Mass Formation Psychosis: From Covid to Ukraine

Credit: Bob Moran,
From New Dawn 192 (May-June 2022)

There are two ways to be fooled: 
one is to believe what isn’t true, 
the other is to refuse to believe what is true.
– Soren Kierkegaard

There is a Latin proverb, “Repetitio est mater studiorum.” It means, “Repetition is the mother of learning.” The more we are exposed to something, the more likely we are to accept or learn it.

Repetition is also the mother of propaganda, mind control, cult programming, groupthink, and mass formation psychosis, all of which create a hypnotic state, of people unable to discern truth, use common sense, think for themselves, or see beyond a narrow band of perception-based reality even when presented with verifiable facts. 

When people are exposed to a message over and over again from authority figures or celebrities they admire, even if it has no basis in reality, many will come to believe it without question. 

Over the last two years, we have seen an unprecedented number of otherwise intelligent people fall prey to a zombie-like state of compliance and submission to authority that they can’t snap out of, or don’t seem to want to, as if under hypnosis and awaiting the hypnotist to snap his or her fingers and wake them up.

The problem is the hypnotist, in this case, doesn’t want the people to wake up. 

What is Mass Formation Psychosis?

Mattias Desmet, author of The Psychology of Totalitarianism and professor of clinical psychology in the Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Ghent University in Belgium, calls this bizarre hypnotic state “mass formation psychosis.” He is considered the world’s leading expert on the subject. 

Mattias Desmet

His theory has caught on like wildfire to explain the insanity and irrational behaviour of millions of people worldwide regarding the COVID pandemic – and now the Ukraine crisis. Desmet, whose work was recently attacked by mainstream media “fact-checkers” and scrubbed by Google after it was exposed to millions of listeners of the December 2021 Joe Rogan Show (show #1757), likens this to “a madness of crowds” that subsumes a large segment of the population into psychosis. 

In an analysis of Desmet’s theory, “Understanding the Psychology Behind the Covid Pandemic” by Dr Joseph Mercola for, mass formation psychosis explains how the German people came to accept the atrocities of the Nazi party in the 1930s and how so many people around the world came to support medical apartheid and hatred for the unvaccinated over the last two years, even calling for them to be rounded up in camps and forcibly injected.

This same brand of psychosis is evident in the jump-on-the-bandwagon obsession with support for Ukraine in a global crisis that has been painted repeatedly by the US and their allies as having only one truth. Ukraine good. Russia bad. Support Ukraine. Destroy Russia. Hatred of the filthy unmasked and unvaxxed is now directed at anyone who asks if the media’s version of the Ukraine crisis is fact-based or who questions the narratives pushed by powerful forces shaping world events, such as the World Economic Forum, which proudly proclaimed the COVID pandemic as phase one of their Great Reset. 

Guess what phase two is?

War and the economic destruction so they can “reset” and “build back better.”

There are four basic conditions for mass formation psychosis:

1) Lack of social bonding. Lockdowns during the COVID pandemic ensured that people couldn’t get together and compare notes about what was happening. The media hammered the public with messages of guilt, fear, and shame that turned friend against friend, family member against family member.

2) Losing meaning and purpose in life and constant exposure to circumstances that do not make sense. Think of this as non-stop gaslighting and the confusion it can cause, making people feel they are, as Dr Mercola wrote, “sleepwalking through life.” 

3) Widespread free-floating anxiety and discontent. Make people anxious and miserable, but keep them off balance as to why, and they become jelly in your hands.

4) Widespread free-floating frustration and aggression. Without a discernible cause, the powers-that-be will happily tell you the source of your frustration and where to direct your aggression, whether it be the unvaxxed or Russia, Russia, Russia.

Over time, these conditions destabilise people, leading to their acceptance of government-as-saviour and, eventually, totalitarianism. Single-minded obsession, whether COVID, vaccines, or the Russia conflict, keeps people distracted and fighting with each other. Meanwhile, those in power take more power. 

According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), psychological operations, or psyops, use propaganda and psychological tactics to influence emotions and behaviours. The root of any psyop mission is behavioural change. One technique is “nudging,” described by the DoD as “any attempt at influencing people’s judgement, choice, or behaviour in a predictable way that is motivated because of cognitive boundaries, biases, routines, and habits in individual and social decision-making interests, and which works by making use of those boundaries, biases, routines, and habits as integral parts of such attempts.”

Mass formation psychosis is the result of one giant, global psyop.

Plot Pivot

Between January and March of 2022, the mainstream media narrative abruptly pivoted from “COVID will kill us all, get your vaccine” to “Stand with Ukraine or Russia will nuke us all.” 

It was like COVID vanished overnight and we woke up to war drums beating over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Soon, every media outlet was prophesying the coming of World War III and the evils of Russian President Vladimir Putin attacking the “weaker, smaller” neighbouring Ukraine. 

From the US President Joe Biden and heads of NATO nations, it was an all-out assault on a public still reeling from COVID, and the narrative was clear from the start – Ukraine good, Russia bad. Fear of a virus changed hands to fear of a world war, like a relay racer handing off the baton.

