Mattias Desmet book describes ‘Mass Formation’

Phenomena capture and hypnotize the masses, Dutch doctor argues

Dr. Rob Williams of Vermont Independent interviewed Dr. Mattias Desmet, author of the Psychology of Totalitarianism, three months ago.

Book Review by Jim Hogue

The Psychology of Totalitarianism by Dr. Mattias Desmet is a book about Human Nature. It covers the history of totalitarianism and the history of the psychology behind it, leaving no doubt as to its presence among us. Dr. Desmet informs us of how, when, and under what circumstances the phenomenon becomes prevalent. He explains our vulnerability to its hypnotic powers, and why people are so easily deceived into a state of mass delusion. The themes of the book include Tyranny v Freedom, Reason v Spirituality, Open-mindedness v Doctrine, Poetry v Statistics, Nature v Pharmaceuticals and other themes that weave their ways in and out of the text.

Mattias Desmet (and other thinkers before him) describe the phenomena that capture and hypnotize the masses as “mass formation.” (I call it The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.) His brilliant book allows us to form our own opinions as to how some humans have sought, studied, evaluated and processed information, and how most humans have not.

If you ever wondered if a scholar would come along to connect the historical and psychological dots – wonder no more. Mattias Desmet has done it.

History: The Enlightenment

The light of freedom never shone brighter than it did during the Enlightenment. Nor did the devotion to reason, as we see in our own history from the works of Jefferson, Franklin, Paine and Ethan Allen. (With the devotion to reason, however, man gradually lost some of the wonder that he previously held for nature and the unknown.)

Our forefathers also understood that freedom was not universally regarded as the supreme value. They Reasoned that the new nation could easily lose its love of freedom for the sake of safety, convenience, comfort, greed, and fear. For this reason they enshrined the rights to freedom in a document called The Bill of Rights.

Their love of freedom was spiritual and visceral, as well as reasoned. Their understanding of freedom as the rock upon which to build a new nation has been reflected in the writings of countless poets, authors, and philosophers since. Walt Whitman, W.E.B Du Bois, Somerset Maugham, Martin Luther King understood that freedom must be the highest value, because as soon as a people place comfort and money before it, they will lose not only freedom, but also comfort and money along with it. These are ideas that have not only proved reasonable, but they also proved themselves to be the spiritual base of life, liberty and and pursuit of happiness.

Here is a quote on the subject from Ethan Allen:

Ever since I arrived at a state of manhood and acquainted myself with the general history of mankind, I have felt a sincere passion for liberty. The history of nations doomed to perpetual slavery, in consequence of yielding up to tyrants their natural born liberties, I read with a sort of philosophical horror; so that the first systematical and bloody attempt, at Lexington, to enslave America, thoroughly electrified my mind, and fully determined me to take part with my country.

From A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen’s Captivity (1779)

“passion for liberty . . . philosophical horror . . . thoroughly electrified my mind”

These are the words of a man who valued Reason as the “Only Oracle of Man.”

In the course of human history no-one lived, described and felt the love of freedom and the abhorrence of tyranny more than Ethan Allen. Furthermore, he understood that, in order for his compatriots to live free, he had to wage war, not only against tyranny, but against “human nature at large.” Paine, of course, understood the same thing. It’s common sense.

“Europe saw with wonder, the spirit of freedom unconquerable in America: Rising, the more it suffered, the more superior to all the attempts of the wisest and most powerful nation of Europe. . . The tendency of nature and society towards freedom” was activated by British opposition. (Samuel Williams, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 1809)

Even so, scholars have written that only three percent of the population were actively fighting in the War of Independence. This was at a time when freedom was in the hearts of the people – when they understood intellectually and viscerally what it meant to break allegiance with a tyrannical power. Three percent, and they won.

Well, here we are.

Mass Formation History: 1605 -2022

November 5, 1605, The Gunpowder Plot, starring Guy Fawkes. This narrative (the Catholics are murderous Satanists who just tried to blow up Parliament and overthrow the government) was created to get the Brits to persecute Catholics and to go to war with Spain. Without the narrative – no support – with no support – no mass formation – with no mass formation – no general blood lust against Catholics, and the peace of 1604 with Spain would have lasted.

1692-1693, Salem witch trials.

1793-1796, La Vendee, France. Royalists vs French Revolutionaries (Jacobins) where tens of thousands of Royalists were slaughtered in the region.

1915-1917, Armenian genocide.

