Professor Mattias Desmet On Our Grave Situation - We Must Speak Up!
Dr. Chris Martenson interviews Professor Mattias Desmet. Dr. Chris Martenson writes:
In this very special podcast, I interview Professor Mattias Desmet who discusses his work that connects past historical episodes of what is called “Mass Formation” (aka Mass Psychosis) and current events. We are on a dark path, fueled by dim actors who are pulling on our emotional strings to create fear and isolation in order to push their agenda of technocratic control of our lives, dreams of transhumanism, and using vaccine passports as a first step on a path to overt totalitarianism.
The risks are as grave as they come. Unless a few brave and courageous people are willing to stand up and say “I don’t agree!” history suggests that we will end up somewhere we deeply regret.
We’re on a dark path. One that historially has lead to human misery and mass atrocities. Eventually all totalitarian systems end in their own destruction.
My position is “it doesn’t have to be this way.” We can do better. Let’s avoid a future of atrocities and the complete destruction of our way of life. Unfortunately, those caught up in the Mass Formation event cannot see the larger or wider implications of their actions. They are very much like a hypnotized person with their field of view narrowed down to a singular threat or risk they have been told is the one-and-only threat they must conquer.
So all of their attention goes there. It focusses down. Nothing else matters. Eventually they transfer their anger and rage at that enemy – which is Covid today – upon a more relatable a nearby object. Perhaps their neighbor. Perhaps the unvaccinated. Perhaps immigrants who are stealing their jobs, or those who aren’t taking Climate Change seriously enough.
With that transference, the path has been laid to re-trod some of the most awful and inhumane periods of history. We’re there again and our own integrity demands that we do what we can to avoid going any further down that path.
In this episode Mattias tells us what can be done. We must never resort to violence. We must be courageous and speak up. We must hold everyone with compassion. But most of all, we must speak up.
Chris Martenson [00:00:00] Welcome everyone to this show, I am your host, Dr. Chris Martenson. And today's show is going to be one of the most important you'll watch this year. I've spent pretty much the past two years covering the science of COVID. Well, today we're going to cover the psychology of COVID. More specifically, the ways in which many societies and cultures around the world, principally countries holding Western values I've noticed have overreacted, have under reacted and have sometimes even dangerously fallen into what might be called mass psychosis or more accurately, mass formation. During such moments, mental health declines. Societies can do great harm to themselves and to others as they irrationally overreact to perceived and sometimes entirely imaginary threats. Today's guest is Professor Mattias Desmet of Ghent University, who's one of the leading expert voices on this specific topic. In addition to being a lecturing professor in clinical psychology at Ghent University, he holds a master's degree in statistics. Professor Desmet, I know you're a busy man these days. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us and welcome to the show.
Mattias Desmet [00:01:09] You're welcome. It's a pleasure to be here.
Chris Martenson [00:01:13] Well, it really is an honor to have you here, and I want to get right into it. So the psychology of COVID, let's talk if we could. From your own perspective, what was your history with COVID interrupted around the world in January of 2020? How long was it before you became concerned, maybe, that we weren't really following the science?
Mattias Desmet [00:01:35] No, well. At the end of February 2020, I wrote my first opinion paper in which in which I want Uran, Belgium. It was an opinion paper written in Dutch in which I warned that the anxiety for the fight for a virus could be more dangerous than the virus itself. That was the title of the opinion paper, and it shows I think it's good to be entirely honest and open to you, I. From the beginning, I took a critical perspective, so from the beginning I had the feeling. I studied the figures into statistics and I noticed immediately. Or at least I had the impression immediately that the dangerousness of the virus was overestimated. When I studied the mortality rates, the infection fatality rate, the case fatality rate, also the models of issued by Imperial College in London, which were the basis of the corona measures worldwide, I think, or at least in Europe and in the states. When I studied all these figures, graphs, statistics and the mathematical models, I immediately had the impression that the dangerousness of the virus was overestimated. And in my opinion, by the end of May 2020, this was proving beyond doubt. For instance, the mathematical models of Imperial College predicted that in a country such as Sweden, about 80,000 people would die in Sweden. Of course, there's a very interesting case because it was exceptional in its in the corona measures it took because it didn't go with the lockdown strategy and the and stuff. So but by the end of May, according to the models, by the end of May 2020, at least 80,000 people should have died in Sweden and by the end of May 2020, only 6,000 people died of COVID in Sweden. And these 6,000 that that figure of 6,000 was even reached with the very enthusiastic counting methods that were used in the COVID crisis. I often use that word enthusiastic because indeed, when the people dying from the flu or counted, they usually they are counted in a much more conservative way. But anyway, by the end of May 2020, you had the feeling that for me, it was proven beyond doubt if we looked at the figures in the state and the stats and the models in this crisis that the danger in this had been dramatically overestimated of the virus. And I noticed quite some of the things as well, for instance, that at the moment it became clear that the initial mathematical models overrated the mortality rate of the virus or the mortality of the virus. At the moment, it became clear one would expect that a narrative, a corona narrative that is based and that claims to be to have a scientific basis or to have a do to be based on scientific models, you would expect that at the moment it becomes clear that the models were wrong, that at that moment, the narrative and all the measures, the strategy that is based on the narrative would be corrected. Of course, but that didn't happen. The narrative continued as if the models were right and the corona measures. The reaction to the coronavirus remained, by and large, the same around the world. So that was one thing that was very striking to me that at that moment, and also even more important, I think I noticed that in one way or another, all the attention, the attention of the population of the entire society was really focused on one point in the world on the danger of the corona virus of the good on the casualties, which the victims that could be claimed by the coronavirus. And it seemed as if all the rest did not exist anymore. For instance, from the beginning of the crisis, the United Nations and several other large international institutions warned us that the number of people starving or dying from hunger in developing countries as a consequence of the lockdown strategies could be far higher and might probably be far higher than the number of people than the number of victims the virus could carry could claim, even if no measures were taken at all. So, on the one hand, you have the danger of the virus. On the other hand, you have the collateral damage that can be caused by the corona strategy, and it seemed as if nobody really succeeded or in general, the population and the governments and stuff did not manage to take both sources of danger into account. At any time we've seen in the in the mainstream media, really, a comparison of, the number of people that could die from the virus and the number of people that could die from the from the from the corona measures, so that actually in itself is the most basic thing we should a society should consider. If you think about remedies for a disease, then the first thing you think about or you or you try to know is whether the remedy will not be worse than the than the than a disease. And that didn't happen. So in one way or another, it seemed that people were so focused. The attention of people are so focused and so limited to a two to one specific limited aspect of reality that they didn't see the other aspects of reality anymore. And that was the moment around may and May 2020, I really started to shift the perspective and to think in the beginning of the crisis, I think that I took the first that I in the first place took a statistical perspective. I started to study the numbers to study the graphs and so on. And then from May 2020 onwards, I had the feeling that that the the core of the problem was not situated at the level of was not the biological problem, but that it was a psychological problem. And from then on, I started to think about how I could understand what was happening in society. How was it possible that a society went through a process like this or didn't see anymore that in many respects, the way we behaved was absurd and counterproductive, and that took me a few months before I could really, in my opinion, hit the nail and started to understand that what was that? What was happening in society was a large scale process of crowd formation or mass formation as they as they as we sometimes call it, in psychology or in social psychology and looking well, when I think about it now, it seems strange to me that it took me so long because I had been lecturing on this process for quite some years before, and it shows me, I think, how difficult it is if an entire population or entire society has grasped in a certain strong psychological process how difficult it is as an individual to step back and to look from a distance and to understand why this happened. So but around in August 2020, I wrote an opinion paper on mass formation, and that was the moment when I really started to understand what was happening in the at the psychological level. I think. Maybe it would be good if I describe this process of mass formation a little bit.
Chris Martenson [00:09:29] Absolutely. Let's talk about what what is it? How does it get started?
Mattias Desmet [00:09:33] Yes, it's at something that that emerges in a society in very specific conditions are met. For instance, the first and most crucial condition is that there should be a lot of people who experience a lack of social bonds. So that is the most important thing in life.
Chris Martenson [00:09:51] What do you mean by lack of social bonds?
Mattias Desmet [00:09:52] Lack of social bond? People should experience a lack of connectedness with other people and lack of connectedness with other people.
Chris Martenson [00:10:00] But could you could you theoretically feel a lack of connectedness even though you're surrounded by people?
Mattias Desmet [00:10:05] Oh, yes, of course. Of course. OK, so
Chris Martenson [00:10:07] this isn't just physical isolation, like in a.
Mattias Desmet [00:10:09] Oh no, no, no, not at all. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. So that means that it means it's people. People feel lonely and isolated in one way or another, not able to connect emotionally to other people. Well, that's that's essentially what the what I mean with the lack of social and it was huge in the in the years before the corona crisis. For instance, in the UK, a minister was appointed a loneliness minister just due to the focus on the problem of loneliness in society and if also in the states, the government mentioned that there was a loneliness epidemic. More than 50 percent of the people mentioned that they had no meaningful relationships at all in their life, that they only were connected, for instance, in the in the in the all through the internet or in the online world that the only that only in the virtual space. They dared to talk about their emotions and their problems, for instance, so that a possibility the loneliness was huge and that it had been increasing throughout the last decennial constantly. So, on the one hand, we have this is most crucial condition is the lack of social bond. And then a second one is also important a lack of meaning making. The second one, the lack of meaning making actually follows from the first one. If people feel disconnected, if people don't have meaningful relationships, social, if they are not embedded in a social network, then they typically will experience their life and their jobs and stuff as meaningless. That's something very typical because human beings are social beings when they lack social bond them. And also lack of feeling of or an experience of meaning and sense in life and for instance, also that can be very well illustrated through academic research. For instance. David Graeber wrote the book "Bullshit Jobs", in which he describes that 40 percent of the of the of the population had the experience in 2017, I think 40 percent of the people experience their job as completely meaningless and then additional. About 20 percent, they think, experienced a strong lack of of of of meeting. And I don't know if you if you're familiar with the Gallup World poll, which found that worldwide worldwide, only 13 percent of the people reported. That they considered the job to be meaningful. Only 30 percent and 63 percent said that they experienced the job as meaningless, that they sleepwalk through the office the entire day. Just stuff like that. It shows that there was a radical lack of meaning making, for instance, at the level of the of of people's jobs. No, no, no. The terms in
Chris Martenson [00:13:06] The sense, though, if we could. This matters to me a lot as somebody who considers himself rational and scientists and all this other stuff, I've noticed that that a even prior to COVID, we were having difficulty with sense making so often a quick example. Environmental groups say we just have to decarbonize 50 percent by 2030, but as a scientist who studies energy if you just run the math, the next question is well, which half the population is going to die, in which 70 percent of the jobs should go away. And there's no connection between those things. But it's pushed as an idea. That's really important, but it doesn't ground. Is that is that where we lose our sense when we have these narratives that fundamentally don't even you can't even you can't even scratch at them with your fingernail without ruining them.
