s formulation in a nutshell. Before I embark on positing something more complicated using a systemic lens of human hierarchies, let’s agree on a working definition of the mechanistic worldview: all aspects of the natural world work according to mechanical laws and that the working of all its complex structures can be explained by reducing them to their smallest constituent parts. It is essentially a reductionist form of decoding whereby, once a component of the natural world, including humanity itself, has been decoded, it can be controlled and directed. The question is precisely by whom, how and why?

For me, the starting point is human hierarchies which existed long before the mechanistic worldview and always exhibit a compulsion for control – it’s inherent in the meaning of word hierarchy. In hierarchical power structures, the ruling stratum of the hierarchy generates narratives that are designed to preserve its position of power. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, those power preservation stories tend to win the day because they are crafted and pushed by those with the most power in the system, power being derived from both resources and information (the latter probably deserving classification as the most important resource). Put another way, systems designed to concentrate power at the top of a hierarchy must, by definition, generate narratives that serve the system’s design.

There is obvious merit in discussing the mechanistic worldview as a catalyst in the destruction of human dignity and autonomy, but Desmet fails to elaborate on how this ideology, which is at base a control ideology, might be applied by different actors at different strata within the hierarchy. But that’s because, as I’ve stressed at the outset, Desmet pays scant attention to The System and how systems design might influence behaviour and outcomes.

The Enlightenment period may well have given birth to the mechanistic worldview, but it is also the moment in history when Western man pivots from a God-centred worldview to a self-centred worldview, with the mechanistic worldview serving as a catalyst in that pivot. Reductionism applied to the natural world, including the human body and mind, caused man to stop looking outward for answers and to turn inwards – to put himself and nature under the microscope and to believe all the mysteries of the universe were solvable by this scientific examination.

Rationality, empiricism, science and the proliferation of knowledge all combine to produce technological developments which hasten Western man’s belief that he no longer needs God. As the mysteries of the material world finally start to reveal themselves through concerted scientific inquiry, the explorers’ confidence in themselves and disappointment with God grows. God is in a sense usurped by man. In psychological terms, this is perhaps humanity’s collective pivot to narcissism. To the extent that humanity has always felt compelled to control its environment and to harness resources in a way that reduces anxiety about what tomorrow holds, the mechanistic worldview could be viewed as an extension of our innate desire to control our environment.

Giant leaps in technology across all fields of human endeavour led to a firm belief that the world and humans are manipulable in the same way that the machines that had begun to be produced in this era were being manipulated to create a new material reality. Crucially, the existing ruling oligarchic stratum of society and its new emerging managerial stratum saw, and obviously continues to see, itself as driving technological advancement. Consequently, it views itself as the rightful owner of human advancement with the inherent right to oversee and control humanity and the natural world. In short, the ruling and managerial strata of society, having deluded themselves into thinking they have successfully usurped God, now possess a god-complex. In some sense they always did, even before the Enlightenment. But it was tempered by an understanding that the force of nature could not be harnessed and that we would always be at its mercy. The Enlightenment took existing hubris to new heights. The divine right of kings has simply morphed into the modern-day equivalent of the divine right to control.

This exceedingly narrow section of society, with its total control of the nexus of supranational organisations at the centre of the global public-private partnership, is today represented by Davos man and Davos woman who, in John Kerry’s words, are a “select group of human beings…able to sit in a room and come together and actually talk about saving the planet”. Such is the belief in their preternatural power that Kerry has no qualms in claiming that their experience is “extra-terrestrial”. Inherent in this god-complex is the complete absence of introspection and humility – far from being the saviours of the planet, they are in fact destroyers of humanity and the planet.

When Gordon Brown famously claimed to be saving the world during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), he neglected to mention that he and his fellow masters of the universe were responsible for making the rules that enabled the financial criminality that caused the GFC in the first place. He also neglected to mention that he and his fellow masters of the universe were doing the exact opposite of saving the world: they were in fact shoring up the parasitic system to ensure it could continue leeching the world for the next decade and beyond.   

Empiricism, data, scientific and medical discoveries have led to the belief that everything is determined by a code which, once cracked, yields control of the decoded objects. Humans are just such an object, and the human genome is the code. A significant contingent in the scientific community believes that there is a gene or gene sequence for everything. Altering, splicing and dicing gene sequences in nature has led to the belief that life itself has, to an extent, been decoded. According to this paradigm, it is only a question of time before we fully decode the entire natural world. The new tools of technology combined with advances in the application of psychology as a tool of war have provided additional incentives to an already demented and parasitic stratum of society, possessed of a god-complex, to expand the narcissistic scope of their ambitious goals for societal control.

