The land of Lemmings, Desmet’s Mass hypnosis and Mass Formation?
In the 1500s, a German geographer (known to us now only as Zeigler) hypothesized that the small rodent known as Lemmings fell out of the sky during stormy weather. Well, it was still early in the age of science, and the scientific method of investigation had not yet been invented. People also believed in gnomes and trolls, which suggests that Democrats have been with us now for at least six hundred years. In fact, Democrats may be older than Republicans, who didn’t appear until after the invention of the scientific method of investigation.
Since then, psychology and behavioral science have expanded dramatically as some (but hardly all) human beings wonder why we do the things we do. Today, it is possible to fill up entire warehouses with research papers, clinical studies, and wild-ass guesses about human behavior. Everyone, it seems, has their own point of view — particularly as they associate human behavior with the destructive habits of lemmings. We’ve never figured out why Lemming’s over-produce and then drown themselves once their populations are so large that none of them can survive in the state of nature. We’ve also never quite figured out why human beings are prone to “mass formation,” “mass hypnosis,” or “group think.” But that hasn’t stopped psychologists from trying … which takes us back to those warehouses stuffed with blather.
Why blather? Well, some “scientists” think that the only explanation for Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton was that he hypnotized voters into supporting him. They call it “Trumpnosis.” And then, some argued that Obama used mass hypnosis through a technique called “pacing and leading.” Still, others claimed that Obama’s success resulted from “Illuminati mind control.”
Oh, where to begin?
In the beginning was Sigmund Freud’s suggestion that hypnotic prompting would over time develop into a somewhat personalized form of mental illness. He called it the “tyranny of suggestion,” published as The Interpretation of Dreams in 1899. Of course, Freud’s effort encouraged further investigations and acres of warehouses.
One of the more recent arrivals on the stage of mass hypnosis theory is a Belgian professor named Mattias Desmet. We only recently heard of Professor Desmet, who began his investigations with the outbreak of Covid. Dr. Desmet is degreed in psychology, mathematics, and statistical analysis. You will find an interesting note about Desmet and Covid at our friend’s blog, Always on Watch.
But this isn’t only about American politics or the political policy of one party or another. Similar arguments about mass hypnosis exist to explain why the United Kingdom left the European Union — with a twist. One idea is that mass hypnosis can occur through social media platforms, which is how 52% of voting Brits opted to divorce themselves from the national socialism of the European Union.
Now, I have to say that Desmet makes interesting points about “mass formation,” and he seems to agree with the “Twitnosis” claim. In making his case about the over-reaction of government and governed to the Covid debacle, Desmet explains that mass hypnosis is always possible under the following four conditions: when human society transforms from social bonding to virtual bonding when people conclude that there is no meaning to life when people compete with others about how miserable they are, and when everyone is constantly pissed off about one thing or another. These conditions make people open to suggestions by others just like them — and vigorously opposed to anyone who isn’t.
The key, some argue, is how politicians (primarily lawyers) use language to manipulate the emotions of others (noting that it was mostly lawyers who fomented the Russian Revolution of 1917 — which, when analyzed, made no sense to anyone with half a brain). Kind of like American progressivism. Humans manipulating others of their species is the foundation of politics, which probably began during the apple discussion in the Garden of Eden.
Desmet’s studies attempt to answer the question, “Why do people give up their freedom?” There’s a podcast on this subject at Aubrey Marcus for those interested. The bottom line is for those not interested: healthy people don’t. You can tell the healthy from the “others.” Families sharing a meal at a nice restaurant, NOT texting their virtual friends, are healthy people. But there remains a lot of anger on both sides of the political aisle — which is something that should concern every thinking person. Humans are not known for their innate compassion for others, but our lack of genuine interest in our neighbors was passive in the past. What, Bob’s wife just gave birth to twins? Meh. Now, it’s “The little bastard will probably become a damn fascist — like its parents! (Or, worse).
The idiot who sent our military to Afghanistan used language to convince tens of millions of people to support that decision, and as we have seen with “mean tweets,” it can have the opposite effect, as well. Let’s defund the police, increase taxes, shut down domestic energy production, or open our borders to illegal invaders. It’s not only the use of language but also its frequency. Add to manipulative social media our propagandic media.
Look, if we weren’t all conformists, we’d be a nation of around 330-million political parties. But we are “conformist,” so there’s only two (possibly three), so the channeling of messages is direct (and quite effective). Every one of us is being manipulated and has been since around 1624. Mass media and propaganda are tools used by the “elite” to rule over millions without resorting to physical coercion. Edward L. J. Bernays (1891-1995) laid it all out when he said, “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes are formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never met. This is how democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings MUST cooperate in this manner IF they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.”
Except — we no longer live in a smoothly functioning society. There is only THEM and US. What do you think? Is this the product of mass hypnosis wrought by social media, propaganda, and lawyers who make a good living manipulating everyone else? Or are we simply closer to lemmings than anyone ever imagined?
Other than that all is well in the swamp.