Mattias Desmet [00:13:50] Yes, there are many reasons why we experience this lack of sense making know this. This this. Lack of sense making has become stronger throughout the last two centuries, actually, at this moment, they just finished a manuscript of a book, a book in which I, in the first five chapters, describe the psychological evolutions throughout the last two centuries. And they they all like the throughout the last two centuries, the phenomenon of mass formation became increasingly strong, and it was exactly because people experienced less and less social, social and social connectedness and less and less a sense making or meaning making and lives that were two central conditions. So it's quite complicated. It's associated, I think, to the mechanistic view on men in the world, which became more and more predominant throughout the last two centuries. Yes, but actually, I'm talking now about the situation, the psychological condition of the population before the corona crisis, because you need you need these conditions in order for large scale mass formation to emerge in a society. So we had this lack of social connectedness, this lack of meaning making and the third condition is very important as well, is that there have to be high levels of free floating anxiety in the population, free floating anxiety and free floating psychological discontent. And what do I mean with free floating anxiety? Free floating anxiety is a kind of anxiety that is not connected to a mental representation, which is extremely important sometimes when you feel anxious. We know what we feel anxious for the NBC, a lie in a dog or something dangerous and we are scared. Then we know what we are anxious for. That means that the anxiety is connected to a mental representation, and that means that we can mentally control the anxiety because we know what we are scared of if we run away. We have a from the line, from the dog and so on. We have a. A certain feeling of being in control of our of our anxiety, we know what we can do to avoid the object of anxiety. But sometimes people are confronted with a kind of anxiety that is not connected to a mental representation and that is the most aversive mental state because it puts people in a situation when they feel where they feel entirely helpless because they don't know what they can run away of. And so that's extremely important.
Chris Martenson [00:16:22] Do we know? Do we know, professor that state? I'm familiar, and I've got my audience familiarized with the idea of the triune brain that we have these. Evolutionarily, we had a core brain, right? So-called the reptilian brain on top of which another structure got slapped on top of which finally, our our higher cortical thing got slapped. And it's rather like starting with the Dos Operating System and ending up with Windows. It's a poor sort of a match from time to time. Where does this free floating anxiety reside? Is this is this one of our more archaic sort of? Is this down in our emotional centers? Meaning it's it's it's somehow less subject or available to our cortical or rational centers? Where does it live in our in our brains?
Mattias Desmet [00:17:06] Hmm. I don't think it's it's something primitive. I think it's something very typical for a human being in this respect. For human beings beings, it's much more difficult than for animals to make sense of their world because they're their psychological system works. Uh, uh, through language, people use language to understand their role, and language is a system that never ends or that never leads to, um, to clear-cut interpretations of the role. And it's something typical for for for human beings. I think it's much more connected to our mental system, to the typically human mental system than to a certain archaic or old primitive reactions. But it is what in any case, it was fairly clear that just before the corona crisis, the levels of free floating anxiety were extremely high. And for instance, one out of five was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder before the crisis. One out of five one out of five. So that's huge. And that, of course, 20 percent of the people received a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, but much more people were confronted with anxiety and even much more were confronted with psychological discontent in general. Because if you look in a country such as Belgium, for instance, which has a population of 11 million people. Each year, 300 million doses of antidepressants are used each year, 300 million doses and only antidepressants. We are not talking about antipsychotics and all kinds of other psycho pharmaceuticals. But that's huge. So. So you see that also that and also that was steeply increasing the last throughout the last decennial. Uh, so the third condition was definitely met in our society that
Chris Martenson [00:18:58] it it maybe you could answer this because this has been a huge focus of mine. What I was wondering about where the onset of depression, what was called depression was usually mid-forties. That was the average. But that bell curve is like four standard deviations, and it's all the way down in the low 20s now. And then psychologists started to realize, Oh, it's not actually depression, because that's either situational or chemical. It's very it's amenable to treatment compared to this new thing, which wasn't amenable to treatment. So they started calling it demoralization. And what caught me was that that was defined as a loss of connection between your cognitive map and the world you were actually living in anymore. Right?
Mattias Desmet [00:19:37] Yes. Yes, yes. So this is typically really that's that's something that typically leads to this free floating effect, such as free floating anxiety, frustration and so on. Yes, typically it's this disconnection indeed, between the cognitive mapping of the world and the world itself, you would say between between the symbolic entry.
Chris Martenson [00:19:56] Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. That's already epidemic. But even before COVID comes along and what's the fourth conditions?
Mattias Desmet [00:20:03] The first condition is that there has to be a lot of free floating aggression and frustration, and that also that follows that follows from the first three conditions. If people feel socially disconnected and they feel that their life, uh, makes no sense or has no meaning, and they are confronted with a lot of free floating anxiety and psychological discontent that is hard to control mentally, then they will typically feel frustrated in the corrosive and all that. All this free floating frustration and aggression will also be without objects. People will not know why they feel aggressive, but they will feel it or they will feel frustrated. And in this condition, something very typical typical happens. People start to look for an object of a fundamental representation to which they can connect their anxiety and their frustration. So and then if under these conditions, a narrative is distributed in society through the mass media. Indicating an object of anxiety and at the same time, providing a strategy to deal with this object of anxiety, something very specific happens something very important. All this free floating anxiety might connect to the object of anxiety indicated in the narrative, and people might be extremely willing to participate in the strategy to deal with the object of anxiety, which is indicated in the narrative. And in that way, this is the first stage that has a specific psychological advantage. All this free floating anxiety is now connected to a mental representation. So which means that people experience more psychological control in the situation and then something the next step is taken. Something happens at another level, meaning. Because. Many people participate in the same strategy to deal with the object of anxiety. A new kind of social bond emerges a new kind of solidarity, so people feel connected again in a new way, and that's that's actually that's the most crucial thing. If you look at the corona crisis and you listen, that means you listed the mainstream narrative, then you will hear that everything is about solidarity. You have to participate. You have to accept the vaccine. You have to respect social distancing because if you don't. You lack citizenship, showing us solidarity. So this is the most crucial thing, always in mass formation. So that's the real reason, the real reason why people buy into the story, even if it is utterly absurd. Is not because they believe in the narrative. It is because the narrative leads to the new social bonds. That's the very reason. And then there is a fourth advantage. All the frustration and aggression can be directed at an object, and that object is the people who, for one reason or another, do not want to participate in the mass formation. That's typically, historically diamond time again, we see the same process when a population, for instance, the really large scale mass formations as they