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Why a Light While You Sleep Can Be Bad for Your Health

Why a Light While You Sleep Can Be Bad for Your Health

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Researchers from Northwestern University found even a moderate amount of light exposure while sleeping has a negative effect on your heart health and metabolism, increasing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
  • Light controls your internal clock known as your circadian rhythm, which is influenced by melatonin production in the pineal gland. Light exposure at night inhibits melatonin, which plays a role in many health functions
  • Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant with anticonvulsant, antiviral, antibacterial and antiexcitotoxic properties. It has the rare ability to enter the mitochondria and prevent impairment; melatonin has been used in the treatment of sepsis, and as an adjunct treatment for COVID
  • Consider making changes to your routine that lower your nighttime light exposure, such as not turning on the lights if you get up at night, using a dim light near the floor if you need light to navigate at night, avoiding white or blue light in the evening and using blackout shades or an eye mask

 

Researchers from Northwestern University released data from a study that showed even moderate amounts of light exposure at night could have a negative impact on your health.1 In a press release, researchers report that up to 40% of individuals sleep with a light on, which could be a bedside lamp or the television.

However, this estimation does not appear to include the ambient light that comes through your window from streetlamps and other outdoor lighting. This means that many more may be affected by the results of this study.

Exposure to light at night is a relatively recent phenomenon after the invention of electric lighting. Until then, people commonly went to bed at sunset and got up when the sun rose. Scientists have been studying the alterations in your sleep patterns as a result of present-day night lighting that can have a significant impact on your health.

For many years it was widely accepted that sleep was a mystery and potentially little more than a waste of time.2 Modern research has shed more light on the matter and demonstrated that sleep is a crucial component to your healthy lifestyle.3

A negative impact on sleep quality or quantity can have far-reaching consequences, affecting a wide variety of systems from your mood, creativity and brain detoxification4,5,6 to DNA expression and dementia.7,8 Sleep deprivation slows your reaction time and increases your risk for accidents.9 Getting less than six hours of sleep leaves you cognitively impaired.

Even a single night of sleeping only four to six hours can impact your ability to think clearly the next day. In 2021, the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that drowsy driving causes 100,000 car crashes each year and kills 1,500 people.10

As noted by the featured study, sleeping in a room with even a small amount of light can negatively impact your metabolism and overall health.11 If you combine nighttime light exposure with an inadequate amount of sleep, you’ll be exhausted as your body struggles to maintain homeostasis.

Fortunately there is an easy and inexpensive solution. For the lights you keep on after sunset you can replace them with red light bulbs as red light does not suppress melatonin. Ideally the bulbs should not have any flicker. I found some on Amazon that are relatively inexpensive and these are the only bulbs I use in my home after sunset.

Data Show Sleeping With a Light Damages Health

Researchers found that just one night of sleeping with light in your room can launch a domino effect, affecting your level of melatonin, insulin resistance, heart rate and heart rate variability.12 The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).13

The team studied 20 healthy people in their 20s and tracked the impact light had on their biological clock, melatonin levels and metabolism. The participants spent two nights in a sleep lab. During the first night, each one slept in a darkened room. On the second night, some slept in a room with a dim overhead light, which simulated streetlights coming through a window or a dark cloudy day.14

Data, including brain waves, heart rate, EKGs and melatonin levels, were collected throughout the night from each of the participants with as little interference as possible. The researchers used long IV tubes to collect blood samples, so the participants were not awakened.

Study researcher Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told CNN:15

“We recorded the brainwaves and could tell what sleep stage the person was in. We recorded their breathing, their heart rate, their EKG, and we also drew blood from them to measure melatonin levels while they were sleeping.”

Results of the study showed that the participants’ heart rate rose higher than expected during the night when they were exposed to light. Another researcher, Dr. Daniela Grimaldi, commented in a press release:16

“Even though you are asleep, your autonomic nervous system is activated. That’s bad. Usually, your heart rate together with other cardiovascular parameters is lower at night and higher during the day.”

Similarly, the data showed that the participants who slept in a lit room had higher insulin resistance the morning after as the body secreted a higher amount of insulin to normalize glucose.17 Past research had shown that people who slept exposed to light at night were more overweight and obese. The current study may help explain how exposure to light impacts your ability to regulate glucose.

