Our beliefs are often adopted and accepted without critical analysis. Whether it’s religious dogma, patriotism/nationalism, or racism, these are beliefs which are often inherited through family, friends, culture and geographic location. Individual beliefs are generally formed by those seeking the truth after some comparison and may not involve becoming part of a larger group.
Like other animals, humans behave differently in a group than they do as individuals. Their beliefs and actions are often more extreme. Most of the people in this group would not break store windows or burn cars on their own, particularly over a hockey game. But in an alcohol fuelled mob, these folks did a lot of damage. But this is an example of an isolated incident that resulted in a few criminal charges laid and many hangovers suffered.
Individuals may develop beliefs about what life is all about through study and introspection. They will often find their beliefs at odds with organizations and groups, many of whom claim millions of people, who believe their particular dogma without any scrutiny. However, there is substantial comfort for many people in being part of a large group who have similar beliefs.
This attraction to comfort often overrides critical thinking and possibly even common sense. Religion is but one example of the power of belief driven by sheer numbers. The title “Mass Delusion” is not isolating Catholicism as the only example. This applies to all orthodox religions, all of whom require belief in, and adherence to, ancient dogma. Unlike the example above, adherence to religious dogma often results in the persecution of “non-believers”. Millions of people have died as a direct result of religion. The Inquisition and Crusades, and more currently, Islamophobia are fine examples.
In the 1930’s, Germany was a Christian nation of 40 million people, mostly Protestant and Catholic. Jews were a very small percentage of the population. Even today, Hitler and the Nazis are often used as examples of evil, but the fact that the majority of them were practicing Christians is seldom mentioned. Nor is the fact that there was enough anti-Semitism found in the Bible to justify what was to become the Holocaust. Once again, here is an excellent example of the power of Mass Delusion.
The German people had been broken and humiliated after WWI. They had become virtual slaves to the international bankers that fund the wars through the debt they were saddled with by the Treaty of Versailles.
The use of symbols, rituals and choreographed events whipped the general population into a frenzy. Mass rallies were held throughout the country and the powerful combination of unbridled pride, patriotism and a sense of superiority resulted in the slaughter of millions of people. But why cling to the Nazis as the epitome of evil. The VietNam War was more senseless than most. Nearly 60,000 young Americans and millions (no one was really keeping count) of Vietnamese were killed. Tens of thousands of young soldiers, many of whom were drafted against their will, returned home with physical and emotional injuries that permanently changed their lives for the worse. To top it all off, there was no victory and it’s glorious celebration at the end. No doubt the end caused much concern by the corporations and shareholders who profit from war, but the same corporations also control the mass media, the driving force behind Mass Delusion.
In a stroke of genius, the War on Terror was created in one masterfully planned and executed event on September 11, 2001. This on-going “war” appears to be endless and incredibly profitable. Nations with valuable resources are simply tagged as “terrorists” and the killing and looting begin. But these wars are not like wars of old like WWII. There will be no victory celebrations and many of the participants will suffer severe cases of PTSD after realizing their sacrifices had no meaning. These new wars are also far more profitable as they involve both the destruction and subsequent “re-building” of infrastructure, often by the same corporations.
9/11 is perhaps one of the best examples of Mass Delusion in modern times. The evidence that it did not happen as officially reported is overwhelming for those who seek the truth. These truth seekers have been labelled as conspiracy lunatics by those who find the truth too disturbing to explore. But there are groups of credible and credentialed people including, architects, engineers, and government/military officials who do not believe the “official story”. The death toll from 9/11 is not just the 3,000 people killed that day. It’s in the millions now, and counting, because it was the sole justification for the on-going War on Terror. There have been a number of excellent documentaries about 9/11 available for viewing.
How can so many people cling to beliefs that are obviously not true? It’s called Cognitive Dissonance and it’s been around for as long as people have chosen to believe rather than know. It is prevalent in those who find comfort in going along with the mainstream, rather than using their own intellect to search for the truth. Very few people want their core beliefs challenged. We seek comfort and acceptance and can easily find it in a variety of groups who all claim they have the answers we seek.
Although WWI began based on lies and misinformation like most, if not all, wars, it is nearly ancient history now. But 9/11 is a contemporary event. Thanks to Cognitive Dissonance, the bulk of North Americans have chosen not to scrutinize the explanation we were given… you know, the one about the swarthy Muslim hijackers armed with box cutters. And who could forget watching the first steel framed buildings to ever collapse due to fire and airplane collision? Not just once or twice, but three times on the same day! We watched it over and over and over again. We also heard “terrorists”, “al Qaeda” and Bin Laden while mesmerized by the videos. Very powerful. Very effective.
The results of people blindly believing without question often has horrific consequences down the road. Not just for humanity in the case of useless wars, but personally if the light of truth means we’ve spent the bulk of our lives guided by untruths. We’d be far better off seeking the truth rather than accepting beliefs based on faith.