Delusions: Are they real?

Chat about a topic supported by books, TED Talks, podcasts, personal experience, philosophies of mankind mingled with humor (shout out to IOT), and maybe we’ll even do a google hangout or conference call once a month.
Post Reply
User avatar
SaidNobody
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:03 am

Delusions: Are they real?

Post by SaidNobody » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:16 pm

I just put on a pot of coffee. Ask for details if you need to know the flavor.

So....

There is a theory that we hallucinate our existence.
Our body is a complex array of different sensors much like an imaginary Star Trek spaceship might have. Somewhere in there is the captain that we might call the consciousness.

The body consists of a vast array of information and sensors. But how it communicates it to the consciousness is still a mystery to humans.

Put simply, what we see in our head is an interpretation and simulation of what is on the outside. What we see isn't what is there but rather what our brain has simulated based on information that we have received.

We already know that there is an immense amount of information around us at all times that we really have no ability to perceive without advanced machinery. For example, we could get a sunburn from light that we could not see. Likewise we could be blinded by light that we cannot see.

What is actually there is also not so important as how it is perceived. Perhaps there are two different jail cells each with one occupant. One occupant has a hacksaw and the other one doesn't. How the jail cell seems is completely different and will alter the course of their life.

A person that shall not be named has often been called delusional. All right, that person is me. I see many things that other people do not see. I am not speaking of physical objects as much as possibilities and invisible motion such as spirit.

An example might be a drama that broke out in my house last night. My step daughter and her daughter were having an intense emotional episode. My stepdaughter quite visibly losing her mind and her negotiations with the child couldn't see what was actually going on. In a few minutes I had the child calm and rational. I saw pathways to goals that no one else did.

Is that delusion? No one else saw the pathways to bring the child back to calm. Almost anyone that talks to me quickly realizes that I'm not like the other kids.

I'm actually quite functional. I'm a jack of many trades. Most people who know me also know that my knowledge on most subjects doesn't usually go into professional levels.

Does lack of knowledge make a person "delusion." Just because I am not a doctor doesn't mean I don't have functional skills at healing and treating.

What constitutes a delusion?

I know that people get sick, both mentality and physically.

Is there a difference between seeing possibilities that no one else sees and seeing rainbow unicorns?

Can I see myself as something (like handsome) if you don't agree?
Last edited by SaidNobody on Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
alas
Posts: 1736
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:10 pm

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by alas » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:54 pm

Being a psychology major, I had a class in perception where we specifically studied the stuff our senses pick up. Color vision test, and it turn out this 50 year old guy is both red green blind, and blue yellow blind. And he had no idea. That was a shocker. Then we do the hearing test. Everyone raises their hand that they can hear the first tone. He goes up the scale and gradually the hands go down as people can no longer hear that high of frequency. My hand is the only one still up. The professor asks me if I hear dog whistles. Yes, can’t most...... I trail off as I realize that nobody is hearing what I am hearing. The professor raises the frequency, as the class stares at me. After a few more notes up the scale, I say, well, I can’t exactly hear that one, but I can tell when it starts and when it ends. No one knows what I am talking about. How can you know a sound is there and not hear it? So the professor plays with it a bit to make sure that I really can sense when this high pitched sound nobody can hear starts and stops. He is intrigued and asks me to explain what I am experiencing with the note. Well, there is a hint of a whispery sound at the start and end and I feel it, quite frankly, it will give me a migraine if I have to listen to it very long. Then he goes even higher and tells me that dogs can hear this high but no human has been recorded hearing this high and I can’t pick up the sound. Then he starts down the scale. And we all do the same by raising our hands when we hear the note. Pretty soon all the hands are down but mine. He asks me if I hear earth quakes. Yes, there is a loud boom before the house shakes. I hear it soon enough to sit or grab something to hold onto. Now, I KNOW other people hear earthquakes because my husband does too, but I though everyone did, because if my husband and all my kids heard the boom, then everyone should hear it, right. He tells me that cows hear earthquakes, but most people don’t. Then he does volume and I can pick up things quieter than anyone in the room of 60 students. So, anyway, we move onto taste. He gives us strips of paper to taste. Or not taste is much more common. Well, I did this in a high school science class and was the only one to taste two out of three of the chemicals, and I know they are nasty. And once again, I taste two out of three of them. I am beginning to feel like a freak. He tells me that I am what is called a supper sensor, because I hear and taste things most people are blind to.