WWII (Germany and Soviet Union, looking for utopia), Cambodia (Khmer Rouge killing anyone who could read), Rwanda, Bosnia, Palestine.

The above are examples of totalitarianism via mass formation. People were led to believe that “the others” were the cause of their problems. In each case, manipulation by repetition, lies, and fear created the basis for genocide. Each of the above examples proved that most people are susceptible to mass formation no matter what the cost to their countries, to their friends, and to themselves. One of the great ironies and mysteries of mass formation is that the more absurd the lie, the more readily most people will believe it. (More on the psychology will follow.)

Recent examples of mass formation by means of propaganda in the US: the fear of Arabs, Raw Cider, Raw Milk, Mad Cows, Mad Sheep, Bird Flu, shaking hands, and finally the fear and segregation of those who are not “vaccinated” and not masked.

The state of contrived fear around the world has led most people to believe that medical protocols (science), social mandates and legal restrictions will save them from the “heart-ache and thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” A reasonable assessment of these fears and mandates brings us to the opposite conclusion.

The Psychology

It has long been a truism that, for plus-or-minus twenty percent of the population, totalitarianism is mother’s milk. Sixty percent acquiesce, but the other twenty percent do not automatically and brainlessly buy into it. A precious few do something about it.

That may be all it takes, which is why JFK, RFK, MLK et al were murdered and why Julian Assange is still in jail, and why so many altruistic leaders are demonized and overthrown to a chorus of talking heads who all broadcast exactly the same narrative at the same time ad nauseam.

Dr. Desmet explains the connection between totalitarianism and the psychological process of mass formation here: A “totalitarized population” displays “an exaggerated willingness of individuals to sacrifice their own personal interests out of solidarity with the collective (i.e. the masses), a profound intolerance of dissident voices, and pronounced susceptibility to pseudo-scientific indoctrination and propaganda.”

Mass formation works when it applies the techniques of the hypnotist. One item of information is repeated. It permeates the subject or dominates the narrative. That item partners with fear and reward – the carrot and the stick. It is successful when the mark loses the ability to take in information that does not conform to the narrative. People do not know that this has happened to them or that this kind of hypnosis is a step toward a totalitarian regime. They follow the narrative “because it creates a new social bond.”

Here, below, is an example, showing the continuity of over two years of repetition.

For two weeks in June of 2022, from the front page of our local weekly: Don’t stop now. Getting your COVID 19 booster is a simple and effective way of protecting you and your loved ones from COVID.” (Emphasis theirs – from the Council on Aging and The Vermont Association of Area Agencies on Aging, via It comes with a photo of a happy grandfather with his grandson. I did not make that up. I may be a satirist, but I can’t compete with that.

Another comparison from the world of film may be found in The Manchurian Candidate, 1962. The character, played by Lawrence Harvey, was programmed/brain-washed/hypnotized to assassinate. The comparison occurred to me because the activation of the covid protocols went into effect so smoothly, simultaneously and instantly when the activation signal was given. In The Manchurian Candidate, the activation was also instant, and no information could stop it. Thus the comparison of the movie to covid. The signal to the hypnotized Lawrence Harvey was the queen of diamonds. Covid protocols were activated out of exaggerated health concerns. Desmet explains how most of us had been successfully programmed to accept the medical narrative over a period of many years.

The conditions making us more or less susceptible to totalitarianism are present in the womb (assuming one comes from a womb and not from a test tube). The fetus absorbs the voice and the emotions of its mother. This awareness of sounds and feelings continues after birth and is among the characteristics that will separate a human from a transhuman.

The poet and the artist have described this since Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1932. Transhuman technologies are well on their way. The advocates of transhumanism aim to make totalitarianism roll off the production line: an idea whose time has come. The eighty percent will let it happen. We are being programmed for it now.

Human Nature has not changed. What has changed are the scale and the way we get information, and how we choose the information that we believe. The history of totalitarianism has been an expression of human nature, be it religious, fascist, communist, scientific or cultural. It has always been an intolerant attack against open-mindedness, investigative thought, and the desire to uncompromisingly delve into the nature of things. And totalitarianism must always win the support of the people at large.

In his chapter titled “The Desire for a Master,” Dr. Desmet explains how the very ambiguity of words creates confusion and incoherence. The ambiguity is rich soil for mass formation as we search for rules and direction as infants, children, and adults. Humans are highly susceptible to taking orders – clear, unambiguous orders – from recognized authority. This is because clear orders clarify the actions we must take in order to belong, to get ahead, and to get on with our lives – and, indeed, to be loved.