happened during the French Revolution, which were not very large, but they were large the large scale mass formations which led to the emergence of communism and Stalinism in the Soviet Union. The large scale mass formations which led to Nazi Germany to the to the emergence of of a of the totalitarian state in Nazi Germany, they all shared the same characteristics. The population was exactly these. Four conditions were fulfilled and then a new kind of solidarity emerged and all the frustration and aggression was channeled by directing all by directing it at the at the people who who did not want to participate or who couldn't participate in the mass formation. So. And then you have this very strange situation where people start from a very negative and aversive mental state, lack of social bond, lack of meaning, making free floating anxiety and a lot of frustration and aggression. They switch from this very highly aversive mental state that was symptomatic, positive state where they feel connected. Their life makes sense because they are all life start to make sense again through this heroic struggle with the object of anxiety. People are united in their struggle against the coronavirus, for instance. So and their anxiety is connected to a mental representation, and they can satisfy that frustration of the connection. So that switch from a highly negative mental state to a positive mental state brings people in a kind of mental intoxication. People switch. They switch from this highly negative mental state to the positive mental state, which leads to a certain mental intoxication, and that's why they are doing it for their. That's why people continue to believe in the narrative, even if it is utterly absurd. And. You know, the measures the corona measures, for instance, like the social distancing, the mask wearing, the vaccination strategies, they function for a certain part of the population, and I'm talking about probably about 30 percent of the population. It's not much more than that. Only 30 percent of the population usually is really into this process of mass, what into this process of collective hypnosis. Then there are an additional 40 or 50 percent who just go along with the masks, who will never, never go against the current because in one way or another, I think it's better not to do so. And then there is an additional 20 percent, sometimes 10 percent. That depends a little bit who really is not hypnotized at all and who also wants to speak out and do something to change the situation. But the first part of the population, 30 percent who are really into the process of mask formation. Mm-Hmm. For these people do more upsurge. The measures are. The more the better they will work, the measures and the more they will be inclined to buy into the narrative that because the measures
Chris Martenson [00:26:40] Is this function, the bigger, the bigger the lie, the better.
Mattias Desmet [00:26:43] Is that what we're talking about? Yes, indeed, yes. But the measures really function as a ritual and the rituals or a kind of behavior that has to be without pragmatic meaning. And it has to demand a sacrifice of the individual by by participating in the ritual, an individual shows that the collective. Is more important than the individual, meaning that the rituals have to be a kind of behavior that is without pragmatic meaning that leads that has no advantages for four people, no pragmatic advantages and that for rich people has to sacrifice something. So that's a strange thing that for a certain part of the population, it really doesn't make a difference whether the measures are absurd or not. And that's what that's what's so strange for the people who are not in the process of mass automation because they look and they see what's happening here. Do the people not see that that's not what's going on is utterly absurd and it's even dangerous. But no, they won't be, because
Chris Martenson [00:27:50] it is brilliant. This cuts right to the core of like this is how profound it is for me. So children, not at all, really. Statistically, just not even touched by COVID, except for very few have some co-morbidities. Actually, the science says they don't really transmit COVID all that well, either, because they have such high innate immunity to this thing. And yet there are people out there saying we need our children to be masks, even though there's no science to support the idea that the mask does anything except it probably harms the child's cognitive and social development skills at a critical period of time, so people are willing ritualistically to sacrifice their children. Indeed, that's powerful to me is that we're talking about.
Mattias Desmet [00:28:29] That's what we are talking about. Yes, that's exactly what we are talking about. And that's like, yes. So this process of mass formation has some symptomatic advantages, but it has huge, huge disadvantages as well. And one of them is the first is that the field of attention really gets very narrow. People only see what the narrative indicates, and that's something typical for hypnosis as well when someone is hypnotized. He will only be aware of the part of reality, uh, the hypnotist focuses on, and that's exactly the same in the mask formation. So in my estimation, people are only aware of the part of reality, both cognitively and emotionally that is indicated by the by the hypnotizing or by that by the mass narrative. And that that's the reason why people don't seem to be aware of the of the collateral damage of the measures in one way or another. People know somewhere that there is collateral damage of measures, but it has no cognitive and emotional impact. That's the problem. It's not. It's not. There is no psychological energy attached to these mental representations, and that's why they have no impact at all.
Chris Martenson [00:29:46] So people will hear an example might be it's it's incredibly, incredibly awful. Worst thing ever that a 78 year old obese man with four other co-morbidities died of COVID. That's terrible. A 28 year old whose gym was shut down, whose livelihood went away, who fell into a deep depression and then took accidentally a fentanyl overdose and they died. We ignore that this is terrible, but that's not even doesn't even impact us.
Mattias Desmet [00:30:13] Yes, it's will have no impact. Exactly. Because. When the when all this anxiety and all this frustration and all this aggression connects to this narrative that indicates an object of anxiety, all the psychological energy is connected to this narrative and. What is not in the narrative is not, uh, is not connected to psychological energy, and that's exactly why what isn't? The things that are not indicated by the narrative have no impact. They have no emotional or cognitive impact. They exist. People hear that there is collateral damage, but it will have no impact. Now that you can understand that perfectly from a psychological perspective and also like there is a there is a second problem. Um? So the process of mass formation, crowd formation is similar, if not identical to the process of hypnosis and. It also makes that people who are grasped in the process of mass formation are not aware of the um of the egoistic disadvantages they suffered, so when someone is in mass formation, you can take everything away from this person. Even his own life, you will not notice it. You can take his health the way he has wealth away. You can take everything he might lose his future and his and his and his freedom. He will not be aware that he loses it. That's one of them. And you see exactly the same in hypnosis. The attention is so much focused on one point and through a simple, hypnotic procedure that you can cut straight through people's flesh and bones literally. With a simple, hypnotic procedure, you can make someone radically insensitive to pain. To this extent that you can perform a surgical operation on the person that you can cut straight through the breast, the person will not notice it. That shows the power of of of hypnotic procedures and also of mask formation. And that was so striking from a historical point of view, when historians saw what was happening in Nazi Germany, in the Soviet Union, they felt like they have never been. They had never seen something like that before because. Totalitarian, totalitarian state and totalitarianism is something completely different from a classical dictatorship. It's something completely different in a classical dictatorship. People are scared of the dictator because of his physical power. But in a totalitarian regime, everything starts with this process of mass formation, and it grasps people in the core of their being. It brings them under kind of hypnosis, and that makes that that a totalitarian state has an extreme power over individuals. Also over their private life and over the cognitive of conventional functioning, which is it's completely different from a from a classical dictatorship. And it's exactly because it is based on this process of mass formation or mass hypnosis.
