Defined as an epidemic of madness that occurs when a large portion of society loses touch with reality and descends into delusion - is there a risk of society becoming a psychotic mob, and entering the 'witch hunt' era made famous during the 16th and 17th centuries?
Mass Psychosis — How to Create an Epidemic of Mental Illness
Mass psychosis is defined as an epidemic of madness that occurs when a large portion of society loses touch with reality and descends into delusions
The witch hunts that occurred in the Americas and Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, when tens of thousands of people, mostly women, were burned at the stake is a classic example of mass psychosis. The rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century is another
When a society descends into madness, the results are always devastating. Individuals who make up the affected society become morally and spiritually inferior, unreasonable, irresponsible, emotional, erratic and unreliable. Worst of all, a psychotic mob will engage in atrocities that any solitary individual within the group would normally never consider
The psychogenic steps that lead to madness includes a panic phase, where the individual is frightened and confused by events they cannot explain, and a phase of psychotic insight, where the individual explains their abnormal experience of the world by inventing an illogical but magical way of seeing reality that eases the panic and gives meaning to the experience
Menticide is a term that means “killing of the mind.” It’s a way of controlling the masses by systematically killing the human spirit and free thought. It’s a system through which the ruling elite imprints their own delusional worldview onto society. A society is primed for menticide by the intentional sowing of fear and social isolation
The 20-minute video above, “Mass Psychosis — How an Entire Population Becomes Mentally Ill,” created by After Skool and Academy of Ideas,1 is a fascinating illustration of how mass psychosis can be induced.
Mass psychosis is defined as “an epidemic of madness” that occurs when a “large portion of society loses touch with reality and descends into delusions.”
One classic historical example of mass psychosis is the witch hunts that occurred in the Americas and Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, when tens of thousands of people, mostly women, were tortured, drowned and burned alive at the stake. The rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century is a more recent example of mass psychosis.
Man’s Worst Enemy
As noted in the video:
“The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.”
That’s a quote attributed to Gustave Le Bon, a French social psychologist renowned for his study of crowds. His book, “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind,”2 takes a deep dive into the characteristics of human crowds and how, when gathered in groups, people tend to relinquish conscious deliberation in favor of unconscious crowd action. Similarly, psychologist Carl Jung once stated that:
“It is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer, but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics, which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.”
When a society descends into madness, the results are always devastating. Jung, who studied mass psychoses, wrote that the individuals who make up the affected society “become morally and spiritually inferior.” They become “unreasonable, irresponsible, emotional, erratic and unreliable.”
Worst of all, a psychotic mob will engage in atrocities that any solitary individual within the group would normally never consider. Yet through it all, those affected remain unaware of their condition and cannot recognize the error in their ways.
What Causes Mass Psychosis?
To understand how an entire society can be driven to madness, you must first understand what drives any given individual to insanity. Barring drug or alcohol abuse, or a brain injury, psychosis is typically triggered by psychogenic factors, i.e., influences that originate in the mind.
One of the most common psychogenic factors that can trigger psychosis is a flood of negative emotions such as fear or anxiety that drives the person into a state of panic. When in a panic, the natural inclination is to seek relief. A psychologically resilient individual may adapt by facing their fear and ultimately defeating it.
Another coping mechanism is a psychotic break. As explained in the video, a psychotic break is not the descent into chaos, but rather a reordering of one’s experiential world in a way that blends fact and fiction, reality and illusions, in such a way that a sense of control is restored and panic ends. The psychogenic steps that lead to madness can be summarized as follows:
Phase of panic — Here, the individual begins to perceive the world around him or her in a different way and is frightened on account of it. There’s a perceived threat, whether it be real, fabricated or imagined. Confusion grows as they can’t find a way to rationally explain the strange occurrences taking place around them.
Phase of psychotic insight — Here, the individual manages to explain his abnormal experience of the world by inventing an illogical but magical way of seeing reality. The term “insight” is used, because the magical thinking allows the individual to escape from the panic and find meaning again. However, the insight is psychotic, because it’s based on delusions.
Just as a psychologically weak and vulnerable individual can be driven to madness, so can large groups of weak and vulnerable people descend into madness and magical thinking.
Totalitarianism Is a Society Built on Delusions
In the 20th century, we’ve seen a rise in totalitarianism, defined by professor and religious studies scholar Arthur Versluis as:
“The modern phenomenn of total centralized state power coupled with the obliteration of individual human rights: In the totalized state, there are those in power and there are the objectified masses, the victims.”
In a totalitarian society, there are two classes: the rulers and the ruled, and both groups undergo a pathological transformation. Rulers are raised to a god-like status where they can do no wrong — a view that easily leads to corruption and unethical behavior — while the ruled are transformed into dependent subjects, which leads to psychological regression.
Joost Meerloo, author of “Rape of the Mind,” compares the reactions of citizens living in totalitarian states to that of schizophrenics. Both rulers and the ruled are ill. Both live in a delusional fog, as the entire society and its rules are sustained by delusional thinking.
As noted in the video, only deluded people regress to a child-like state of total submissiveness, and only a deluded ruling class will believe they possess the knowledge and wisdom to control society in a top-down manner. And, only a deluded person will believe that a power-hungry elite ruling a mentally regressed society will result in anything but mass suffering and financial ruin.
The mass psychosis that is totalitarianism begins within the ruling class, as the individuals within this class are easily enamored with delusions that augment their power. And no delusion is greater than the delusion that they can, and should — indeed are destined to — control and dominate all others.
Whether the totalitarian mindset takes the form of communism, fascism or technocracy, a ruling elite that has succumbed to their own delusions of grandeur then sets about to indoctrinate the masses into their own twisted worldview. All that’s needed to accomplish that reorganization of society is the manipulation of collective feelings.
Killing of the Mind
Menticide is a term that means “killing of the mind,” and it’s an ancient way of controlling the masses by systematically killing the human spirit and free thought. It’s a system through which the ruling elite imprints their own delusional worldview onto society.
A society is primed for menticide by the intentional sowing of fear. A particularly effective way to induce fear and panic that results in psychosis is the unleashing of waves of terror, and it doesn’t matter if the “terror” in question is real or fictitious. The waves of terror technique can be graphed out as an escalating wave pattern where each round of fear is followed by a round of calm.
Contradictory reports, nonsensical recommendations and blatant lies are deployed intentionally, as it heightens confusion. The more confused a population is, the greater the state of anxiety, which reduces society’s ability to cope with the crisis. As the ability to cope withers, the greater the chances a mass psychosis will develop.