Many children are traumatized by the ambivalence of words, but many take the challenge in a positive way. They find their ways through the brambles into beautiful gardens of language and imagination. Childhood for them is a time of magic and discovery. They learn that life is full of wonders, that people are different from one another, and that they must negotiate some tricky paths to acceptance and success. They find ways to happiness and fulfilling lives.

If we are not among them – those who seek knowledge and who learn to question the narrative — we easily fall prey to the persuasive powers of conformity and repetition. We lose the qualities that are praised for their humanity: open-mindedness, tolerance of different opinions, friendship, humor, creativity, generosity, objectivity, consideration, clear-sightedness, fairness, honesty and reason. And after the totalitarian goals are either accomplished or abandoned, there is still a twenty percent that cling to the rituals like a subject under hypnosis. We can see them today driving their cars wearing masks alone, long after the media has laid off its barrage and the propagandists have moved on. When the narrative is re-introduced, the people will put on their masks and pick up the cudgel, no matter what the cost. The narrative must be believed and the people must obey. That is totalitarianism. Witches are burned, the “others” are slaughtered, you and your neighbors are refused work, entry to schools, universities, shops, public venues, government offices and quarantined. Eighty percent will accept it, advocate for it or insist upon it. It is their nature, so humanity can only be saved by the few who risk their lives and fortunes by confronting the lies and speaking the truth.

Totalitarianism is only possible when the conditions are ripe for the masses to stop thinking. When those conditions are met, the narrative is what the authority du jour says it is. “The lie flies and the truth comes limping after.” (Mark Twain)

The Science

Since the time of the Enlightenment, “science” has gradually become the word used to sell snake oil and thalidomide. Big pharma has never looked back. Writes Desmet: Since 2005 “Sloppiness, errors, biased conclusions and even outright fraud had become so prevalent in scientific research that a staggeringly high percentage of research papers – up to 85 percent in some fields – reached radically wrong conclusions. And the most fascinating thing of all, from a psychological point of view: Most researchers were utterly convinced they were conducting their research more or less correctly. Somehow, they fail to realize that their research was not bringing them closer to the facts but instead was creating a fictitious new reality.” Hannah Arendt exposes, in The Origins of Totalitarianism, the tendency of a statistical-numerical “scientific fiction” that shows “radical contempt for facts.” And here we are in a world where truth is not a relevant term and where “the distinction between fact and fiction and the distinction between true and false no longer exist.”

The fictitious numbers proposed from Imperial College London were called out by a who’s who in the field: “Michael Levitt, Nobel laureate in Chemistry and John Ioannidis, a legend in medical statistics, protested vehemently.” The truth was hidden by those most responsible for bringing it forth. The lies are lies. They are not mistakes. The numbers were, and are still, “interpreted” to lead the public to the “right” conclusions.

The success of false narratives among most of the population, at a time when most people no longer care about the truth, has lead to “collective unease . . . a pessimism and lack of perspective” that is exacerbated by “social isolation.” This has led to a “remarkable increase in absenteeism due to mental suffering; an unprecedented proliferation in the use of psychotropic drugs; a burnout epidemic that paralyzes entire companies and government institutions.”

But, for the totalitarians at big pharma, there is some bad news as well: the cases of fraud brought against them. That doesn’t stop the other totalitarians from buying billions of dollars of big pharma’s “safe and effective” products with your tax dollars; nor does it stop still more totalitarians from keeping you off airplanes and busses, and out of hospitals, schools and other venues if you haven’t availed yourselves of the latest shots.

It is easy to see who benefits from all this in the short term, but in the long term? Perhaps it is turning out to benefit those working toward depopulation and building caskets. Good job so far.

(From my sources: Whistle-blower data included in the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database led constitutional attorney, Larry Becraft, to conclude last year that over 45,000 deaths have been caused by the “vaccines.” The swine flu vaccine was pulled after 53 deaths. Steve Kirsch recently estimated the death toll to be over 500,000.)

In any event, we find ourselves where the events of the last several years, and particularly the last three years, have led us. Our collective and delusional belief in the gods of rationality and science is the cause of the present crisis. “Follow us and we will lead you to safety.” “Follow us to a utopia ‘led by technocrats or experts who, based on their technical knowledge, will ensure that the machine of society runs flawlessly,’ and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune shall never visit us again.” (Interior quote above is from Mattias Desmet)

A Way Out?