On social media outlets, profile pictures of people wearing masks or proudly proclaiming their vaccination status immediately switched to blue and yellow Ukrainian flags and #IStandWithUkraine. The same hostility those people had toward anyone who refused masks or the experimental gene therapy injections was now levelled at anyone who questioned the Ukraine/Russia war narrative. Censors targeted in-depth historical analysis of the situation lest anyone learn about the dynamics in the region that dated back decades and longer.

The new object of global hatred was to be Vladimir Putin, and media portraying Putin as positive or even neutral was being scrubbed from the Internet along with negative coverage of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The cult of COVID was now the cult of Ukraine, and its members began calling for the end to anything Russian, from actors to athletes to products. 

Twitter exploded with calls for those who didn’t stand behind Ukraine’s president and military (as opposed to standing with the Ukrainian people) to be banned or censored. In some countries, Meta, the new name for Facebook, permitted users to post calls for violence against Russian officials and citizens, as warmongering replaced virus fearmongering.

Meanwhile, the US Congress gave Zelenskyy a standing ovation after he pled for billions of American dollars and weapons in aid. [On 1 April, he also received a standing ovation after his address to Australia’s federal parliament, with the government pledging over $100 million in military aid.]. Actor Sean Penn demanded that Zelenskyy, a former actor and comic, speak at the Oscars (it didn’t happen), just as evidence emerged the US government had been financing bio-labs across Ukraine. Timing is everything.

Memes and cartoons of superheroes bowing down to Zelenskyy appeared on social media, including one of him wearing a Superman shirt and cape. The worship took on absurd new heights with people making Tik-Tok videos of love songs for Zelenskyy and selling T-shirts and coffee mugs with his face on them. Zelenskyy was the hero fighting for democracy, and you dare not bring up his rather non-democratic banning of political opposition parties or the evidence that his security services staged ‘Russian war crimes’.

The long history of Ukraine’s corruption in collusion with American politicians or the fact that many of them, including President Biden, had children who sat on the boards of Ukrainian corporations and oil companies, was called pure conspiracy. If you dare mention the Pandora Papers, millions of pages of leaked documents that reveal hidden wealth, tax avoidance, and money laundering by the world’s elite – including 38 Ukrainian politicians, the most out of any country – you are cast out into the wilderness.

This is not to say that Putin is the “good guy” in this conflict. One astute Twitter poster suggested it was like a battle between a devil and a demon, but the devil was being portrayed in Western legacy media as a hero because the West benefitted from the devil and not the demon. Gone was the idea that there are two sides to every story.

In an interview with Peak Prosperity, Desmet said that solidarity is crucial in mass formation. “That’s the real reason why people buy into the story, even if it is utterly absurd. It’s not because they believe in the narrative. It is because the narrative leads to a new social bond… It is a form of mental intoxication that makes people willing to do things that are clearly wrong and utterly immoral up to and including voluntarily killing their own families and themselves, if told it’s for the greater good.” 

As COVID paranoia was receding into the background, the powers-that-be needed a new fear for the people. The Ukraine-Russia conflict is a great excuse to manufacture justification for implementing the Great Reset, the totalitarian wet dream of the World Economic Forum.

In fiction, this is called a “plot pivot” or plot change. A new viral pandemic had suddenly swept across the global stage – only this one infected minds, not bodies.

Mind viruses are a masterful psyop tool because if you infect enough members of the public, they spread your version of the truth for you. 

In Thought Contagion: How Belief Spreads Through Society, author and former Fermilab physicist Aaron Lynch discusses the theoretical and mathematical models of how ideas are transmitted throughout a culture or society. For Lynch, an idea is something encoded in human neurons or other media but takes on a life of its own as it evolves and spreads, often creating a whole new belief set.

Memes also count as mind viruses and, according to Richard Brodie in Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme, they spread “by influencing people’s minds, and thus their behaviour, so that eventually someone gets infected with the meme. If a meme is in your mind, it can greatly or subtly influence your behaviour.” 

The mass media engages in this kind of diffusion, and when an idea or belief reaches a tipping point, infecting a large enough group of people, society accepts and promotes it as reality.

The Global Cult

Mass formation psychosis is like a global cult – insidious, pervasive, sick, and dangerous. These are the cult conditions as we move from the cult of COVID to the cult of war:

  • Opposition to critical thinking (only the official narrative gets media time).
  • Isolate members and penalise them for leaving (block, censor, ban, deplatform).
  • Emphasise special doctrine (trust the science!).
  • Declare loyalty to leaders (don’t question Bill Gates or the WEF’s Klaus Schwab and cheer for Zelenskyy).
  • Dishonour the family unit (gender division, war on the family, hatred of traditional values).
  • Cross boundaries of behaviour, i.e., personal ownership (the powers-that-be shut down your small business but kept big businesses open).
  • Separate from the Church/God (God is dead, we are your new Gods now).  