Despite the consistent concrete objective data, the participants subjectively were unaware of the changes. The researchers tested sleeping in moderate light and dim light over a single night. They discovered that moderate exposure increased the alert state, in which the participants experienced increased heart rate and force of contractions.

“These findings are important, particularly for those living in modern societies where exposure to indoor and outdoor nighttime light is increasingly widespread,” Zee said. “If you’re able to see things really well, it’s probably too light.”18

Light Controls Your Circadian Pacemaker

Your body runs on an internal clock known as your circadian rhythm. When this clock is messed up, your cells are exposed to an unusual amount of stress. Many of the health conditions attributed to the biannual time change are because these internal clocks are not easily reprogrammed and are synchronized to a 24-hour cycle of light and dark.19

Researchers have demonstrated that when you are exposed to light at night, a time when your body expects it to be dark, physiological changes happen. Another system responsible for regulating your internal clock is located in the hypothalamus. It is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and it functions through hormones and chemical signals that regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

This influences the regulation of other physiological activities, which include your core body temperature, neuroendocrine function, memory and psychomotor activity.20 Based on signals of light and darkness, your SCN tells your pineal gland when it’s time to secrete melatonin — promoting sleep — and when to turn it off.

Nighttime light exposure inhibits the secretion of melatonin, which can cause circadian disruptions that play a role in developing cancer.21 In fact, it’s been shown that higher exposure to outdoor light at night may increase the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer,22 and emerging evidence suggests light at night may also increase the risk of thyroid cancer.23

To maintain a healthy master circadian clock, it’s important to get bright light exposure during the day.24 Yet, many indoor environments simply don’t have enough intense light to anchor your circadian rhythm, so it’s important to get outside for at least 30 minutes in the morning or mid-day.

In other words, just going outside for half an hour at lunch could give you most of the anchoring light you need to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. On the other side of the day, you need to avoid bright artificial lighting after sunset.25 This can lower melatonin production and affects sleep quality. Using room light during your usual hours of sleep will suppress melatonin by more than 50%.

Importance of Melatonin

Melatonin is best known as a natural sleep regulator that functions alongside your circadian clock. Yet, melatonin also has many other important functions in the body.26 Notably, it plays an important role in cancer prevention27 and may help prevent autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.28

Melatonin is versatile and a powerful antioxidant that helps increase glutathione,29,30 which plays a significant role in detoxification. It also has anticonvulsant and antiexcitotoxic properties,31 and is a potent antioxidant32,33 with the rare ability to enter your mitochondria,34 where it helps prevent mitochondrial impairment, energy failure and the death of mitochondria damaged by oxidation.35

It’s shown to play a role in viral and bacterial infections36 and as recently as June 2020, researchers suggested it could be an important adjunct to COVID-19 treatment.37 In late 2021,38 a commentary discussed an October 2021 study39 that found melatonin significantly lowered mortality from COVID-19 when given to severely infected patients.

But this wasn’t the first time that melatonin has been highlighted for the ability to prevent and treat sepsis. A 2010 paper40 noted that it helps prevent and reverse septic shock symptoms and a 2014 study41 showed that melatonin accumulates in the mitochondria and has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity that could be useful in the treatment of sepsis. It later became part of critical care physician Dr. Paul Marik’s protocol for the treatment of sepsis.42

Vitamin D is also involved in the pathways that produce melatonin in the pineal gland.43,44 An evaluation of clinical trials and correlation studies have shown that “Vitamin D has both a direct and indirect role in the regulation of sleep.”45

Tips to Reduce Light at Night

Researchers have also addressed the issue of light at night as it affected outcomes from COVID-19. They found that people who were exposed to ambient light at night had an increased risk of infection, including COVID. They found a strong connection in New York and Connecticut in cities with the highest intensity of light at night. Lead scientist Yong Zhu, Ph.D., from Yale School of Public Health, commented in a press release:46

“These findings suggest that repeated and prolonged exposure to artificial nighttime light could play a role in COVID-19 incidence. We are just beginning to understand the role of circadian rhythms on health, and this is further evidence that a connection exists.”