Chris Martenson [00:33:28] I want to explore this. So the relationship hypnosis and mass formation, hypnosis at the individual level, mass formation operating at the collective level across a culture. How many people are susceptible to hypnosis? Not everybody is
Mattias Desmet [00:33:44] a lot are usually usually, I think about 80 percent of the people. It depends a little bit, depends a little bit. The extent of the depth of the hypnosis will not be the same for everyone. But in a mass formation, usually only about 30 percent of the people is really is really into the process of mass formation. Not much more.
Chris Martenson [00:34:07] OK. And for that, 30 percent, is there any relationship between intelligence and susceptibility to that?
Mattias Desmet [00:34:13] Not at all. Not at all. Really? No. And that's a strange thing. That's one of the major characteristics of of a crowd or a mass that everybody becomes as intelligent or maybe better as stupid is that they are not. And that applies to highly intelligent people that equally well as a stool, as intelligent people that has been studied in the 19th century, already very extensively. It was very clear that even the most intelligent people were completely blind and completely insensitive to rational argumentation. For instance, masses are only sensitive to strong visual images and through repetition of of time and time again, the same message, and also to to the presentation of numbers and graphs and statistics. If you if you present numbers and statistics in a visual way, they will have a huge impact on the masses.
Chris Martenson [00:35:13] And this is really near and dear to my heart because part of my work is I work with a lot of doctors who figured out early treatments, and they were very flexible and creative and they've just been shut down and squashed. I know I know people who consider themselves really intelligent, really successful individuals, also doctors who still to this day in this country. If you get COVID, you might end up in a hospital on remdesivir and a ventilator. Even though we've known for eighteen months, that's a death sentence, and it's not state of the art, and it's actually the closest thing to murder at this point, I can imagine. And I know people who will vigorously defend that that's the right thing to do because they're a doctor and they're all wrapped up in it. I don't know how. How do you mentally come back from that knowing that you've been a German in 1933 or you've been a Jacobin at the Bridge at Nantes, you know, drowning people in the French Revolution, or you've once you've once you've gone there. How do you get back?
Mattias Desmet [00:36:11] That's a very good question. So it's extremely hard to undo a process of mass affirmation that's very clear. For instance, it's. It's extremely hard to to to to to wake someone up who is in a process of massive fromation, but the Gustave Le Bon, if you're familiar with Gustaf the he wrote a very important book on mass formation in the 19th century, the psychology of the crowds. It was called and it describes already there that if the people who are not in the mass formation try to wake up the people who are in a mass formation, then they will be confronted, probably with the failure. They will be confronted with the fact that that that they are unable to to do the wake of the masses. But he says nevertheless, it is extremely important to continue to speak out because if people continue to speak out, the hypnosis might become less deep and it will become less deep. Gustave Le Bon presents several historical examples of situations in which in which people who were awake continue to speak out and prevented the masses from committing atrocities because that's typically what the masses do. Because one function of the mass formation is, um, the satisfaction of all this frustration and aggression, you know, the first condition. Masses typically typically have the intonation to show the tendency to to commit atrocities, and they typically do it, uh, being convinced that they perform an almost sacral pledge, that that is something that they do, something that is that there's a. But this is really their duty and that it has to do with the fact that people in mass formation are convinced that what they do is for the greater good, for the for for the well-being of the collective. But they forget, of course, out of this for for the well-being of a certain collective and at the disadvantage of a of a of another of another, the part of the population. But anyway, so it's hard to wake the masses up. Uh, the only thing. But but if you continue to speak, the 30 percent of the population was really into the process of mass formation. Uh, you thought you will make the hypnosis less deep in this part of the population and you might prevent the masses from it, from committing atrocities. So it's extremely important to continue to speak out. That's the most important thing, I think.
Chris Martenson [00:38:35] I want to ask a question about about the how about going about speaking up? Because if if I heard how we got into this, there was repetition, there was ritual. There was that hypnotic sort of getting people in. So we know how hypnotist wake people back up again, right? So they bring them back out into their larger out of the narrow focus out again to me. So by the way, this is my entire work in the world I was trying to like help wake us up in time to prevent those atrocities from getting worse than they've already been. So an idea I have is is to is to use repetition. And here's my here's my highest thing. If we can just back it up a bit, we can say, Listen, I'm no public health expert, but if I was one, my highest goal would be reducing mortality like my efforts either made things worse or made things better. I don't have to get involved with whether the vaccines work or people died with COVID or of COVID. Let's just back up, and I can tell you that right now in the United States, all cause mortality is running way above even last year, and it's way above where it should be. So I can say, Hey, I think we're failing at this and we should do better. That's a open question. You know, just put it out there. But if we had multiple people actually pushing on that like different, different, I know lots of other thought leaders and people have big platforms and large following. So if we all started saying that same thing, would that be more effective than. I'm just wondering, is it messaging? Would that be effective if we started pushing on one scratchy sort of a unanswerable question?