The crucial point about the mechanistic world view as an ideology insofar as leaders are captivated by it, is this: since the dawn of civilisation, rulers have believed not so much in the mechanistic worldview as in the idea that they are gods. The advances in technology and science which have put the mechanistic worldview on steroids are simply tools they use to feed the god-complex impulse to control humanity. And like all tools, they have been bastardised to serve the ultimate ideology – that the great unwashed are dangerous and must be controlled by god-like rulers who have proven their status by acquiring wealth and power beyond imagination.

Science started out as a wonderful idea but its corruption by the ruling oligarchy has turned it into an official belief system under which any dogma perpetuated by the ruling class becomes accepted orthodoxy if they can successfully attach the word “science” to it, however tenuous or spurious the attachment. We should not underestimate this corruption of science. The oligarchic corporatocracy has to a large extent succeeded in literally purchasing science. In their eyes, everything has a price.

Science is by no means the only tool of control, but I discuss it to place it squarely within the mechanistic worldview. Desmet is right about a spurious discourse in the sense that The Science™ is a discourse, along with all the other emerging barmy discourses of the day. The Science™, as both a covid discourse and a wider control discourse, posits that the planet and its biological systems are controllable. In the case of humans, ‘hackable’. It follows that those who ‘own’ and control The Science™ also get to control the planet. This is why the Great Reset coup was accompanied by a brutal attempt to silence the scientific and medical community who resisted it.

But Desmet is wrong about the rulers’ supreme guiding ideology – at bottom it isn’t driven by the mechanistic worldview. The relationship between science, the mechanistic worldview and the ultimate ideology of the ruling elite is this: science powerfully undergirds the mechanistic worldview, which in turn is a tool of the ruling elite’s supreme guiding ideology – total control of humanity and the planet driven by a god-complex. If the planet is a machine that must be controlled, then there must be a driver and there must be passengers. Those who own science drive the planet. It must be stressed that it is not a benevolent god-complex driven by a genuine sense of stewardship. Rather, the planet is their property, and the heaving mass of humanity is despised as an impediment to their unfettered enjoyment of it. That said, a benevolent god complex would be no better since mass atrocities are always preceded by odes to the greater good. The road to hell is always paved with good intentions.

When ruling elites spend vast resources on developing a technological control grid encompassing biomedical, financial and behavioural data, they are consciously using the mechanistic worldview in the service of their control agenda. They know these controls will have no effect on them as they will have the power to bypass them – they own them. So it’s a case of ‘controls for thee but not for me’, which is an important clue to the true ideology they believe in.

So, if we’ve exposed the ruling elite’s true ideology, then we should ask if the masses are consciously or unconsciously operating in accordance with the mechanistic worldview. When the effects of this control grid filter down to the masses, the automaton happily waving his QR code to move from one place to another is not saying to himself, “Praise be to Descartes for the mechanistic worldview.” He is unconsciously acquiescing to an elite control narrative that has been insidiously repackaged as a health discourse.

To give Desmet some credit, we must acknowledge that to obey the diktats of the measure-and-control dictatorship, the ‘neo-swastika-(QR code) waving automaton is probably also an unconscious victim of the mechanistic worldview. I think we all are to some extent. We have all been brainwashed since birth into believing that furiously measuring and controlling is just something civilised people do. But the point I am labouring is that insidious control agendas are manufactured by elites and then alchemised into beneficent sounding discourses for mass consumption. We have now segued into discourses and how they are used by the self-declared masters of the universe.

In Part II, I will attempt to establish a coherent relationship between woke discourses and the real ruling ideology. I’ll examine Desmet’s disappointingly pejorative dismissal of conspiracy theory. Then I will present a different vision to Desmet’s of how we might resist totalitarianism — hopefully one that will result in a better prognosis.

[1] Mattias Desmet, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2022, Ch 6, Pg 100.

[2] Mattias Desmet, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2022, Ch 7, Pg 105.

[3] Mattias Desmet, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2022, Ch 7, Pg 110.

[4] Mattias Desmet, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2022, Ch 7, Pg 110.

[5] Mattias Desmet, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2022, Ch 7, Pg 106.

[6] Mattias Desmet, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2022, Ch 7, Pg 109.