So, are those things delusions? They are definitely different perceptions of reality. My husband has accused me of being nuts when I complain about the neighbor’s TV when he can’t hear a thing and I am complaining of a high pitched buzz. Or when we were watching this cultural show in Mexico and it was too loud, (for me, the other 3,000 people didn’t seem to be bothered.) and then the grand baby starts screaming in pain and her mom has no idea what is wrong, so I ask to take her and we escape the too loud music out into the cool night air she settles right down. Yes, sweet baby, I know it hurts. Or the grand son who turned one and we were trying to get him to eat the birthday cake. Finally someone dips his hand in the frosting. I winced because I have seen the child go nuts with stuff on his fingers and I know because I am the same way, and the poor baby didn’t stick his fingers in his mouth to lick them off. He just screamed because something was on his hands. Being supper sensitive to the world around you can be a serious problem.

But, no, a delusion is a belief, not a perception. But what do we base our beliefs on if not our perception of reality? My colorblind son once said something and so his sisters jumped his case and asked him what color the peanut butter on there sandwiches was. He said green, then couldn’t understand why his sisters started gagging on their sandwich. His belief was that there was nothing wrong with green sandwich spread, because his perception was there was no difference between the particular shade of brown in the peanut butter, and the color everyone called “green”.

So, you can see how my kid got the delusion his sisters should be fine eating green peanut butter.

Now, someone who must not be named has a delusion that he won the election. Well, his perception was that hundreds of people were showing up to his rallies. And almost nobody was showing up to hear the other guy who also must not be named. He saw how his followers loved him, and well, nobody seemed to love that other guy. In fact, it was kind of a sigh of indifference and a very practical, rational choice, of, “I guess this guy will do.” Yeah, we all saw that. So, how did that other guy win the election? What he who must not be named didn’t see, because nobody would show him, because everyone knew he wouldn’t like it, was how many *more* people really really disliked him. A dead log would be preferable to he who must not be named. (Well, and the other guy is just slightly better than the dead log, and there is some resemblance between him and the dead log) He who must not be named’s perception only included part of reality and he was blind to something other people did see. His perception was that so many people loved him that he just could not lose. So, he has a delusion because his perception was only part of the picture.

User avatar
SaidNobody
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:03 am

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by SaidNobody » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:25 am

Hey!! I was not talking about politics. Let's keep this discussion off of the election.

Perhaps the analogy of the jail cell is inappropriate. To show people that I can still be a sexist pig, imagine that two women are traveling down a dark country road in a car. One is a talented farm girl and one is talented Hollywood star. They get a flat tire and run off the road into a ditch. The Hollywood star sees doom and that they probably will die. The talented farm girl gets out the high lift jack and the shovel and begins building a bridge out of the ditch.

This wasn't a matter of perception of physical objects as much as belief in one's ability to overcome the environment. They both saw the same physical things. But they had completely different visions of the outcome.

Speaking of those who must not be named, he was very well aware of the hatred that came his way. But like another who also must not be named, namely myself, we take great pride in who our enemies and critics are. I am as much defined by those who hate me as those that love me.

While manning a post of an event on November 3rd that will not be named I was interviewed by a local TV station. In the clever moment I coined a phrase, "if he who must not be named loses then Hate wins." Here is another example of how the physical environment and how it is perceived. It's not so much by The five senses but rather by spiritual beliefs.

He who is not named in this discussion has an immense amount of influence often expressed in unexpected ways. In an awkward international Love fest two dangerous world leaders exchanged insults and became seemingly good friends. What others saw as a disaster in motion seemed to be a miracle of peace. Not a difference in how the danger was perceived but how the path to a different future was walked.

One who will be named often on this particular board, Joseph Smith, was a similar character. He claimed outrageous things that most people would consider delusional. Yet he achieved things equivalent to a great French general such as Napoleon Bonaparte. His path was different but he has perhaps created or will create in the future as much influence. Where in Napoleon did in one lifetime things that may still affect us today, Joseph Smith did things in his lifetime that are still growing and expanding as a living organism in the world today.