The current study is one in a long list that has demonstrated the negative effects of sleeping even in a dimly lit room.47,48,49,50,51,52 Consider making these changes to lower your nighttime light exposure:53

Do not turn on the lights if you get up at night
Older adults who need light at night to navigate to the bathroom can consider using a dim light that is located close to the floor
Avoid using blue or white light at night, and use amber or red/orange light instead, as it’s less stimulating to your brain
Use a nighttime setting on your electrical devices after sunset as this blocks blue light, which shuts off your melatonin production
If you need an alarm clock, consider covering the clock with blackout material to block the light or set it outside your bedroom so you must get up to shut it off
Avoid watching television before bed as the light delays production of melatonin and affects sleep quality
Consider blackout shades or an eye mask when you can’t control outdoor light shining in your bedroom

 

Sources and References

 

Black Seed Oil Evaluated for Chronic Inflammation

Black Seed Oil Evaluated for Chronic Inflammation

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola
Can Your Bedtime Determine Your Heart Health?

Can Your Bedtime Determine Your Heart Health?

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Research data found people who go to bed from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. and fall asleep before 11 have a much lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who go to bed earlier or later
  • Lack of sleep is associated with cardiac morbidity and mortality and fragmented sleep is linked to atherosclerosis and inflammation
  • Sleep deprivation is linked to a significant number of other health problems including obesity, mental health conditions, dementia, impaired immune function, increased risk of cancer and increased risk of pain-related conditions

There’s a growing body of evidence that shows a lack of sleep increases your cardiovascular risk. A study published in the European Heart Journal Digital Health1 found it’s not just the amount of sleep you get, but also the time you go to bed that makes a difference in your health.2

In the short-term, sleep deprivation can affect your judgment, ability to learn and mood, and increase your risk of an accident or injury.3 How much sleep you need is dependent on your age.4 Adults ages 18 and older benefit from seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention5 revealed that 1 in 3 adults doesn’t get enough sleep. In reviewing the data, they found that sleep duration varied between states with a lower portion of adults who lived in states in the southeastern region of the U.S. and the Appalachian Mountains getting seven hours of sleep.

The reasons people don’t get enough sleep vary.6 According to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders there are approximately 90 distinct sleep conditions. Many have symptoms of daytime sleepiness, difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep, or abnormal sensations or movements that happen during sleep.

The importance of good sleep is a cornerstone of well-being that is recognized by almost all health professionals. The current study adds to the information of how integral sleep is to good health.

 

Going to Sleep at 10 P.M. May Help Protect Your Heart

 

 

One of the scientists in the featured study7 explained that the impact bedtime has on your health may be related to the body’s 24-hour internal clock. He noted that although the data could not be linked to causation, it did suggest that the time you go to bed may disrupt your circadian rhythm and cause adverse consequences on your heart health.

Past research has looked at and found a link between sleep duration and heart disease. However, the relationship between what time an individual goes to bed and cardiovascular disease has not been the subject of much study.8

Data were collected from 103,712 U.K. participants over seven days9 from an accelerometer. The researchers then excluded over 15,000 people from the study as the data supplied was either low quality or incomplete. They also excluded participants who had been diagnosed with heart disease, sleep apnea or insomnia before or during data collection.

In the end, the researchers used a sample of 88,026 people. The average age of the individuals was 61 years and 58% of the participants were women. The participants were followed over the next 5.7 years, during which the researchers measured sleep times as they were reported before 10 p.m., between 10 p.m. and 10:59 p.m., 11 p.m. to 12 p.m. or at midnight or later.

The researchers controlled for age and gender while analyzing the data and found that those who went to sleep between 10 p.m. and 10:59 p.m. had the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease. The results showed those who went to sleep at midnight or later experienced a 25% higher risk of heart disease when compared to those who went to bed between 10 p.m. and 10:59 p.m.

Interestingly, the risk for those who fell asleep before 10 p.m. was similar at 24%. Those who went to bed consistently between 11 p.m. and midnight had a 12% greater risk for heart disease. After further analysis of the association with gender, the researchers found there was a stronger risk in women than in men. One of the researchers, David Plans, Ph.D., commented in a press release:

“Our study indicates that the optimum time to go to sleep is at a specific point in the body’s 24-hour cycle and deviations may be detrimental to health. The riskiest time was after midnight, potentially because it may reduce the likelihood of seeing morning light, which resets the body clock.