[7] Mattias Desmet, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2022, Ch 7, Pg 109.

5 thoughts on “Were We Hypnotised by Desmet – Part I: Where Does His Argument Fall Apart?

  1. A very compelling and interesting analysis of Desmet’s theories. I don’t think there is an ‘addiction’ element, let alone ” mass formation hypnosis”. There was well crafted propaganda and a slew of Statutes passed to control dissent and coral behaviour. It’s material for a book but beyond that of no real impact. The words ” mass formation” do not describe what occurred……very many, millions, were not subsumed in to it.

  2. There is business of providing expertise in service of designing, engendering, managing a PANIC. Creating an hysteria, a great fear usually, hitting the reflex button of some influential folks. Crafting an issue, lining up the promoters, positioning parties to profit by providing medicaments, testing, services. “Trust us. We’re doctors”.

    Providers of ventilators, PCR testing, Vaccination centres made out like banshees. My local newspapers were stuffed with paid for government propaganda. This used to be called ‘budget-boosting’. If you’re properly positioned, in the course of an unfolding hysteria, you can print money.
    It’s a racket. The Med biz loves using a “virus” to spark a panic. Swine Flu, Bird Flu were campaigns that didn’t reach big ignition. HIV and Covid did but the latter is playing out yet.
    How would it be that doctors and academics got the message to hew to the impending Party Line? How do people get the cues to get into line? To censor debate et al. The Woke line.

    Who cares? This is the working out of a business racket, a confidence scam. It’s just operating on a level and theatre above normal notice. But it’s still a scam.

    The most transparent scam, panic is the transgender racket. Absolutely nobody involved ‘believes’ or ‘cares’ a rat’s ass about the poor suffering transgender chumperie. A more cynical con is hardly imaginable. The burgeoning surgical, drugs, counselling business. Rush in their quick! And, oh, the legions of consultants, diversity officers. A whole industry is being funded. People are paid to swear the moon is made of green cheese. Follow the money.

    Make hay while the sun shines. When the gas runs out of this scam, they’ll be off to the next best Karen.
    No professional racket ever gets called to account. Too many people made big money and the rest don’t like being made to look stupid.

    The regime fell short with the Covid/lockdown campaign. They used a lot of force but not enough. Resistance gelled. Enough. Now, nobody believes the lies. No government could contemplate a lockdown scenario. The population is certain to be very disobedient.

    And, no government could undertake a population lockdown while Russia is making an embarrassing hash of the west’s military. Or while there is a recession with debt bubbles waiting. China. China.
    Nobody cares about Marxist philosophizing. Completely misses the point. Fails to see the driving engines. Outside a small town in southern Ontario I have nearby a long-haul trucker, two small farmers, a convenience store manager, some retirees. They have all hardly heard of Marx but they are all revolutionaries in waiting though they do not know that yet.

  3. Painful to try to read through this. I didn’t get far, and farther than I liked, though still likely not far enough to get the complete picture, but picture enough got to see the pain points projected, as from the off, in the title, and far enough to see further folly in that title.

    Couldnt you have just seen flaws in the theory? Some mere rough edges to refine; some areas to rebalance the emphasis, to rehighlight more distilate causes than proximal causes?

    Why make it so binary all or nothing?

    “It is the mark of an educated mind, to be able to entertain an idea without necessarily accepting nor rejecting it”, nor in its entirety.

    I’m not in your “we”. I found it thoroughly useful in conception and advocacy, even with areas I pointed out I disagreed with the balance of emphasis, when I extoled the virtue of Desmet’s contribution.

    This piece here (and the other parts, which I’ve similarly read very little of), does a disservice, even from the title. Though, speaking of titles doing disservice… the rename of left lockdown sceptics, to “the real left”, strikes as an ugly off-putting arrogance, hostile to a diversity of left. Yes, the “the left” of corporate propaganda and “neo-liberal” fascistic drift in politicians’ clique, is, as I oft say “not my left”, but to opposame and attempt repeat the dangerous mislead of presenting as if a singular is at all of merit, or owned in monopoly… ugh… just no. Stop that.

    Anyways, the binary absolutism dumb-down will serve to further divide and conquer; further affirm the very kind of certainty Desmet warned about. Oh the irony. The tragic dangerous irony. Way to fail.

    Better to refine and create, the destroy and compete. This piece could have been so much better. Maybe in the 4th installment, start with what’s good, and then add improvements? Never too late.

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