Mattias Desmet is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ghent University in Belgium.

He focuses on mass crowd formation, totalitarianism, mass hypnosis, indoctrination and, basically, how the human mind works.

There has long been a steady increase in the number of depression and anxiety problems and the number of suicides. And in recent years there has been an enormous growth in absenteeism due to psychological suffering and burnouts.

The year before the corona outbreak, you could feel this malaise growing exponentially. This gave the impression that society was heading for a tipping point where a psychological ‘reorganization’ of the social system was imperative.

Mattias Desmet

Why did people become crazy?

Mass (or mask) fomation

I’d like to know how it is that millions of people suddenly believed that permanently wearing a mask and standing far away perfectly healthy people, was a good idea.

It’s as if a switch was flipped.

Neighbours reported one another for walking their dogs. Greetings changed from handshakes to elbow bumps. Fear campaigns dominated the media.

It was bonkers.

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Mattias believes that this ‘pandemic’ was less biological and more psychological.

Mass formation, as he calls it, is a phenomenon that occurs when a large group of people develop irrational beliefs or engage in collective behaviour that defies logic or reason.

Akin to a cult.

Unmasked people are deemed to be dangerous biohazards.

It’s like a contagious mindset that spreads within a community, leading individuals to adopt the same thoughts, behaviours, or beliefs.

In the case of the Covid™ era, it took control of the minds of people everywhere.

Humans copy one another

One theory is the power of social influence.

Humans are social creatures and we often look to others for guidance, validation, and a sense of belonging. When a large enough number of people around us start believing or doing something, we might feel compelled to follow suit even if it contradicts our own beliefs or logic.

Principles fall away.

This social pressure can be so strong that it overrides our critical thinking and individual judgement.

Hence the “sheeple” label.

And why, for the love of sanity, were hospital staff making choreographed TikTok videos during a ‘deadly pandemic’?

Another theory is that fear and uncertainty play a big role in driving mass formation.


During a crisis (or a ‘crisis’), people become anxious, confused, or powerless and, in search of stability and security, they latch onto simplistic explanations or adopt extreme beliefs that promise certainty and control.

Free-floating anxiety, according to Mattias.

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, it is the rule.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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