Mattias Desmet [00:40:08] Yes, that will be effective to a certain extent. I believe so, yes, definitely. OK. But we should not. We should. We should not immediately a very large expect, a very large effect. I think I think I think we'll we'll be able to wake up someone here and there. Uh, but but not not the large portions of the population, I think. But it's extremely important. That's exactly how we have to do what they're doing. Just try to talk in a nice, sincere and honest way. Mm hmm. Uh, try to continue to speak out. Uh, try to continue to make sure that there is a dissident voice and in the public space. That's extremely important because if you look historically, for instance, you can see that it was exactly at the moment that the opposition was silenced in public space, that there was no dissident voice anymore and in the in public space that the totalitarian states started to commit their absurd atrocities that happened in nineteen thirty and in, uh, the Soviet Union and around 1935 in Nazi Germany. At that moment, the opposition was completely silenced, was completely erased in public space, and at that moment, the system really turned absurd. For instance, Stalin and the Soviet Union. He started to kill no matter who. And the more he killed, he killed 50 percent of his own of his own party members, who usually hadn't done anything wrong. So and that that's something typical. I don't know if you're familiar with the work of Hannah Arendt, a German Jewish philosopher, the philosopher who wrote this wonderful book, The Origins of Totalitarianism. She says that at the moment, opposition, the opposition is radically silenced in public space at that moment. The totalitarian state becomes a monster that divorce its own children. That's exactly what she sees. The totalitarian system becomes a monster to divorce its own children at that exact moment. So that shows us, again, that something radically different from a classical dictatorship. And when a classical dictator manages to silence the opposition, they usually will become more friendly because this guy, a classical dictator, has a certain tactical awareness. He knows that at the moment he is in charge, and at the moment he really overcame all opposition. He knows that at that moment, it's important for him to show the population that he will be a good leader. That's what he realizes. But in an autocrat and a totalitarian state, which is based on this process of of of of of sleep and hypnosis, if totalitarian leaders are not aware or do not have the the the uh. The brains at that moment to just know that it will be to their own disadvantage if they continue to commit atrocities, but that's exactly what they do. Even it even gets much worse once they are gone, they really have or the only voice in public space. So it's so it's so important to understand the difference between classical dictatorships and totalitarian processes. For instance, also totalitarian leaders typically also hypnotized by their own voice and their own theory, they are hypnotized. Gustaf Le Bon sees that, and not everyone sees that sees it as well. They are hypnotized by their own ideology, meaning that they do not believe what they tell the people, but they are so convinced that what they are trying to do in society. The ideology that they are trying to impose to society. This will bring society to a kind of paradise. They are so convinced that what they are doing is the good thing that they feel that it is justified to lie, to cheat, to manipulate and so on. That's typically but they are absolutely ideologically hypnotized. They are hypnotized by their ideology. That's something that is radically different also from classical dictatorships.
Chris Martenson [00:44:26] And if I could so much to the to the chagrin of, I think, many in the profession, we saw that psychologists worked on nudge units in the UK and in Australia and probably New Zealand, probably the U.S. But but these were psychologists who said, Hey, government, we're going to help you dial up the fear so that you can get people to do the things you want them to do. And of course, the government is believing. I think you're right that it feels right to me that the government, the officials in this, they believe this is the right thing to do. They know that. We know they're using actual techniques that have been honed and developed. And you read the 1928 book by Bernays. It's already a fairly comprehensive superstructure of how you go about doing this. I'm sure this is as inelegant as phones were in 1928 compared to today. I'm going to bet the technology, the understanding, the neural linguistic mapping, the the psychological processes. I bet we understand those better. So so this feels a little bit like there is an agenda. But I got to be honest, it's actually only really being run in the western countries at the level I see it being run so that the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Europe. I don't see India struggling with this at this point in time. Would would you agree or does this feel like it's kind of localized to Western?
Mattias Desmet [00:45:44] Maybe, maybe. I think what happens now is that. Many of of the of our leaders are convinced that we need to move from a democratic system to a technocratic system. I think that most of the people are convinced that this is the only solution for the unsolvable problems we are facing now. And I think at that level, they really believe that they do the right thing. So I think they are convinced that if we want to deal with climate change with the corona pandemic, but with all kinds of other problems, we need to move from a democratic to a technocratic system. And that's why I think that many of them are so convinced that they indeed feel that it is justified to use psychological techniques such as nudging and so on do to to make people believe in the narrative and to do to convince them to go along with the narrative to buy into the narrative. I think that's what happens. I think we have to distinguish between the level of ideology and the level of the narratives that are distributed in the society. I think that our leaders believe that at the ideological level, they do the right thing. They even choose for the only possible solution. And I think that many of them will not really believe in the narratives they are distributing. I think that many of them will consider the narratives as a kind of an instrument to do to make the ideology happen. So I think I think that's about what happens. I don't think that is the, you know, final. I think something like that happens.
Chris Martenson [00:47:19] OK. This is absolutely brilliant. So so I think we're at the heart of this now for for me in my understanding where I'm at in the development of understanding. So what I'd like to do is try and understand it from their perspective, so they sleep at night. They believe they're doing a higher order good. Maybe there's some self-interest in some power and some usual ego and greed and stuff like that wrapped in always is, Hey, we're humans. But but they believe in on some level in this larger story, which if I listen to the Davos crowd, they tell me specifically that they're very concerned about something that I think is real, which is that by 2050, we'll need three planetary resources and we only have one, right? There's an issue there. We know that we're at this really unusual part of our species development where we've kind of grown into the edge of our petri dish and now we got to, you know, go to a Plan B. Their Plan B, though, is technological nirvana. This technocracy, so I can only imagine, like 40, I can get my head around 40. He seems really committed to the idea that everybody needs to be on this vaccine program and that that's the only way like to the exclusion of every other possible measure. It's all about getting everybody right down to infants on a vaccine program. So if I put myself in his head, he must believe, at least on some level, leaving aside money and power that that is a right thing to do. That that brings us yes, from where we should go.
Mattias Desmet [00:48:39] I think so. Yes. Yeah. But it's dangerous. Of course, it's not because people believe that you're doing the good thing that you're not dangerous.