While the findings do not show causality, sleep timing has emerged as a potential cardiac risk factor — independent of other risk factors and sleep characteristics. If our findings are confirmed in other studies, sleep timing and basic sleep hygiene could be a low-cost public health target for lowering risk of heart disease.”

 

Lack of Sleep Is Associated With Cardiac Morbidity

 

According to the World Health Organization, ischemic heart disease and stroke were the top two global causes of death in 2019.10 Although there have been dramatic declines in CVDs, conditions in this category continue to remain major causes of loss of health and life.11

The pervasive nature of sleep deprivation contributes to the rising incidence of heart disease and may have an underlying association with an increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.12,13

One systematic review of the literature published in the Journal of the American Heart Association14 included 74 studies with 3,340,684 participants. The data showed that when there was a divergence from the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep there was a higher risk of mortality and other cardiovascular events. The researchers believe that more sleep may have a higher association with adverse outcomes compared to shorter sleep duration.

A 2019 paper15 published in Circulation discussed the risks of cardiovascular events or death in people who sleep too little or too much. The writer notes that sleeping too little has long been associated with high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

Another study16 evaluated the risks associated with too much or too little sleep in people with known coronary artery disease. They enrolled 2,846 patients who were followed for a median of 2.8 years. The researchers found sleeping both too long and too short were independently associated with higher mortality from heart disease.

 

Fragmented Sleep Linked to Atherosclerosis and Inflammation

 

In addition to the time of night you go to sleep and the number of hours you sleep, quality of sleep is also important for your cardiovascular health.

Fragmented sleep is associated with atherosclerosis,17 a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries often called “clogged” or “hardened” arteries that can result in fatal heart disease.18 Cardiovascular disease kills 12,000 Americans a week,19 which is far more than the average reported COVID-19 toll of 8,279 people each week in 2021 as reported by the CDC.20

In June 2020, U.C. Berkeley sleep scientists published an article in PLOS Biology that began to clarify some of the mechanisms through which fragmented sleep can cause atherosclerosis.21

Fragmented sleep is characterized by waking up during the night, having difficulty going back to sleep and a sense of not being rested when you wake in the morning. Several causes of fragmented sleep can range from stress and anxiety to excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption. It is also associated with an assortment of illnesses.22

Sleep specialists from UC Berkeley studied more than 1,600 participants.23 They were able to separate the effect of fragmented sleep on atherosclerosis from other common contributors such as sex, ethnicity, body mass index, age, smoking status, blood pressure and other lifestyle factors.

Senior study scientist Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience, commented on the results:24

“We’ve discovered that fragmented sleep is associated with a unique pathway — chronic circulating inflammation throughout the bloodstream — which, in turn, is linked to higher amounts of plaques in coronary arteries.”

According to Walker, “This link between fragmented sleep and chronic inflammation may not be limited to heart disease, but could include mental health and neurological disorders, such as major depression and Alzheimer’s disease.”25

Sleep Deprivation Affects More Than Your Heart

 

Insufficient sleep is linked to other significant health problems, including:

Increased risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes — A scientific review article26 published in 2017 noted “difficulty initiating sleep increased the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 55%, while difficulty maintaining sleep increased its risk” by a whopping 74%.
Increased risk of neurological problems — These may range from depression27 to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.28 Your blood-brain barrier becomes more permeable with age, allowing more toxins to enter.29 This, in conjunction with reduced efficiency of the glymphatic system due to lack of sleep,30 allows for more rapid damage to occur in your brain and is thought to play a significant role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
Decreased immune function — Research31 suggests deep sleep strengthens immunological memories of previously encountered pathogens. In this way, your immune system can mount a faster and more effective response when an antigen is encountered a second time.

Increased risk of cancer — Tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions.32 The primary mechanism thought to be responsible for this effect is disrupted melatonin production, a hormone with both antioxidant and anticancer activity.33

Melatonin both inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells and triggers cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction). It also interferes with the new blood supply tumors require for their rapid growth (angiogenesis).

