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What Are the Reasons Underlying the Psychology of the Human Being Blindly Attached to Its Leader?
19/01/2022
What Are the Reasons Underlying the Psychology of the Human Being Blindly Attached to Its Leader?

Social psychologists commented on the psychological state of people who blindly believe in leaders in their book "When the Prophecy Comes Wrong" published in 1956. All over the world for years, people who are blindly attached to the names seen as leaders have a blind faith in even the obvious lies of the leader. So, what are the reasons behind this situation?

Social psychologist Leon Festinger and two colleagues sought an answer to this question in their published book.

But why do people who are blindly attached to a leader easily believe even his obvious lies?

Social psychologist Leon Festinger and two colleagues answered this question with a theory in their 1956 book "When the Prophecy Comes Wrong": The Cognitive Dissonance Theory.

A woman named Dorothy Martin, living in the USA, prophesied that at the dawn of December 21, 1954, aliens would bring the end of the world, and that those who believed in her would escape this flood, thanks to a UFO that would come from the planet Clarion on the night of December 20 and take them into space.

His cult, called the "Sekers", soon became known. His followers immediately placed advertisements in newspapers and on the radio and tried to warn people. Those who believed in the prophecy quit their jobs and sold all their assets. He even left wives who did not share his beliefs. The followers completely believed everything the leader said, no matter how absurd.

That day, close to 50 people gathered and it was midnight. However, neither the apocalypse broke nor the aliens made a sound. So what happened when the prophecy didn't come true? Nothing.

When nothing happened, small grunts began. Meanwhile, Dorothy Martin locked herself in the kitchen, but when she came back into the living room a little later, she was smiling.

"I've spoken to the Clarionians again," he told the disgruntled group, "they've given Earth and us another chance, and now we must go out and work harder, convince and save more people of the inevitability of extinction, recruit them into our ranks." she said. This explanation was quite comfortable for those waiting in the hall because now they had something new to believe in.

The disciples, who had abandoned their jobs, wives, and properties, clung to their beliefs even more tightly, let alone rebelling. After all, their cult had saved the world.

Their current mission was to warn humanity and prevent the same disaster from happening again. The fact that the prophecy could not be proven to be true did not damage the faith of those who believed in it. On the contrary, he further consolidated their beliefs and prompted the group to seek new members.

What Dorothy Martin and her supporters didn't know was the existence of the three doctoral students who had infiltrated them that night. Three social psychologists, Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken and Stanley Schachter, had learned of the existence of the group from a newspaper article and decided to investigate this issue. These three people pretended to be disciples and infiltrated the sect.

The researchers, who wrote their observations in their book "When the Prophecy Fails", tried to explain this situation with the Cognitive Dissonance Theory.

According to this theory; People act in a mental balance. A mismatch between one's understandings leads to mental stress and restlessness.

According to the researchers, the person will try to relieve this discomfort, similarly, he will avoid situations or information that will increase this stress.

The magnitude of the stress caused by conflicting insights will also vary according to the importance and rate of these insights. Studies reveal that cognitive dissonance arises especially when a person's self-belief (such as self-esteem, thinking he is intelligent) and his actions are inconsistent, and that people generally resolve this conflict by preserving their self-belief.

In the Seekers cult, the disciples' anticipation of the UFO and the flood was based on faith, not evidence.

It was also a sign of faith that they did not consider the failure of the prophecy to be in conflict with their own beliefs.

So the faith of the followers was not based on evidence but on their dedication to Dorothy; they resolved their cognitive conflicts by reinforcing their belief in him, not by thinking that they made a mistake by attaching to him.

Particularly when it comes to blindly held beliefs, judgments, or charismatic leaders, commitment is so dominant that when reality conflicts with it, it is easier to distort reality, no matter how absurd, to reduce psychological tension and conflict.

Totalitarian-populist politics, which spread like an epidemic in the world and is much more dangerous than Covid, and the conspiracy theories that feed it are a good example of this situation.

The more bitter the facts and the sharper the contradiction, the more the loyalty of the masses falling in love with the totalitarian populist leader increases.

In April 1945, as the Red Army took control of the outskirts of Berlin, Hitler presented the boy soldiers fighting the Soviet army with medals for their achievements and bravery, and commended his generals. Gave the order to attack. There were still masses of people who believed in him.

The last living example that we all witness to people who are blindly attached to the leader is the congress raid after Trump lost the election in the USA, and showed how effective this phenomenon can be even in places where democracy and freedoms are institutionalized.

After that, the duty of scientists and conscious people; “At least, it is important to give importance to the rationalization of young people and to internalize universal values, and to organize some insight-raising and awareness-raising activities and trainings on this subject.

If any of your relatives or friends are so blindly attached to a leader or manager who is involved in disgraceful crimes such as lying, fraud, corruption, theft, and bribery that they will sacrifice all their loved ones, sacrifice their children, and spend all their savings on him, get him professional help. . Even if they do not accept professional help, their relatives can attend the sessions to learn and apply other methods.


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