Although cults operate in isolation, mass formation psychosis plays heavily on group dynamics. As a member, an individual often gives up their core identity to become a part of the group and goes with the direction of the group, even against their own values and integrity. 

It is especially frightening because of the capacity for violence those caught up in it have for the “others” they have been repeatedly told to hate or see as the enemy. Twitter abounds with calls by social justice warriors for the death of Putin or all Russians (can we all just stand compassionately with the people of Ukraine and Russia who are caught up in this chaos?). These same people attack those who refuse to wear masks or vaccinate as if it’s acceptable to call for the deaths of people as long as you are on the right side of the chosen narrative. 

In 1972, social psychologist Irving Janis, author of Victims of Groupthink, coined the term “groupthink” to identify what happens when a group makes decisions because of group pressures and expectations, often leading to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment.” Groupthink ignores alternatives and often promotes irrational actions that dehumanise other groups. “A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.” 

Power Tools for Mass Hypnosis

Guilt and shame are powerful tools used to bring down dissenters. Throw in fear of being punished by both the “cult leadership” and your own brainwashed friends and family, and the control is complete. This explains why we see so much virtue signalling. People want to belong to the group, so they make symbolic gestures stating their position, all meant to show the world they are obedient, compliant, and good.

In 1961, American psychiatrist and author Robert J. Lifton, who focused on the psychological implications of war and political violence, outlined in his book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism the eight marks of a true “mind control cult” which are at play in today’s mass formation psychosis:

  • Milieu control – Milieu is French for “surroundings, environment.” Mass formation psychosis demands that the media show one narrative and censor anything that goes against it. This way, people never see what is really going on, only what the ruling elite wants them to think is going on.
  • Mystical manipulation – Mass formation psychosis plays upon our desire to look virtuous and be one of the good guys. Compliance becomes sacred. Dissent becomes sacrilegious. 
  • Purity – Purity of body and mind, and avoidance of all things “evil,” such as those crazy conspiracy theorists who dare to ask about vaccine side effects or access to on-the-ground eyewitness reports from Ukraine. Ban them from family gatherings!
  • The Cult of Confession – “See something, say something” calls to snitch on those who did not mask or get vaccinated. Now, those same virtue signallers label friends and family who question the official Russian/Ukraine narrative as “domestic terrorists.”
  • Sacred science – The ideology of the cult is sacred and the one true moral vision for the ordering of human existence. Because it is sacred, it is not questioned. TRUST THE SCIENCE!
  • Loaded language – The prolific use of phrases designed to end a controversial discussion or terminate debate. You either accept it, or the discussion is over. Words are chosen to induce psychological force. “Wear your mask or you’ll kill your gramma and stop being so selfish!”
  • Doctrine over people – Doctrine rules over actual human experience. Common sense perceptions are altered to fit the doctrine, as in gaslighting. 
  • Dispensing of existence – Think of the global elite’s plans to use both COVID and war as methods of depopulating the useless eaters and bottom feeders.

It doesn’t matter if the topic du jour is COVID, masks, vaccines, protests, Ukraine, food shortages, digital wallets, universal basic income, or a potential cyberattack that will no doubt be blamed on whoever the enemy of the month is (currently Russia but check back in a few months). What matters is that enough people are hypnotised and infected with a mind virus so powerful that it spreads until they believe up is down, evil is good, and war is peace.

Waking From the Hypnotic State

Can you just say no to mass formation psychosis? It’s much harder than that. People often, but not always, wake up when they become aware of the damage something is doing to themselves, their families, and loved ones. They wake up when something happens that affects them directly, such as the mandate of outrageous new rules that shuts down their businesses. It often boils down to personal experience, such as the Twitter troll who calls others evil anti-vaxxers getting red-pilled when his or her own child suffers a vaccine injury. 

Sadly, many people never wake up, or they do, but only after much damage has been done on the individual and collective levels.

Cult deprogrammers point to five essential debriefing steps which work for those under the spell of mass formation psychosis:

  • Discredit the leader and other authority figures.
  • Present contradicting ideologies and expose hypocrisies. 
  • Look for a breaking point when the person seems to be emerging from their brainwashed reality. 
  • Encourage self-expression and allow the person to open up and voice their anger, fear, and criticism of the cult/group.
  • Identification/Transference – when the person begins to identify with someone or something on the other side and shuns the cult/group leader.

Another way to break the psychosis is with humour. Funny memes or videos that ridicule the hypocrisy and inconsistency of the narrative grab attention more than a serious essay or barrage-of-facts. It’s about getting someone to re-engage in independent thinking so they can join those already awakened or who were never asleep to begin with, and put an end to the insanity.

Hopefully, enough people snap out of their stupor before the next plot pivot or narrative shift because once you see this in action, you cannot unsee it. No one can control an awakened mind.

This article was published in New Dawn 192.
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About the Author

Marie D. Jones is the author of numerous non-fiction books, most recently for Visible Ink Press, including Disinformation and You: Identify Propaganda and Manipulation. She has contributed to dozens of magazines and has appeared on the History Channel and over 2,000 radio shows worldwide. Her website is

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