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If a kid says you're ugly, you're ugly.
Same for being in a mass delusion
Trouble with mass delusions is that those within it have no idea they’re in it. You can’t argue them out of it.
They’ve come to believe their narrative in the way that everyone comes to believe narratives: via the network of people around them, especially the higher reputation ones. They’re not crazy. And they’re not lying either.
It’s just that the functional network dynamics are broken, and what would usually have been a variety of independent arguments from various sources all got on the same page due to fear and panic.
You and I would have fallen into it if we sat where they sat within the network. Never think otherwise.
(And falling within a mass delusion is no excuse either.)
So, what can we do?
It occurs to me that it has never, in any of our lifetimes, been the case that one side of a debate is accusing the other side of having fallen into a mass delusion, something I mention in this thread.
If we lived in a world where everyone was constantly accusing their opposition of being in a mass delusion, then hearing that accusation would be uninformative.
But we don’t live in such a world.
Other than the folks who grew up with Communism or Islamism, none of us have ever personally experienced anything close to what we experienced starting in March of 2020. Family, friends, colleagues, politicians and everyone had all gone mad. It’s been Alice in Wonderland 24/7 for two years.
Most of us didn’t know what to even call what we were witnessing. Hypnosis? Madness? A coordinated attack from X? And so on.
I’ve been on the front lines communicating to you what mass hysteria is, and researching how it works, but even I probably never once mentioned “mass hysteria” — in writing or speaking — before March of 2020.
The folks brazenly yelling “Mass hysteria!” for two years have zero history of using that phrase. We’re only just learning about it, in an attempt to understand what the hell happened to everyone.
So, in a world like this, if one side of a debate tells you, “You’re in a mass hysteria,” well, that turns out to be informative.
Could we somehow leverage this observation to red pill those within the hysteria?
It’s certainly, all by itself, no magic bullet. All the empirical arguments about the risks of Covid and dangers of the interventions are informative too, and make no impact on the cult members. (And those arguments are at any rate missing the point.)
But… it’s nevertheless another potential angle, one I haven’t actually tried out.
ME: Look, Doug, you’ve known me for forty years. We have disagreed about loads of things. When have I ever accused you, or anyone, of being in a mass delusion?
DOUG: Well. True. You never have.
ME: So, what’s different now that I am for the first time saying this? And so is much of my side, also who have never mentioned ‘mass hysteria’ their whole lives.
DOUG: Maybe you folks are dicks.
Perhaps that’s how the argument can be expected to go.
Or, perhaps there’s some clever angle there that can be leveraged to help us break their Godel-like inability to see what they’ve fallen into.