Increased risk of osteoporosis — Women sleeping five hours or less each night had significantly lower bone mineral density measurements.34
Increased risk of pain and pain-related conditions — Total sleep deprivation increased pain sensitivity and lowered pain threshold in healthy adults.35 Chronic sleep deprivation and fatigue are strong predictors for the onset of chronic widespread pain in a population that was free from pain at the onset of the study.36
Increased susceptibility to stomach ulcers — Sleep disturbances raise the level of proinflammatory cytokines, which is associated with gastrointestinal diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.37
Impaired sexual function — Hormonal changes linked to sleep deprivation affects testosterone levels and sexual function in men and women.38
Premature aging — One study found statistically significant differences in the quality of skin as measured by the SCINEXA skin aging scoring system and the participant’s assessment of their own skin.39
Increased risk of dying from any cause — Compared to people without insomnia, the adjusted hazard ratio for all-cause mortality among those with chronic insomnia was three times higher.40
Impaired regulation of emotions — There is a bidirectional relationship between emotion and sleep. Quality sleep is essential to cope with emotional stress, and stress can result in sleep disturbances.41 Healthy sleep helps repair brain activity and integrity of the prefrontal cortex and amygdala connections, which are important in emotion regulation.
Increased risk of mental health conditions — Chronic sleep problems affect up to 80% of people with mental health conditions, especially those with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).42
Impaired memory and reduced ability to learn — Memory consolidation occurs during sleep. Data suggest that insufficient or excessive sleep can affect this process and affect other cognitive processes.43
Reduced productivity, performance and creativity.44
Slowed reaction time — Getting less than six hours of sleep leaves you cognitively impaired and increases your risk of accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017 there were an estimated 91,000 police-reported crashes, 50,000 people injured and 800 deaths from drowsy driving-related crashes.45

Gut bacteria — One study46 recruited participants to measure the effect sleep deprivation may have on gut bacteria. They found a positive correlation between gut microbiome diversity and a cytokine known to affect sleep quality. Additionally, they found several bacteria in the gut were negatively correlated with sleep and concluded “Our findings initiate linkages between gut microbiome composition, sleep physiology, the immune system and cognition.”

 

Continue Reading / Mercola >>>

 

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

How could I have lived “so long” and not been exposed to this beautiful poem? I’ve obviously been living under a rock – or maybe not.

 

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Understanding the Psychology Behind the COVID Pandemic

Understanding the Psychology Behind the COVID Pandemic

 

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • A psychological condition of society known as “mass formation psychosis” is a condition for totalitarianism. Under mass formation psychosis, a population enters a hypnotic-type trance that makes them willing to sacrifice anything, including their lives and their freedom. That’s what’s happening right now
  • There are four key conditions that must be in place for mass formation psychosis to occur: Lack of societal bonding, experiencing life as meaningless and senseless, widespread free-floating anxiety/free-floating discontent, and free-floating frustration/aggression
  • Once these four conditions are widespread, mass formation can occur, which allows for totalitarianism to rise and thrive
  • A key strategy to break mass formation and prevent totalitarianism is to speak out against it. We also need to give those hypnotized a greater fear to replace the fear of the virus with, namely the fear of totalitarianism and the loss of their and their children’s lives, livelihoods and freedoms that go along with it
  • Dissenters need to join together, thereby giving fence-sitters who are not yet fully hypnotized an alternative to going along with the totalitarians

In the video above, Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of the mRNA and DNA vaccine core platform technology,1 reviews a theory professor Mattias Desmet, a Belgian psychologist and statistician, believes explains the absurd and irrational behavior we’re now seeing worldwide with regard to the COVID pandemic and its countermeasures.

He calls this phenomenon “mass formation psychosis,” a type of crowd hypnosis that results in literally converting a large segment of the population into psychosis. Mass formation psychosis is the explanation for how the Germans accepted the atrocities by the Nazi party in the 1930s, and it’s the explanation for why so many around the world support medical apartheid and the destruction of the unvaccinated now.

It’s so irrational and inhumane, many have wondered how we got here. As it turns out, the psychology of totalitarianism has been studied for decades, and the whole thing is in fact explainable as a psychiatric phenomenon that arises when certain conditions exist in a society.