The body is very mechanical in the sense of its ability to perceive. According to your story I might call you blessed or lucky. But what about the differences of the observer. I enjoyed one Charles Dickens storied where the old guy picked up a stick out of the burned building and explained to the young man that that particular stick could be the steering wheel spoke (helm wheel) of the new ship that carried his fortune. The ability to perceive possibilities and invisible motion, such as a creeping spirit that changes a person or a family or a nation over time, isn't so much about physical senses as it is about consciousness.

Papa Troll, (He who will not be named) is one of my heroes when it comes to seeing possibilities and the motion of events and spirit among the people. My trust for him isn't blind but rooted in a deep understanding of how spirit works. Reverse psychology doesn't work on everyone but very often it is quite effective.

Jesus thought himself, (in theory) The savior of the world. Genghis Khan thought he was also a son of God. Hercules thought he was a son of God.

While there were plenty of people to disagree and to call these ideas delusions, they empowered these particular humans to achieve things so great that they were recorded in history for thousands of years. Were they delusions? Of course they were. Our hospitals and psych wards are full of such people.

But then why do we raise these people up as great heroes? Why do we use their stories as examples of heroicism and righteousness?

He who is still unnamed has an incredible talent and insight to the nature of humanity. He is working neck deep in a swamp of people who want to kill him and his family. One slip and they would cut his throat. Is it a delusion that gives him the power to hold his position? In the primary (party of idiots) debates he defeated more than 17 high-level idiot candidates. He was just an amateur with a bold and powerful delusion.

So to that angle, are delusions real?

Cnsl1
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:27 pm

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by Cnsl1 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:53 am

Interesting discussion. Cool, Alas, that you are a super sensor (I consider myself a supper sensor since my stomach sometimes growls and my mouth waters when it's time for dinner, but really I'm sorry for making fun of your spelling error). My wife and at least two of my daughters have synesthesia, which I didn't believe at first, and until I tested them on it. Pretty interesting phenomenon. I used to be able to hear higher Hz than the average Joe and certainly higher than the average adult, but I suspect that skill is waning due to age. I'm also more sensitive to taste than most, which can aggravate a spouse trying to make you dinner. This is all about perception, like you said. Sensation is what's there, and perception is making sense of it. We don't all equally perceive what's there. Sometimes the reason we don't perceive equally is because our sensors are different. Alas can hear the neighbor's TV and I can't. It's not because the sound waves are not present for me, just that my instrument doesn't pick it up well enough for me to perceive it's there. We might also perceive differently based on our experiences and training. My son can quickly perceive a curve ball coming at him and knows how to get his bat to the location where the ball is going to be at the time it's going to be there, which requires both rapid visual perception and a great deal of training and practice.

Delusion is about perceiving things that are not present. Seeing a path to a peaceful resolution based on experience and wisdom when others cannot readily perceive that path is not delusional. Insisting something occurred when there is no evidence it occurred is delusion. Granted, one could initially claim that Alas is delusional because she says she is hearing things no one else can hear, but there are others who do hear it AND not just say that they can hear it, but we can test it and see they are correct. We can measure things and understand they are really perceiving something most cannot.

What about the things you can't measure? Life after death, for instance. If someone has a near death experience and says they saw Jesus do we call them delusional? Probably not. But, others have claimed similar experiences. If someone says Great Aunt Penelope appeared to them in a dream and told them that the founding fathers were actually aliens and that Donald Trump was actually a robot created by these same aliens in order to save the country but that he's now got a glitch in his giddyup and Penelope says the only way to save the world, and the planet, is to give Donald's right ear a counter clockwise twist, we would tell that person they are delusional.

I understand it can be a fine line. But most of the time of it walks like a delusion and talks like a delusion, and there's no evidence it's not a delusion, and most people cannot also see it.. well, then it's probably a duck.

Consciousness is a similar monkey. The idea that we all hallucinate our existence is a way to describe how perception isn't exactly reality. You might perceive that the tile in shadow is white even though in reality those frequencies from the shadowed tile are gray. Experience shapes perception.

