A READER alerted us to this piece by John Waters in which he outlines the theories of Belgian psychologist Mattias Desmet on how almost the whole world seems to have fallen under a spell ‘in a process substantively resembling mass hypnosis, as a collective psychological response to the unrelenting, single-focus campaign of fear to which we have all been subjected for a year and a half’.
Waters writes: ‘Desmet is excellent on the way people’s projection of their own free-floating personal anxieties, frustration and aggression on to the Covid/lockdown sagas enables the “mass formation” process.
‘Mass formation, he explains, is a form of hypnosis imposed on a crowd, a factor which we have explored in previous articles here. He is in no doubt that we speak of a literal hypnosis, with all the potential effects and symptoms of same.
‘He explains many aspects of what we have been witnessing, including the strange phenomenon of people’s apparent indifference to their own deprivations, hurts and incurred damage arising from the lockdowns of the past 18 months: loss of freedoms, loss of work, income, education, human contact, leisure et cetera. During mass formation, he describes, there is “a narrowing of the field of attention”, which allows the crowd’s constituent members to close out everything but that which the hypnotist tells them is important, which results in insensitivity to personal losses, and a willingness to sacrifice everything — education, jobs, homes, romance, health — and to disregard the losses and griefs of others. By offering a strategy to deal with the anxieties imposed by the crisis, the would-be totalitarians are able to create a bogus solidarity in a society that has destroyed true solidarity.’
It is a long and fascinating article, which you can read in full here.