The Four Base Conditions for ‘Mass Formation’

The four central conditions that need to exist in order for mass formation psychosis to take root are:

Lack of social bonding — Social isolation was a widespread problem long before the pandemic. In one survey, 25% of respondents said they didn’t have a single close friend. The COVID lockdowns also contributed and worsened already existing isolation. We were all told that any contact with others, including members of our own family, could be a death sentence.

Seeing life as meaningless, purposelessness and senseless, and/or being faced with persistent circumstances that don’t make rational sense — Desmet cites research showing that half of all adults feel their jobs are completely meaningless, providing no value to either themselves or others.

In another poll, done in 2012, 63% of respondents said they were “sleepwalking” through their workdays, putting no passion into their work whatsoever. So, condition No. 2 for mass formation hypnosis was also fulfilled, even before the pandemic hit.

Events that occurred in late 2019 and early 2020, such as the many questions surrounding the presidential election and the initial COVID lockdowns, added fuel to the widespread confusion and uncertainty, resulting in the next condition: free-floating anxiety.

Widespread free-floating anxiety and free-floating discontent — Free-floating anxiety refers to anxiety that has no apparent or distinct cause. Judging by the popularity of antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs, condition No. 3 was also fulfilled long before the pandemic, but additional fuel was piled on just before the pandemic.

Many felt, and still feel, that “things just aren’t right.” Through 2020, it became increasingly apparent to many that most if not all of the systems we depend on are broken, and likely broken beyond repair, including our medical system, our voting system and our judicial system.

Widespread free-floating frustration and aggression — This tends to naturally follow the previous three. Here, again, the frustration and aggression have no discernible cause.

How Mass Formation Allows Totalitarianism to Rise

When these four conditions are fulfilled by a large enough portion of society, they are ripe for the picking to convert to a psychosis, being totally out of touch with reality, which in turn leads to the rise of totalitarianism. As explained by Malone, when the pandemic broke out, people around the world became obsessed with one thing: the virus.

People everywhere thought about, read about and talked about the virus almost exclusively to everything else. This singular focus, this obsession, having the base conditions for mass formation already firmly in place, allowed for large portions of the population to enter into a hypnotic-like state.

In that hypnotic-like state (it’s very similar to conventional hypnotism but with minor differences), people lose their ability to have rational thought and judgment.

As noted by Malone, there is evidence that suggests at least parts of this psychological operation were done intentionally, by “some entity that has financial benefit or power to gain from doing this, which gets to the point of global totalitarianism.” Now, once a large portion of a society is hyper-focused on and fused in their joint discontent and anxiety, all a leader or leaders need to do to convince many that totalitarian control and loss of their freedom is best for them is to:

a) Present a story in which the cause of the anxiety is identified, and then

b) Offer a strategy for neutralizing that cause

Social Bonding Is Key

By accepting and participating in whatever that strategy is, people with free-floating anxiety feel equipped with the means to control their anxiety and avoid panic. They also feel a strong bond with others, because they’ve all identified the same nemesis. As explained by Desmet in the Peak Prosperity interview below:

“Because many people participate in the same strategy to deal with the object of anxiety, a new kind of social bond emerges a new kind of solidarity. So, people feel connected again in a new way. And that’s actually the most crucial thing.

If you look at the corona crisis and listen to the mainstream narrative, you will hear that everything is about solidarity. You have to participate, you have to accept the vaccine. You have to respect social distancing, because if you don’t, you lack citizenship, you show no solidarity. That’s the most crucial thing, always, in mass formation.

That’s the real reason why people buy into the story, even if it is utterly absurd. It’s not because they believe in the narrative. It is because the narrative leads to a new social bond. That’s the real reason.

There’s [also another] advantage. All the frustration and aggression can be directed at an object. And that object is the people who, for one reason or another, do not want to participate in the mass formation …

So, you have this very strange situation where people start from a very negative and divisive mental state; [they have a] lack of social bond, lack of meaning-making, free floating anxiety and a lot of frustration and aggression.

They switch from this very highly aversive mental state to a symptomatic positive state where they feel connected. Their life makes sense again through this heroic struggle with the object of anxiety … That’s why people continue to believe in the narrative, even if it is utterly absurd.”