Also, if we hallucinate our existence, it's an hallucination we agree on.

Maybe we should ask are delusions bad? Maybe it's not really even a delusion but we just don't have all the facts yet. Maybe we will don't know. But.., if the delusion is dangerous or dysfunctional maybe we better not wait around too long to see if Aunt Penelope is right.

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 3644
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by moksha » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:19 am

What about shared delusions? Are they due to simultaneous mental illnesses, or people buying into shared lies?
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
SaidNobody
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:03 am

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by SaidNobody » Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:19 am

moksha wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:19 am
What about shared delusions? Are they due to simultaneous mental illnesses, or people buying into shared lies?
This is a good question. One that I have pondered for way too many hours.

As I may have mentioned in my rants, I get into many subjects or fields of thought. But I am not a master or professional of any of those. So I do enjoy reading books by people who are masters or have dedicated years of scientific research on the idea.

Sometimes the expert is a philosopher. Sometimes the expert is a scientist. In this idea of shared delusions it is both.

One guy, that I wish I could remember his name, was a philosopher at Harvard. He talked of the shared world and the private world. He worked a lot with Joseph Campbell's ideas and taught classes using the Hero's Journey.

His depiction of the hero's journey was about personal growth and experiences that the rest of the world may not be going through. The journey was a fairly common journey that many people did go through, but each was unique. When he was done he came to the shared world where the ideas and the dreams that he had were now put to the test. He might have thought of himself as a hero or a king, but could the rest of the world agree with that?

My shared delusion might be, as you and your wisdom have already determined, a religion or common belief. I worked with a person who believed in aliens. She was a very nice person. She could talk to them in her mind and she was incredibly intuitive and insightful. Their spaceship was out behind Jupiter where we could not see it. Anything that happened was somehow linked back to the idea that aliens were trying to give her a message.

Delusions aren't necessarily about things that don't happen, they are most often interpretations of something that does happen. In a group environment, that might be a mild change in the weather. some might think the world is coming to an end, others might think that it is merely a cycle of things that have happened for billions of years. Many times the dispute over the facts isn't the matter of the exact delusion. It's about the interpretation of it.

One such thing might be the fact that the testosterone levels in American men are dropping dramatically. Testosterone is a necessary male hormone to be a man. Even the ability and the desire to procreate is connected to this particular hormone. What does this mean? Many people are genuinely excited by this. To them testosterone is a nuisance that should be wiped out of the culture. Aggressive and horny men are a thing of the past.

To others this is extremely alarming. Without the active levels of testosterone and the spirit that drives it, one of the primary elements of civilization is disappearing. The desire to conquer and to own and to protect and to hunt and to kill, is slipping away. At least away from American men. Men from other countries, considered more primal, still have high levels of this testosterone. They are not less aggressive nor are they any less horny. Entire generations of young men are now willing to sit in front of their computer and watch porn instead of going out taking the risks of getting themselves a girl.

I always look for the functionality in what is happening. I found it hilarious that statistics show the teenage pregnancies are more likely to happen among religious youth than they are around more secular or atheist youth. However, what is less funny, much of our population is connected to teenage pregnancies. Sure people can wait until they are in their 30s to have children, but when they do it is usually one.

Shared delusions are the flavor of life. People can have sex without any kind of inhibition. It can be fun, I'm guessing, as there is a part of every red blooded male that considers it. But investing yourself into the idea of a family or a marriage, which are both delusions as they are not entirely aspects of nature, are where some of the blessings that make life worth living come from. Investing yourself into 20 - 30 years of marriage brings the level of intimacy that you could never find in 20,000 one night stands. The way we invest ourselves into such illusions is based on common beliefs. Someone mentioned an afterlife or a god or some other hidden reward for such efforts.

On the subject of mental illness: consciousness always makes the right choice. However, There are two aspects of human consciousness. One is the ability to perceive or the array of sensors that we talked about earlier and the thread. Your ability to perceive sound and light are things absolutely connected to your brain. But your ability to be aware of them, to know that they happened, is something much more mystical that reaches into the quantum realms of existence.

