• By The Financial District

America Going Through Jungian 'Mass Delusion', Psychologists Warn

Psychologists say that America is going through what Carl Jung warned us would eventually happen -- a mass delusion—and conspiracy theories, the COVID-19 pandemic, and Donald Trump are making it possible, Nicole Karlis wrote for Salon.

Photo Insert: Hurting individuals who may be having financial trouble, losing a job, cannot pay mortgage, or simply cannot put food on the table are supposedly more likely to swallow extreme ideologies and/or conspiracy theories.

In 2020, 34 percent of Republicans and independents who lean to the right surveyed by Pew Research Center agreed that it was "probably" or "definitely true" that powerful people intentionally planned the COVID-19 outbreak.

Eighteen percent of Democrats and left-leaners agreed, too. Given the psychological state of so many Americans, it is worth asking if something is happening — psychologically speaking — that is causing many Americans to live in very different realities.

Psychologists say yes; and, moreover, that what is happening was actually predicted long ago by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. Indeed, Jung once wrote that the demise of society wouldn't be a physical threat, but instead mass delusion — a collective psychosis of sorts.

"Something's definitely happening, and I think COVID amplified it to a painful point, you could say," Katharine Bainbridge, a Jungian analyst, tells Salon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the concept of a "mass psychosis" has been seized upon by conspiracy theorists as a rationale for their conspiracies.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

"Carl Jung noted that 'the wolf inside' man was far more a threat to human existence than external forces," Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and author of "Joy From Fear," told Salon.

"When mental forces become so toxic as to harm our overall well-being on an individual and collective level a 'psychic epidemic' can result." Bainbridge said in order to contextualize what's actually happening in America through a Jungian lens, one must consider the role of a central guiding myth. "Jung said man cannot live without religion — so you make it up," Bainbridge said.

Health & lifestyle: Woman running and exercising over a bridge near the financial district.

"You can't afford to lose a central myth you live by. He would say maybe in this time that we've lost that — we don't have a collective unifying principle." Joe Kelly, a cult intervention specialist, also told Salon that humans are often drawn to extremism when they are suffering.

"If an individual is hurting — financially, on any level, losing a job, having trouble with their mortgage, having trouble feeding themselves — then they're more likely to listen to extremist ideologies and talk about a conspiracy around them that is beyond their control," Kelly said.

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