Mass Formation Psychosis Is a Self-Destructive Condition

The crazy thing is that the story can be an obvious lie, yet those under this hypnotic spell will believe it. The remedy can be utterly absurd, yet they’ll obey. This is how totalitarianism is allowed to rise.

Of course, there must always be a common enemy that must be obliterated — the “cause” for the peoples’ fear and anxiety — and under totalitarian rule, that enemy is anyone who is not spellbound. The dissenters are the enemy. In 2021, the unmasked and unvaccinated are the enemy.

“Mass formation psychosis is a very dangerous condition, both for those under its spell and those who aren’t, because the ‘mental intoxication’ that results makes people willing to do things that are clearly wrong and utterly immoral, up to and including voluntarily killing their own families and themselves, if told it’s for the greater good.
If everyone would just get the experimental jab, COVID would vanish and everyone could go back to feeling safe again. That’s the narrative. It makes no sense, it’s irrational, inhumane and unscientific, but those who are in mass formation psychosis believe it’s just that simple, and that’s why some are able to wish death on the unmasked and/or unvaccinated.”

So, as noted by Malone, “If it seems to you that the rest of the world has gone mad, the truth is, they have.” A problem far greater than any virus now is mass formation itself.

It’s a very dangerous condition, both for those under its spell and those who aren’t, because the “mental intoxication” that results makes people willing to do things that are clearly wrong and utterly immoral, up to and including voluntarily killing their own families and themselves, if told it’s for the greater good. In short, masses of people become profoundly gullible and self-destructive, which is a frightening combination.

As noted by Desmet, in a dictatorship, people comply because they fear the dictator. In a totalitarian regime, however, mass formation psychosis is at work, and this gives the regime extreme power over the individual, as the people, when in this hypnotic trance, voluntarily destroy their own families, their lives and themselves, along with the stated enemy.

Is Totalitarianism Unavoidable?

Malone says that in his conversations with Desmet, Desmet has said he believes the mass formation psychosis is so widespread at this point that global totalitarianism may be unavoidable. He believes it’ll take over, as we’re seeing in a number of countries already. So, what, if anything, can we do? A summary of suggestions are as follows:

  • Continue providing true and accurate information to counter the false narrative. Some who aren’t yet fully hypnotized may still be routed back to sanity. Speaking out can also help to limit the atrocities the totalitarian regime is emboldened to implement, because in totalitarianism, atrocities and crimes against humanity increase as dissent decreases.
  • Substitute fear of the virus narratives with narratives that highlight an even greater fear — fear of totalitarianism. “Totalitarianism is a bigger boogeyman than the virus is,” Malone says. “Losing control to Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum, BlackRock and Vanguard is a bigger threat than SARS-CoV-2 is for you and your children, by far.”
    Desmet has tested this theory, and found you CAN break the hypnotic focus on COVID if you’re able to refocus their attention on something that’s of even greater concern to them.
  • Join with other dissenters into larger groups. This gives the larger majority who aren’t fully hypnotized but too fearful to go against the grain an alternative to going along with the totalitarians.
  • Build parallel structures within your local communities. Think globally, act locally. Start developing parallel structures to heal the four underlying conditions that allowed mass formation to occur in the first place.

A parallel structure is any kind of business, organization, technology, movement or creative pursuit that fits within a totalitarian society while being morally outside of it. Once enough parallel structures are created, a parallel culture is born that functions as a sanctuary of sanity within the totalitarian world.

 

The Gravity of Our Situation

To hear from Desmet himself, listen to his hour-long interview with Dr. Chris Martenson. As noted by Desmet, since self-destructiveness is built into the totalitarian system from the ground up, totalitarian regimes cannot be sustained forever. They fall apart as they’re destroyed from within. That’s the good news.

The bad news is it can be hell while it lasts, as totalitarianism built on mass formation almost always leads to heinous atrocities being committed in the name of doing good. There are usually few survivors at the end.

That said, Desmet believes this new global totalitarianism is more unstable than regional dictator-led totalitarian systems, so it may self-destruct faster. He has just finished writing a book, “The Psychology of Totalitarianism,” which is expected to be published in January 2022.

 

– Sources and References
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