Your core desires come from that quantum realm. But they manifest or our channel through the body. If there is a defect in the body, or in the brain, information is channeled in ways that can become unbalanced. We all have a desire for companionship. It seems simple enough but it can be infinitely complex. But one aspect might mean defending your claim to a particular person. If you label a person to be your desired companion your brain begins to work with ideas of making sure everyone else understands that. But say that someone else also wants that same person. Systems of defense and ownership can fire up and the person begins to process thoughts of protecting their claim. This might be as simple as putting a ring on somebody's finger and getting a commitment. But if that person doesn't believe in that option, that it is not possible or that it will not work, they might start working through channels that are less traditional and less tested.

They might start planning to hurt the competition, they might even plan to lock up the person they desire to keep them away from others. These are delusions in the sense that they don't work for everybody else. they might be perfectly functional for the person having the delusion. In other words, it doesn't make the delusion wrong. However it might be unacceptable to the rest of the group. If a person should lock the person that they love in some dark basement because they don't want anyone else to look at them and see the beauty that belongs only to them, we call this psychotic. We try to lock these people up. But to them, it's perfectly logical and actually functional to the degree of what they are trying to achieve. Their mind is not worried so much about their standing in the world or the consequences that will come from their actions.

So in this case, the delusion might actually be NOT believing what everybody else believes. If I walked into a room of atheists, as I often do, everyone assumes that I am delusional. I believe things that they do not. Or rather they believe things that I do not. And let's just be honest, I've never walked into a room where the people didn't think I was delusional. However if I walked into a room with my own family and people, our differences in belief wouldn't matter as much. We would discuss them but they would not necessarily throw me back outside because of my delusions.

This makes conversations with me rather frustrating. Just because you and the entire American culture believe things doesn't necessarily mean I buy into it.

One example might be climate change, and for those who are keeping track, this is not political in anyway. I can observe with others the pictures and the scientific data that there are changes going on on the world. I have spent hundreds of hours researching different aspects of this trying to have an opinion that I was comfortable with. Like, did you know that all of the planets in the solar system are warming up? The solar system has been traveling through a cloud of stellar dust affectionately called Fluffy for about the last 30 years. This dust is so thin that we cannot see it, but it literally increases the pressure of space around us. Space is holding more heat than it traditionally does. surfaces of the planets Jupiter and Saturn have risen about 20°F. Even as far out as Pluto there is evidence of warming as we can detect increased activity of dust particles around the rocks and the planets.

However, I did not find this research on CNN, or even Fox. I found the information about Saturn and Jupiter and Mars right off the NASA website. There are other doctors considered to be conspiracy theories who provided some of the other information.

My delusion? The world is warming but we're not causing it and we can't fix it. We are either exiting this cloud soon or have already done so. It's kind of hard to find information on this kind of thing as Fluffy is not in prime time news reports.

In probably every other post that state that I don't believe in facts. That might be because even though a fact is a fact, how we interpret it is far more important. It's a fact the Earth is warming. What that means is infinitely complex. I say we develop better sources of energy and be prepared. Others say that we destroy all sources of energy that might create carbon, but the only way to do so is to create a shitload of carbon in the process.

Thank you for asking this question because it's always good fun.

User avatar
alas
Posts: 1736
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:10 pm

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by alas » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:07 pm

First of all, Csnl1, if tested now, I am positive that my hearing in those supper high frequencies have been lost to age. I no longer suffer from the migraines if I go into large buildings like Home Depot because of the high frequency noise of their air circulation systems. When I was young, I remember going into such a building with a school class, and one of my close friends plugging his ears against the high frequency noise that most of the class was oblivious to. We discussed it and concluded that we were the only freaks in the class who could even hear it. I no longer seem bothered by such noises, but I have become more bothered by too loud of noise. So, interesting how things change with age.
moksha wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:19 am
What about shared delusions? Are they due to simultaneous mental illnesses, or people buying into shared lies?
Yes. Both simultaneous mental illness and people buying into the same lies will cause shared delusions. There is a book, whose title I can’t remember that discusses shared delusions. His theory is that the Salem witch trials were triggered by a group of girls who got some molded bread (I think it was, IIRC) and it caused them to hallucinate and have convulsions. The only way they knew to explain their mass mental break was witchcraft. Thus their shared mental break induced by drugs was a mass shared delusion. And then they shared this lie they all believed and a black woman was blamed as the first witch. Logical choice as she still practiced her African pagan religion. They shared this belief in the broader community and more people were accused of witchcraft as the delusion spread through the community. He went through some other mass delusions from history where an illness or mass poisoning caused a mass of hallucinations, which caused mass delusions.