Human nature wants us to solve problems. Mass formation lures the masses into believing that there is a problem – a specific problem that must be solved through their sacrifice and devotion to a cause – causes that have all but ruined America and the world.

The irony is that the causes, including military adventures, that we were hoodwinked into were brought to us through the reasoning of the best and brightest – bought into by people who gratefully gnawed the bones of a fake moral justification. These were the plans of rational people with big plans for the human race. Today the best and brightest are not only ginning up support for another war; they are also waging war against our culture, our health, our rights, our food, our children, our freedom of speech, and against truth itself. They have hoodwinked a nation and the world, again.

The headmaster of my high school said that what we gain in convenience we lose in spirituality. That was in about 1965. Dr. Desmet agrees, saying “While the practical applications of mechanistic science make life easier, in a sense, the essence of life eludes us ever more.” Those who feel thought, as well as comprehend it, may have more life in them. Maybe they are the twenty percent who are more independent, more aware, more thoughtful and more compassionate. Among them lurk at least a handful who are the stuff of heroes.

Here in VT it was a handful who stepped up to defeat the bird flu hoax of 2001. Some of the same individuals defied the law by going to the statehouse to make cheese from raw milk, and successfully pushed for NON GMO labeling.

I make bold to offer some entertainment and enlightenment in conclusion. A few movies: Don Juan DeMarco (1994), Local Hero (1983) and the serious Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). Novels: The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnBrave New World, Animal Farm, 1984, This Perfect Day (Ira Levin) and the series by James Howard Kunstler, World Made by Hand.

Mattias Desmet talks of an essence that is so much more than the sum of all the parts in the universe. The poet knows what the essence is, and the poet explains it in metaphor so that the meaning explodes like fireworks or settles as the gentle rain from heaven. The way out is plain for us to see, which is why it must be so desperately hidden. The way out, if I have read the book correctly, is freedom. It is for us to claim our freedoms by not bowing down to coercion and intimidation.

I leave you with the words of two poets who never claimed to be such. You decide.

Should Dr. Desmet do me the honor of reading this review, I believe that he will enjoy reading the following from William Saroyan and Mark Twain. Their words show glowing proof that there is more to heaven and earth than mechanics.

In the time of your life, live — so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it our of its hiding-place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart. Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. . . . In the time of your life, live – so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.

From The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan (1939)

Huckleberry Finn is a boy who lived a good many years ago in the Mississippi River Valley. He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had. And he was the only really independent person, boy or man in the community, and for this reason, I suppose, he was continually happy. (Mark Twain)

From North American Review, No. DCXX (Aug 2, 1907)

BIO: Jim Hogue is an actor, director and writer who attempts to operate a small farm. He contributes articles to and is currently looking for ways to produce his latest screenplay. You can find out about that here:

Categories: Covid-19

8 replies »

  1. Excellent review of a very important book, Mr. Hogue. I see you gave a shout out to my good friend, Jim Kunstler. You might like the followup to his World Made by Hand series, “Living in the Long Emergency”.

  2. And of course, Huckleberry Finn is a book that has been banned from American classrooms and libraries for being racist.

  3. Thank you for an excellent review, Jim, and thank you for printing it, Guy. It is plain to see now, after the threatening speech of last night, that totalitarianism is well on its way throughout this country and the world. It is out in the open and they are doubling down, tripling down, just like with the jabs. If we want to keep our freedoms, we must get involved locally and get people to vote the thugs out of office!

  4. Once again, it was the small minority that saw the fallacy in the rush to get everyone on board with the jabs, the masking, the isolation, the shaming, the censorship, the propaganda, the media repeating the lies and the government coercion to do as they say or be punished. The mainstream media is now the enemy of the people. It no longer protects the people by being neutral, the media is now nothing more than a propaganda machine for corporations and the government. The growth of alternative media is what’s saving us and informing us. Those who still watch and believe the alphabet news channels have become the useful idiots that Stalin spoke of. This is all for greed, power and control of the masses. The problem is that too many people are too stupid or completely uninformed to see it or believe it. The heroes in today’s society are still those who speak out when they smell a rat. It’s those same, brave people who will eventually put a stop to it again. Freedom is what we have to lose and it’s the most valuable asset you could ever have. Where is our Ethan Allen Now?

  5. Thank you Guy for educating the public about the fascinating work of Doctor Mattias Desmet who is Flemish speaking Belgian not Dutch .