Belgian academic Professor Mattias Desmet urged people to ‘speak out’ against injustice at an event in Dublin this week.
The author of the book The Psychology of Totalitarianism was a guest of Making Sense Events at the Button Factory in Temple Bar.
He spoke at the sold-out event about the dangers of groupthink and his belief that society is being unconsciously led towards a state of totalitarianism.
A Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ghent University in Belgium with a master’s degree in Statistics, Prof Desmet has been attracting negative press coverage in his native country following an extensive hour long interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in the US.
In his book, the professor, who is one of 13 children, applies the psychology of ‘mass formation,’ an explanation of the mindset that gave rise to Hitler’s rise to power in Nazi Germany, to the Covid 19 era.
Prof Desmet argues that the idea of physical suffering has become ‘unbearable’ for people, while humanity is becoming more and more risk averse.
“Desperate attempts to avoid any risk take their toll,” the Professor argues in his book.
“Medical interventions, which should eliminate suffering, are increasingly a source of despair themselves,” he writes. He offers the widespread consumption of psychotropic drugs, pain killers and other pharmaceutical drugs as examples, that ‘have led to tens of millions of addicts and countless deaths.’
Covid 19 brought ‘a maniacal avoidance of infections that lead to an incalculable increase in suffering due to delayed treatments, domestic violence, psychological despair and food insecurity in the developing world,’ he writes.
In Dublin, Professor Desmet predicted the coming of a ‘chaotic and difficult’ period, where resulting uncertainty could be used as a catalyst to convince people of the merits of a new method to manage society.
“But don’t exhaust yourself on predictions,” he told the audience, urging them instead to focus instead on speaking out against injustice.
The mere existence of such an effort, according to the professor, will put pressure on the larger group organism, which he said cannot be allowed to advance unquestioned.
“We each have to be able to articulate our own position. To recognise the human in each other. Diversity is the beauty of humanity,” he said, repeating his message on the importance of speaking out ‘regardless of the consequences.’
A native of Wakken in north west Belgium, Desmet said he is motivated by the urge to stay true to himself, at any cost.
“Focus on humanity. Focus on ethical principles and try to stay true to them. Don’t be afraid of what you might lose,” Prof Desmet instructed his audience.
In an interview after the event, Prof Desmet said his father and grandfather were men who ‘had a strong feeling for justice’.
“They were not scared of going against the current, or the group. I also had this (mindset) as a child I think. If I ever had a feeling there was injustice, something happening that was not fair, I usually preferred to fight than to sit back and remain silent and watch what happened,” he said.
He name has appeared in multiple news articles in the Belgian press since his appearance with Tucker Carlson on September 5 last.
“In every major newspaper, they all published four or five articles about me, even interviewing students anonymously who claim that my classes were near indoctrination. There were so many students that said the opposite and said it just was not true, who wanted to have their opinion published not anonymously – under their own name – but no one made it into the mainstream media, only social media.
“So it has been going on now for two weeks and it’s still going on but I remain quiet and calm because I know. Let them do it because sooner or later people will see me speaking and they will think where is this liar, cheater, manipulator that they tried to make of him in the mainstream media?
“I think in the end the mud will turn against the people that are throwing the mud. And I don’t care in the end. I just don’t care. The only thing I know for sure is that I will just continue to speak out,” he said.