And I mentioned in another thread a mental illness where two people who live together share delusions of say paranoia. I could give the name of the condition, but it would be psychobabble to most of you. There is usually one very dominant person, say a mother who cares for her disabled adult child. The mother goes crazy, and the dependent person follows them into crazy. It can be a husband and wife where one is emotionally dependant on the other, or any close relationship where the weaker personality has a limited ability to check reality and so they have little choice but to believe the crazy person’s delusions. Or, they willingly follow the cult leader’s delusions, because they convince themselves that the cult leader is God’s chosen. But this diagnosis is seldom given to cult members, even when they are far enough into crazy to feed their own children poison laced Koolaid, then drink it themselves, or go into a movie stars home and murder everyone at their cult leader’s bidding. I think he who must not be named has some followers who are into this form of crazy. Others, of course just think he is a great politician.



Finally, SaidNobody, I think your question here boils down to “can a delusion lead to good?” Yes, absolutely. Take Joan of Ark. she had what was probably just a dream. But she believed it. Now an older more experience person would have woke up and said what a stupid wishful dream. Well, they would not have been burned at the stake, so you could argue that they are the smart people not to believe what was after all just a dream. They were not delusional, and lived. Joan was delusional and led France into battle, but ended up cross wise of the powerful church who did not believe her delusion, but thought it was blasphemous and burned her at the stake. History still view the delusional child as a hero, so you could say her delusion was good, and did some good.

Now, as to he who must not be named, I don’t want to get political, but your question goes back to him and my accusation that he is delusional. His niece calls him pathologically optimistic. I think that is a good way to describe him. You see that as a positive and in a lot of ways you are right. Optimism is good and our sick country sure could use some. He is a big believer in “The Power of Positive Thinking”. Very biggly a believer and used to attend the author of that book’s church. It is his God and his religion. To the point that his positive thinking can kill people. It becomes delusional.

Let’s pick an example that Vol.....he who must not be named DID NOT do, so we get away from politics. Let’s take the Biblical Peter, where he saw Jesus walking on the water...probably fiction, so let’s use that as an example. Bob believes in Jesus, really believes. Really really believes. Pathologically believes. Bob thinks he can walk on water. Bob is delusional. Bob but believes and thinks positive. Bob tries it. Gravity works. Bob sinks and drowns. Bob was delusional. Bob was pathologically optimistic that his faith could allow him to walk on water. Bob was pathologically optimistic. Bob is dead.

Now, there were people who thought George Washington was delusional. Yeah, I think he came pretty close. If France had not been impressed with the pathological optimism (bravery?) of a scalawag bunch of Colonists, George Washington would have gone down in history as a traitor.

So, yes believing in the *near* impossible can be close to delusional. Can believing in the *near* impossible be a good thing? Yup. It can be very brave.

People thought it was impossible for he who must not be named to be elected in 2016. But he was pathologically optimistic and got elected against the popular vote and against the odds and against the polls. That was not delusional, risky, but not delusional. But continuing to believe in the near impossible after one loses the election, after the courts have thrown out 50 cases because there is no evidence of fraud, that is delusional in a bad way. The simple explanation is that more people voted for Biden.

Where is the line between “believing in a cause even if it is near impossible” and outright delusion? That word “near”. If it is impossible impossible, and you continue to believe it, like Bob walking on water, then it is delusion. If it is near impossible it is a big risk, but not delusional. Delusion is where you deny the risk and walk on the water anyway. One is a big risk, the other is delusional.

User avatar
SaidNobody
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:03 am

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by SaidNobody » Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:16 pm

Alas, you ask where is the line between near-impossible and delusion.

That line is called failure.

