A set of thoughts on mental illness

Life imitates art imitates life in the Truman show delusion, a mental illness in which the patient believes herself to be a character in a reality TV show.

In the late 1950s, psychologist Milton Rokeach made 3 patients who all believed themselves to be Jesus Christ live together. He wrote a now out-of-print book in 1964, The Three Christs of Ypsilanti.

In fact, very little seems to shift the identities of the self-appointed Messiahs. They debate, argue, at one point come to blows, but show few signs that their beliefs have become any less intense. Only Leon seems to waver, eventually asking to be addressed as “Dr Righteous Idealed Dung” instead of his previous moniker of “Dr Domino dominorum et Rex rexarum, Simplis Christianus Puer Mentalis Doctor, reincarnation of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Rokeach interprets this more as an attempt to avoid conflict than a reflection of any genuine identity change. The Christs explain one another’s claims to divinity in predictably idiosyncratic ways: Clyde, an elderly gentleman, declares that his companions are, in fact, dead, and that it is the “machines” inside them that produce their false claims, while the other two explain the contradiction by noting that their companions are “crazy” or “duped” or that they don’t really mean what they say.

A set of ordinary delusions debunked on this website that tells you You’re Not So Smart. E.g.,

The Misconception: You procrastinate because you are lazy and can’t manage your time well.

The Truth: Procrastination is fueled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking.

 

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