Chris Martenson [00:48:49] No, no, no. It's it lacks all humidity is humility, which is that, you know, guess what? These are complex systems. They have emergent behaviors. We can't predict what's going to happen. The exact, but I think they believe they can control this whole thing and get an outcome they want. Do you believe that's possible
Mattias Desmet [00:49:06] and you come again? I didn't understand the last one because I think
Chris Martenson [00:49:08] they think they can control everything.
Mattias Desmet [00:49:10] Control yes. Yes, yes. Yes.
Chris Martenson [00:49:12] Everything can get a predicted outcome at the back end. Of course,
Mattias Desmet [00:49:17] yes. But by the way, from a from a a science point of view, this idea of being able to control everything as absurd as you refer to complex dynamical systems to the emergence of complex dynamical systems, we all know that complex dynamical systems are unpredictable and in the chaotic phase, they have this characteristic of determent, deterministic unpredictability. Lawrence at what Lawrence wrote this wonderful paper on deterministic and unpredictability of complex systems. They should read it all, and then they should realize that they started something that will lead up to only one thing to self-destruction. And that's exactly that's exactly what people like La Bon and Arendt s already described that totalitarianism always destroys itself. Always. And then because it's well, it's so important to realize because the people who do not buy into the narrative, who do not go along with the narrative and who wonder what they can do, we just gave them the advice that they have to try to continue to speak out. That's one important advice, but the second one is that the best strategy always is non violent resistance. Always. That's the best strategy because every kind of violence used against the system will be used as a justification for the aggression end to end and the frustration to channel the aggression and the frustration to that group. That's one thing. And the second thing is that the second thing is that the group who doesn't buy into the narrative. Does not have to destroy the system, the system always destroys itself, always. It's so it's intrinsically self destructive, but it can take a while, of course, and that's why it's very often the sensory to establish a kind of parallel structures that that allow people to do to survive more or less or a little bit independent and independent from the system. But. Well, yes, I agree completely with that, that that that people can think they can control processes as the ones that are happening now, but they can't. Definitely not. Science shows this. And in the most clear-cut way,
Chris Martenson [00:51:34] yeah, it's it's an absolute guarantee. I love this idea of parallel structures. And that's what I do with with my tribe. As I call us, we we are practicing with those parallel structures. But to me, the steps are one. You have to be aware that this is happening because that's that's my first line of defense. So when I read nudging articles, right? So here's one from the Omicron variant just came out a few days ago, and I'm looking here at a at a PBS article. It reads First, first, first sentence, "Worried scientists in South Africa are scrambling to combat the lightning spread across the country of a new and highly transmissible Omicron variant as the world grapples." Those are all leading, leading, leading terms to me. Those are all emotionally charged and they're like, you say, they're ungrounded. It's just sort of free-floating. Look at all that anxiety. Hmm. Lightning speed, blitzkrieg virus scrambling, you know? And it's just and it turns out I called up some doctors in South Africa and I said, What are you dealing with? They're like, It seems mild. You know, it's like, like I can. I can perform better journalism than these people, but they're caught. Whoever wrote this is caught. Nobody had to teach this person to write it that way. Did they look? No, they just knew, right? Well, indeed, yeah. So step one is, if I can see that happening, I can be immune from it. And then step two is I think we got to find each other and and come together. So we're not to connect voices.
Mattias Desmet [00:53:04] Yeah, connect because that's Mass formation emerges in a disconnected society, so people have to be socially atomized. Hannah Arendt called it, So they have to be socially isolated. There has to be a lack of social bond. But once Mars formation is established and once a totalitarian thinking emerges in a society, it makes the social isolation even much worse. That's very typical and a totalitarian state. Um, Eren says there is only one bomb to this allowed, and there's the bonds between the the state and the individual, but not between the individuals. So totalitarianism typically destroys all the social bonds between individuals, and that's why we have to try to do the opposite. We have to try to connect with each other to try to connect as much as possible. Definitely. So speak out and connect with each other. Um, the are two very important to two extremely important things. Yes.
Chris Martenson [00:54:09] Yeah. So it will pass on its own, though. I think Charles Mackay, to paraphrase badly out of memory, said that it has been seen that men think in herds and they go mad in herds, but they will recover their senses only slowly and one by one. Something like that. Right. So something that you can feel this mass echoes as we come into the last part of this. I'm curious because a lot of this feels intentional to me. I it can't. It's not possible for the people who are sort of running the string. It's not possible for Joe Biden's team to not be aware that if you're vaccinated, you can still transmit the virus. Yet he just said that recently. Right. It's not possible. They don't have those facts in the hand. It's not possible for a director of the CDC to be unaware of the base data. It's not possible for Fauci to be that clueless. You know, two masks, no masks. This that, you know, it's just I am science, right? This crazy guy, right? It's not possible for all that to be happening. So this feels intentional to me a little bit. Your your your estimation is how much of this looks intentional versus this is just how it goes.
Mattias Desmet [00:55:23] It's a mixture between the two. I think, as always, as always, and I think people typically have the inclination to overestimate the intentional part. But that doesn't mean, of course, that there is no intention. But I also I I agree with you and I also believe that many experts and leaders now know that the vaccination strategy actually doesn't really work. Or at least it doesn't didn't bring us what what we could expect. Many experts know that a face mask wearing actually doesn't. Lead to less contamination, so for instance, and sometimes the experts also told this in the mainstream media, I remember one virologist here in Belgium saying that the mask wearing is a symbolic measures because it remembers people every day that there is a pandemic and they and that they should go along with the the measures that they should stick to the measures. So I think people know what they need, but I think that again, I think what these people still believe that maybe this vaccine doesn't work, but in the end, it will be the best for everyone if people get vaccinated the three times a year. Um, so this this this this ideological fiction, this belief that we should replace in nature through an artificial system. Natural immunity through an artificial system, this is so typical for totalitarianism. This was typically maybe people are not aware of that, they think, but that is what totalitarianism is. Totalitarianism always tries to establish an artificial world in an artificial society, which can be entirely rationally controlled and manipulated. That is the ultimate goal of, of a of a of a certain mechanistic ideology, which is also the basis of totalitarianism. Mm-Hmm. So I do believe that the experts know that many of the measures and stuff don't really work, but I think they are still convinced that their system and their ideological approach of society will be the best ever, I think, and in the end, it becomes entirely absurd, of course, because in the end they are willing to sacrifice 50 percent of humanity to free or even 100 percent to make their ideological fiction the real. And that's the the absurd miss of of of of this kind of thinking. Yes.
