The Psychology of Totalitarianism: A Book Review

I chose to experience this book in audio form and I’m glad I did. As someone who tries to grasp every morsel of a book, I may have become bogged down in it otherwise.
Unless you’ve had an excellent liberal arts education, the frequent world historical references may cause you to be Googling and/or refreshing your knowledge at the expense of the deep and well-described essence of the text. Within every reference is a clear explanation of the time period so you don’t have to recall all your own facts.
I’m blown away how (somewhat scarily) this book describes the intrinsic human tendency to drift toward totalitarianism and draws an undisputable correlation to our experiences before, during, and since, the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been a perfect storm for our self-destructive behavior.
The book does not point fingers or make judgements but simply explains Mass Formation Psychosis.
In fact, I felt relieved that there isn’t likely organized malicious wrongdoing on a large scale, but instead, this phenomenon is arising from widespread fear and uncertainty. It’s dangerous and destructive just the same. But there’s actually a hopeful thread that makes our future seem less grim… yet still uncertain.
More than explaining just a psychological phenomenon, the book offers many reference-based cases and gets to the center of defining our humanity and human limitations in general.
[spoiler alert] Poets, artists, and Nature lovers just may be closer to the ‘truth’ of our existence than the dogmatically logic-based scientists.
I’m going to re-experience this fascinating book soon because all the enlightening and affirming information could not possibly be absorbed-to my liking- in one dose. You’ll definitely feel more educated once you read it.
If you’re curious, logical, anxious, or find yourself just shaking your head every day, this book is for you!

Here’s a short clip of the author explaining a sliver of his findings:


BTW-the audio version is not read by the author so if you find his Belgian accent distracting, it’s more clearly understandable.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=mass+formation+psychosis&&view=detail&mid=4A9D029B0483AC21D4724A9D029B0483AC21D472&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dmass%2520formation%2520psychosis%26%26FORM%3DVDVVXX

6 thoughts on “The Psychology of Totalitarianism: A Book Review

  1. dorahak 09/05/2022 / 6:26 pm

    Liked your review, Susan. Our desire in a crisis, a pandemic, for panaceas and the shangri-la of “safety” is too contagious. Here’s the thing: there’s more to life than living, little things like truth and freedom.
    ~Dora

    • Susan St.Pierre 09/05/2022 / 6:32 pm

      Thanks Dora! Good to see you!
      The adherence to pure logic and the illusion of certainty is our enemy. 💜

  2. John Holton 09/05/2022 / 7:25 pm

    I just bought the book and audiobook, and look forward to listening and reading it.

    My favorite quote by H. L. Mencken quote: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” The last two years have been a demonstration of this…

    • Susan St.Pierre 09/05/2022 / 8:12 pm

      Absolutely! I am so happy to hear that you’re interested. The more we know, the better chance we’ll have to keep our heads.

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