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In an interview on the “RFK Jr. The Defender podcast,” psychologist Mattias Desmet described what he believes has happened to the human psyche over the last two years.
Desmet, professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University in Belgium, is the author of “The fear of the virus is more dangerous than the virus itself,” a paper he wrote early on in the pandemic.
Desmet told host Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. that initially, he found the social psychology that was developing around the pandemic “mind-boggling and baffling.” He found himself wondering, “How is it possible that so many people start to think in such an authoritarian way?”
Drawing from his degrees in psychology and statistics, Desmet began tracking and analyzing what he saw as a growing social malady.
“The major part of the population, in one way or another, tended to overrate the danger of the virus,” Desmet said. “I also noticed something else, namely that not only was the dangerousness of the virus overrated, it also seemed that the population and the experts were blind to a substantial part of reality,” including the “collateral damage caused by the corona measures.”
Desmet made his case based on critical facts, he told Kennedy, pointing out that early on it was well known that lockdowns could cause more damage and death than the virus, yet scientists and the media chose to ignore this information.
He described how mass formation is a concept that has been recognized as affecting large populations throughout history, becoming increasingly more powerful in the last 300 years.
As the COVID pandemic took hold, Desmet said, “It took me a few months before I was really able to pinpoint that this was a process of large-scale transformation.”
Desmet described the conditions needed for this behavior to develop across a large population. He said the failures of society to provide grounding and strong social bonds, lead to a sense of isolation and doubting one’s personal significance.
Feeling as though life has no meaning causes widespread “free-floating anxiety” — a condition where people feel apprehensive, but can’t identify the cause.
“Because of the psychological discontent and suffering, people start to feel frustrated and aggressive without knowing why, without knowing who to blame for it,” Desmet said.
This condition can be manipulated when “a narrative is distributed through the mass media” providing distressed individuals with a place to focus their discontent and lessen their sense of panic.
This illusion is difficult to dispel, Desmet said. Although it is only a temporary transference of their internal distress, people become fixated on a tenuous external solution, such as, “vaccines will save me and the world from the pandemic.”
Any challenge to this fragile delusion evokes blind aggression toward those who defy what appears to them as a trustworthy, secure narrative. The resulting trance-like atmosphere engenders a “bond between the individual and the collective,” and the narrative becomes “the only one that is allowed — and still legal in a totalitarian state,” Desmet said.
“I think this analysis is very, very helpful to people who are bewildered by the ferocity and the violence of the reaction when they ask simple common-sense questions about, for example, vaccines or mandates or lockdowns — and any kind of reasonable discourse. Any congenial type of debate is impossible.”
Watch the podcast here: