Desmet got widespread attention from both mainstream and alternative media for associating public reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic with mass formation (mass psychosis), arguing that most people accepted mitigation measures issued by governments without question. And would denounce those who were critical of such measures.
With a background in statistics, Desmet studied the numbers that were presented by government and media outlets. He noticed that most of the people uncritically accepted numbers and information, even though they were often “blatantly wrong”, this phenomenon he fears has formed a mass psychology perspective.
Desmet argued that prior to the pandemic society had become individualistic and that there was a lot of “free floating” fear and discontent. This was an ideal breeding ground for Mass formation (mass psychosis).
When the Covid crisis arrived, this object of fear (“the virus”) was pointed out by governments and the media. With the intense response of mask mandates, vaccinations and social distancing it was a rallying strategy for dealing with this object of fear.
Desmet suggests that a “new social bond” was established among the people to wage “war on COVID”. This battle fulfilled their needs for meaningfulness and connection. As a result, the virus became the common enemy of both sides. Those who joined in support and those that challenged the war on COVID.
On both sides now, according to Desmet, people who ask critical question about the virus either pro or con, pose a threat to the continuity of this new world social bond.Desmet says that this new mass formation has had a huge impact on individual’s cognitive functioning; he fears a rise among the masses toward totalitarianism, on both sides.
Despite mounting information and arguments on both sides that are utterly absurd, he argues that this theory is the only explanation as to why, even highly intelligent people on both sides refuse to challenge their own narrative.