Mass formation psychosis does not exist as a term used in psychology, or social psychology according to two professionally done fact checks by Reuters and the Associated Press. A prediction for 2022 is that Mass Formation Psychosis being total or almost total nonsense will not stop people from using the term to attack any group they dislike. This will be and currently is used on the anti-vaccine right who have equated their overall politics with a philosophy that does not accept the process of science. Rooted in miseducation regarding that process from hypothesis to experiment to scientific communication, and formation of consensus based on many observations which lead to laws or theories of science. Instead for them hypothesis is just an opinion and all that matters is authority not data. Mass Formation psychosis will be used in much the same way that Critical Race Theory not being in K-12 schools will not stop it from being an issue. Doctor Robert Malone spoke of this concept on a Joe Rogan podcast as an aside to his other statements. Since this phrase is easy to latch onto and sounds like an insult it is what went viral. Never mind that the person who misapplied the term is not any sort of psychologist they are a scientist and one scientist is just as good as another even outside their field*.
I’d wager that it will be used to decry non-Christian religions. Gay pride will be called a Mass Formation Psychosis. I can already hear Ben Shapiro saying it so fast it sounds like a Chipmunks album, about anything relating to transgender people. Being a Democrat will be called a Mass Formation Psychosis. Being a Libertarian will be called this as well. People who are not wrapped in the flag with Q Anon symbols all over them will be called this by people who do. Along with shouts of “Let’s Go Brandon” from said MAGA flag wrapped set. All the above goes double if one is in favor of reasonable common sense public health measures, and the proven science of vaccination.
Anti-Science Got Partisanly Political
This is very political and outside the wheelhouse of things I write about usually science, science policy, and education policy. Things which impact me as a scientist. This impacts me in the following way.
The people who have the mentality to just make up use and latch onto words like this really can’t stand fundamental physics.
Fundamental physics, especially special relativity demonstrates without any question, via observations that anyone can take, that the universe cannot be six thousand years old, that the Earth cannot be flat, that Dinosaurs and humans did not share the planet. Then to be told all of that by a transgender woman of color must really burn some people.
Turn Their Term On Them.
Thinking that vaccines, mask, and testing for a communicable and sometimes deadly disease is a violation of your rights is mass formation psychosis.
Let me say I will exclude old school anti vaccine people from this. They had reasons which tended to go hand in hand with a really health-focused way of life most of the time. The majority of anti-Covid vaccines, statistically speaking given their numbers, reflect the ill health of the wider population. If you are anti vaccine and are also someone who eats right, exercises, and avoids artificial flavor and color in your food etc. I can at least understand that. Anti covid vaccine, and only anti covid vaccine people just fear needles.
If a government imposes truly unreasonable or stupid rules, like a curfew against walking your dog after a certain hour oppose that. In door mask wearing, outdoor dining if un vaccinated, proof of vaccination for indoor dining. Those are all reasonable. Reasonable exceptions and accommodations for those who cannot be vaccinated are not discrimination. If such accommodation is provided no ones rights are violated.
Then I’m old enough to remember smoking and non smoking sections on planes, in restaurants, etc. This is really no different.
Furthermore, by democratic principle 80 -90% of the US has had the first vaccine shot. 60% + has had the second shot, and the boosters are rolling out. If vaccinations were votes then the people have spoken. Vaccination is what we have chosen. Heck even Donald Trump someone those who use this term support is in favor of vaccination. The people have spoken, history has spoken, and the anti vaccine side has lost.
So go on with the “diagnosing” most of the population with a psychosis. The hallmark of being crazy is thinking that everyone else is crazy.*
It is heartening to see that us Physicists are not immune to this. Maybe with age and knowing a lot about a little we all convince ourselves we know more than we do. Such is why the truly wise have learned that for most things yes you really can and should trust the wisdom of a crowd. Use your own judgement by all means but if like 60% of the population your highest education is high school, suck it up, and realize that the people who got the degrees did so for precisely this sort of a situation. This is the value, not money, but knowledge sought for its own sake becoming suddenly critically useful.
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