Chris Martenson [00:58:14] Yeah. Well, the COVID measures don't work from a public health standpoint. That's clear, you know, and as they say in the military, once is an accident twice as coincidence, but three times as enemy action. But they can't have gotten it wrong every step of the way without it eventually being part of a program of some kind. And as a scientists, I got to tell you, I I've been horrified watching. When hydroxychloroquine comes along, it works. It has a reasonable signal. It's not a magic bullet, but it has a reasonable early signal. But watching studies be designed to give it too late in toxic doses to already highly sick people so that they die. So you can make that point as happened in the UK. I look at that that's fully intentional. Nobody, no institutional review board would ever have signed off on that without understanding what was happening right now. And it's very clear this is not how we do this right? But they wanted to make a point about it. And, you know, somebody ran a completely fraudulent set of studies through Lancet. And all that happened was the authors ultimately retracted the paper. The Lancet didn't say anything about it. Nobody went to prison or got in trouble. It's just weird. So I watched like that feels intentional to me because if you if you're in service of that narrative of control. You can do whatever you want right up to designing studies that are designed to kill people pretty dark, right? But if you dare point out that that that's the case, you'll find yourself censored, marginalized, maybe lose a job. This happens a lot. So there is a high cost to speaking up.
Mattias Desmet [00:59:45] Oh, yes, of course. Yes.
Chris Martenson [00:59:47] Yes, it would. Is this just do we just have to bear that cost? Because that's the times we live in? Or is there a way to? Split the difference, or because I know a lot of people losing jobs out of all of us. Yes. Speak up.
Mattias Desmet [01:00:02] You know, the ancient Greeks knew a new already that they're speaking. The truth is always dangerous because you can define truth as that part of knowledge. That, uh, is. In conflict with public discourse, the ancient Greeks considered it like that as soon as a narrative as dominant in public space. You will start to feel that the narrative is incomplete and that in one way or another. Someone should say in public space that there is a problem, a dominant narrative, and the ancient Greeks knew that the one who tells it, the one who tries to say what everybody feels, but but but that nobody dares to say that person is in danger. So and that's what that's what the ancient Greeks considered speaking the truth. And that means they called it Patrizio. So a kind of speech which consists of just telling. That's. Something that everybody feels that it should be told, but nobody dares to say. And if you do that, you're endangered. That's true. And I think we we should we should continue to try to do it because the better you understand what is happening, the more you see that actually there is no other option, there is no other option. If we shut up, we will be in danger as well. People who now go along with the narrative, people who now go along with the narrative do not realize that a danger they expose themselves to. What do they have no idea what's awaiting them?
Chris Martenson [01:01:39] And could we even say that that that is expensive as it is now to speak up, it'll be more expensive,
Mattias Desmet [01:01:46] if you will. Definitely, yes. That's one more thing. And of course, I think we have to be careful and we have to be as polite than this friendly as possible. And I think we we do not only have to speak for ourselves, we also have to speak for the people who believe in the narrative because in the end, it will be clear that they need a dissident voice and and and that that that that without this dissident voice, the system will close and will become radically self-destructive. And I think maybe we can also learn something from them at certain points. I mean, but we have to try to establish an open conversation as much as possible as possible in society. And that's what we have to do that for everyone, not only for ourselves, but also for the people who are into the mosque or the mosque phenomenon, because in the end, they are human beings as well.
Chris Martenson [01:02:37] And so with compassion, I'm often saying that that for the people who have gone off that into the mass psychosis when, not if, but but when they come back, I'll welcome them. There's not going to be big, ugly lessons learned rubbing their noses in that kind of thing like, let's listen, can we just everybody has to be welcomed back into this, into reality, as I call it, at this point. So the reality is we face huge predicaments. A problem has a solution, a predicament. Just you have to manage the outcome. We're facing huge predicaments economically. Ecologically, we got energy issues like big things that we really need our best minds on and we need full for. We have to have the ability to have uncomfortable conversations. Right. It's like and if we can't even do that around something as simple as should people take vitamin D or not, you know, without that somehow becoming, you know, against the the state narrative, I think we're in trouble. So I really think this is important, you know, to me, tell me if you disagree, but what's at stake is literally everything like living in abundant, well-functioning society. I think that could all break if we mismanage this to the point that our currency collapses because we didn't figure out how to close the gap between the debts we have and the liabilities we have in reality, if we don't do that on our own terms. It'll come on nature's terms. And I don't like that. I'd rather do this consciously and elegantly. So I think that's what's at risk to me.
Mattias Desmet [01:04:07] Everything. Yes, I agree. I agree. Yes, definitely. And that's that's exactly this. This the. Ultimately. Mass formation always destroys the core of the human being, it destroys the humanity in the human being. And so. We are human, I think as long as we try to speak to each other. Yeah. And when that that that's the use of language and the established establishing a social bond through speech is what characterizes a human being and what makes it different from other living beings. And I think that's what we have to try to represent. We have to try to represent humanity in this crisis and to try to prevent, um uh, that humanity disappears and we have to do it just. By trying to continue to speak, to be respectful to the other people, to be to to give them the rights, to have their own opinion, to even give them the right to be in a phenomenon, to be in a mass formation. But by just telling them we will try to continue to speak to you and we will try to continue that, there are people who think differently. There are people who who who, uh, look at it from a different perspective. But we have to be as sensitive as possible, as honest as possible, as sincere as possible. But that's the only solution, I think, or that's the o