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CALEB ANDERSON: Mass psychosis - surely not - never!

Over recent years a bemused and incredulous public has had to endure an endless stream of lunatic ideas from the left. Many of these ideas have rapidly developed a life of their own, and there has been no shortage of people to champion them. Why do irrational ideas find such fertile ground, what is the game plan, and where could this take us?

Recently I had the privilege of listening to a woman who had escaped with her family from North Korea to the West. One comment stood out. They were taught, among other things, that the great leader did not use the bathroom, a hint of his divinity. This woman was too frightened not to believe this, everyone just went along with it.

That a man can be a woman, and a woman a man, madness even five years ago, is orthodoxy to some today. Do the proponents of this idea actually believe this?

The assertions by indigenous activists that all was pretty rosy before colonisation, that colonisation brought nothing of value, and that ancient ways of knowing are equal, or better, than anything produced by the enlightenment, or modern empirical science. Do they simply not know their history or their science?

“Marxism is the solution to the problems of the West” was a comment I heard not so long ago from a young university student. Despite the fact that Marxism (in its various iterations) has murdered more than one hundred million of its own people, and impoverished the rest. Has he just not read history?

A spokesperson for a social service agency recently commented on television that gangs in New Zealand do not need harsher penalties, what they need is more love. Does she actually believe that it is as simple as that?

Does the Green Party really believe that imposing more regulations on landlords will improve the lot of renters, in spite of clear evidence that interference in already overregulated markets makes things worse? Why are they not joining the dots?

These are diverse examples of the same phenomenon. In each case, people unyieldingly held (or hold) ideas that are untethered from reason and evidence. They champion these ideas with religious zeal in spite of the fact that are self-evidently, to any reasonably informed and reflective person, untenable.

There are a number of reasons people doggedly believe certain things, even when they are not consistent with evidence or reason.

Some people hold to spurious and easily falsifiable beliefs because it can be too risky to do otherwise. Or, perhaps, adherence facilitates entry to, or progression within, a coveted group, wins kudos with an influential person, satisfies an urge to be original, opens a career path, assuages guilt, feeds a predisposition to manipulate for personal (or group) gain, or just settles their mind on something too controversial or vexed to nut out. Whatever the case, many people can come to truly believe what they might once have considered to be errant nonsense.

Psychology suggests that people can be susceptible to believing unbelievable things (i.e. things not in accordance with conventional wisdom) for four primary reasons ...

1. To garner, and maintain, membership of a social group

2. In order to make sense of things that are difficult to understand

3. Through anxiety

4. Through fear

History suggests that this is not a new phenomenon, and that bad ideas can quickly take root and produce bad outcomes. Might these reasons help explain why one of the most advanced and highly educated nations in the world, the home of Hegel, Kant, Luther, Goethe, Beethoven, and Nietzsche, engaged in the systematic extermination of six million Jews? Incredibly, enough people seemed to have believed in the cause, more than has ever been admitted.

Or, at the other end of the spectrum, might this explain why a contemporary Prime Minister is frozen with abject fear when asked to describe the difference between a man and a woman, when the answer is self-evident to most people.

When people come to genuinely believe, or assert, an idea that is contrary to evidence, conventional wisdom, and common sense, and consistently manifest hostility to critiquing this idea, this is called a psychosis. When enough people come to believe in this idea, this is called mass psychosis. When a mass psychosis gains a critical mass it can be extremely dangerous.

I have lost count of the number of people who have commented that New Zealand (and perhaps the wider West) seems to be stuck in a period of utter madness, where untruths are promoted by our government, media, activists, academics, and celebrities, as being true, where it is dangerous to question, and where eloquent and convincing arguments, from eminently qualified experts, are cast to the wind.

Some experts in the field of mass psychosis believe that when it reaches a critical mass exceeding twenty percent of a population it is in a position to be very dangerous.

So what are the antidotes to mass psychosis and the anxiety, fear, and group think, that feeds it?

I would suggest citizenship over tribalism, democracy over any alternative, the free sharing of ideas over censorship, a media willing to cover both sides of issues, an education system that is robust and apolitical ... and a population that insists on being heard, and that is willing to say “thus far and no further”.

When the veneer is stripped away, people are pretty constant over time and space. There is nothing inherent in any group that makes it immune from the errors and excesses of any other group, or from the terrible mistakes of the past. This is worth thinking about.

Ideas are powerful but not all ideas are equal. Socrates is famous for saying that the unexamined life is not worth living. Perhaps we might say the same about ideas. Perhaps the unexamined idea is an idea not worth having.

How appropriate would a tentative diagnosis of mass psychosis be for New Zealand ... or for specific sub-groups of our population? Perhaps? Not yet? Your call. If not appropriate now, at what point might it become appropriate? Your call again.

Caleb Anderson, a graduate history, economics, psychotherapy and theology, has been an educator for over thirty years, twenty as a school principal

3,699 views97 comments


justise xtra
justise xtra

Miami Florida has voted against "Woke". This "Woke" Regulators who have used their privilledges to ostracize not only Journalists who have a Degree also to Dictate who should have wealth or first priveledge of Trade or actively take part in Genocide of certain Humans who do not agree with "Woke" or the ideals or belief and value system that has raised it's head not only in Aotearoa as The Regulators have said only to use. As a New Zealander who has experienced "Maori Woke" and has been denounced and ostracised and black listed in Business and that is because in order to get a Business Estate or acquire any property to do Business out of and then market to target…


In reply to Ron Vautier downthread :-


Replying to FB

"Perhaps you believe that there are no safe and effective vaccines against any diseases? In any case, you have seriously misinterpreted what the letter you refer to actually concludes".


Replying to Ron Vautier :-

"Of course there are safe and effective vaccines , that have also been appropriately tested.

To be specific - "safe" means proven to have minimal and minor side effects. "effective " in this context means the recipient cannot contract the illness or disease. Neither of those things can be said to apply to the treatment that was sold for Sars-CoV-2, as the VAERS register , and the fact that the treated subjects continued to contrac…


You have perhaps missed my comment elsewhere on this site where I stated my position, and so your understanding is , perhaps understandably , wrong.

I hold no position on whether governments, politicians, scientists etc. were duped, paid off, lied, ignorant, or any of the possible permutations and combinations of those things. They are all irrelevant ; the consequences are all that I can observe.

My position is that the Covid Event was about two things - money and control.

I first learned of the Covid Event in Oct/Nov of 2019, at a bank economist presentation, where Covid was just one of 8 or 9 economic factors being predicted to lead inevitably to the economic disaster currently unfolding , a…



I hear what you are saying. However, I also advise that people can successfully get the truth across about what's been happening by believing what they thought were unbelievable things (i.e. things not in accordance with their conventional knowledge ) for four primary reasons ...

1. To garner, and maintain, membership in a social group

2. In order to make sense of things that are difficult to understand

3. Through Anxiety

4. Through fear

For good or evil


The Treaty of Waitangi was the introduction of law into a lawless society. It was an end to tribal rule in its concept of equality and respect for every person living in a society based on British law.

Today we see tribalism in its most primitive form being actively promoted by groups who do not want the constraints of democracy.

Todays gangs are a perfect example of tribalism in its most primitive form.

Enough is enough.


You might find thjis informative?


Yes, it is. Cheers 🙂

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