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Unless you’ve had an excellent liberal arts education, the frequent world historical references may cause you to be Googling and/or refreshing your knowledge at the expense of the deep and well-described essence of the text.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

Mocking the Ridiculous is GOOD

It seems that our current news cycles are filled with ideas and concerns that I deem ridiculous.
The fact that ALL media organizations are eerily reporting these things in unison is my first concern.
Certainly, others can disagree with my label, but I fear the proposing of coordinated ridiculousness is on one level a media driven desensitization of our population to fact and reason.
In this wide world, which has more available topics and information than ever in human history, our attention is directed to myopic themes. Does that sound a bit like propaganda to you? It does to me.
Consider all the things ‘accepted’ as normal, or at least ordinary, today that 10 years ago would have made our chins hit the floor.
What? Boys can decide to be girls (or vice versa) and the medical community will dutifully mess with their healthy bodies.
What? A biological male is being considered as Woman Athlete of the Year.
What? We’re all gonna die in ten years from an ever so slight warming of the planet.
What? The marriage of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez is noteworthy because…
If you actually think those things make sense, fine.
But how should I react to you when my personal opinion of those things is “that’s ridiculous.”?
Here’s the ‘meat’ of my message today:
I laugh and sometimes poke fun at it.
Yikes! That isn’t “nice”.
Well, how might I otherwise express my opinion?
Should I shout at you or cancel you? Maybe attack you?
Or should I opt for “nice” silence when expressing my opinion might empower others to speak up, or at least, pause and think?
NO. I won’t do any of those things.
Laughing at, even mocking, perceived ridiculousness is not unkind, it’s actually pure honesty. Silence does nothing good. It denies who you are, and everyone’s opinion has value either as a good or bad example. [You decide which one it is. Don’t let the media or Twitter mob do that. 😉 ]
I want to know what you think, though I won’t guarantee that I won’t chuckle. 🙂
For those who think a humorous reaction of disapproval or disbelief is “hate”. Grow up.
You don’t need to care what others think but you’d be wise to get to know how others think.

There’s a silencing and redefining of our language and even our humanity going on and this isn’t going to end well if we buy the premise that expressing disapproval makes someone a ‘bad person’.
Don’t accept shame.
The same goes for blame.
Individual human opinions cannot destroy a civilization. But “group think”, which is inspired by a lack of diversity of ideas, certainly can.
Other people can label you all they want; you aren’t really talking to them once they do. You’re speaking for those who are hesitant or overwhelmed. You should especially protect the speech of those who you deem have ridiculous tendencies…It will test your ideas and should strengthen your opinions or possibly even change your mind. That’s how it works people.
I think we should express ourselves more, especially in person.
Don’t fully trust any media outlet to frame what’s real or important. THINK for yourself.
Remember, we’re all in this together! God bless.




Fandango’s Story Starter #40- A “NO” Problem

This week’s Story Starter teaser is:
Jack got that all too familiar dull, sick feeling in the pit of his stomach when he…
voted “No” on the new school policy.
All heads turned toward him, and a dozen pairs of eyes drilled into him. He knew he wasn’t the only one who objected because he’d had a discussion on the possible ‘downside’ of the policy with two colleagues. But today, he was alone. In recent years, objecting to anything had become the most objectional thing anyone could do.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if his ‘no vote’ led to an adult conversation and reevaluation of the ‘pros and cons’ associated with the policy but that’s not how things worked these days. Disagreement was frowned upon.
Jack took a moment to lay out the problem he had with the policy move but was, of course, outvoted in the second round. If it had ended there, the democratic process would have remained intact. But it didn’t.
The same day, Jack had an unannounced ‘evaluation visit’ to his classroom from the vice principal. Days later, he received a memo declining the yearly vacation period he’d had for 7 years prior. And two weeks later, the official evaluation document from the vice principle listed several areas ‘for improvement’ never before mentioned. The final, now clear, retribution came at the end of the school year. His classroom would be disbanded, and his title was going to be changed, in September. He’d become a ‘floating’ member of the science department, IF the funding came through for it.
It was no longer about Jack, he knew that. Putting in his resume’ for a new job would be his summer long focus. He was the ‘example’ made for any other free-thinking teacher to ‘put up or shut up’ if you want to keep paying your bills.

September rolled around. Jack became a science teacher in a new charter school and Jack’s wife started homeschooling their own kids. He was happy but couldn’t help but worry about the kids he’d left behind in a ‘vat of group think’ and intolerance.

https://fivedotoh.com/2022/04/05/fandangos-story-starter-40/