In the 1700s, some dude in France was jumping off of buildings with a bedsheet because he thought the air had weight and volume that could hold him if he could catch enough of it. He failed many times. Everyone knew he was delusional. I don't remember the end of his life, but before he died he jumped from the church spire and survived. I think he broke his legs, so let's say that he failed. However, like a hero, his story of courage spread. People changed their thinking. Maybe the air did have volume and could hold weight. I don't know the rest of the history of modern parachutes, but OMG, the black magic people perform with parachutes is mind-blowing. I bought a VR set for my daughter. I love jumping out of an airplane or cliff with one of those flying squirrel suits in the VR set. Anyway, I think the common use of the term "delusional" is arrogant.

Bringing up the family drama the other night. My stepdaughter is an alcoholic. She has a complete set of delusions. But her delusions are not all just personality beliefs, they are methods and processes that control behavior and perceptions. Like, some alcoholics tend to feel bad about their drinking so will initiate a fight which will get them an excuse to drink. Or, like my father, will nurse angry feelings all day long. Anger shuts down rational and compassion cortices and which allows them to drink without remorse, except when they are drunk, they tend to cry with remorse as the truth of their uselessness overwhelms them.

The complexities of an alcoholic's delusions are beyond me. However, her daughter was the one traumatized. She was in a full-blown panic attack, mixed with rage and suicidal feelings. A victim of constant gaslighting and emotional rejection this girl was practically frothing at the mouth she was so upset. She wanted to be good, as all people do but had been convinced that everything was her fault. I'm not her parent, but I've overstepped my bounds to convince this girl it wasn't all her fault. Her delusions are destructive, but they are not really her fault. Her delusions haven't failed "yet." But they will fail her unless someone helps her with them.

But delusions are not whether they are true or false. It's about, do they work or not. Joan of Arc wasn't just a girl with a delusion. She had charisma. She convinced a nation, a king, and for a time, even the church that she was God's Messenger. That wasn't a simple dream. She was the whole package, just like he that will not be named.

I can explain, in my own way, how everyone has a Jesus complex lurking inside of them. It's is part of consciousness structure. Some people just delve deeper than they are ready for so when they trip over the Realm of Lords, they go full megalomanic. Let's say that was an average Joe that tripped into the Realm of Lords, could he convince people? Nature supported his claim and two thousand years later, we still call him Lord.

If He that will not be named thinks he is Hercules reborn, the question isn't whether he is or not, but what can he do with it? If he thinks he is the chosen one, can he achieve that?

User avatar
alas
Posts: 1736
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:10 pm

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by alas » Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:08 pm

SaidNobody wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:16 pm
Alas, you ask where is the line between near-impossible and delusion.

That line is called failure.

In the 1700s, some dude in France was jumping off of buildings with a bedsheet because he thought the air had weight and volume that could hold him if he could catch enough of it. He failed many times. Everyone knew he was delusional. I don't remember the end of his life, but before he died he jumped from the church spire and survived. I think he broke his legs, so let's say that he failed. However, like a hero, his story of courage spread. People changed their thinking. Maybe the air did have volume and could hold weight. I don't know the rest of the history of modern parachutes, but OMG, the black magic people perform with parachutes is mind-blowing. I bought a VR set for my daughter. I love jumping out of an airplane or cliff with one of those flying squirrel suits in the VR set. Anyway, I think the common use of the term "delusional" is arrogant.

Bringing up the family drama the other night. My stepdaughter is an alcoholic. She has a complete set of delusions. But her delusions are not all just personality beliefs, they are methods and processes that control behavior and perceptions. Like, some alcoholics tend to feel bad about their drinking so will initiate a fight which will get them an excuse to drink. Or, like my father, will nurse angry feelings all day long. Anger shuts down rational and compassion cortices and which allows them to drink without remorse, except when they are drunk, they tend to cry with remorse as the truth of their uselessness overwhelms them.

The complexities of an alcoholic's delusions are beyond me. However, her daughter was the one traumatized. She was in a full-blown panic attack, mixed with rage and suicidal feelings. A victim of constant gaslighting and emotional rejection this girl was practically frothing at the mouth she was so upset. She wanted to be good, as all people do but had been convinced that everything was her fault. I'm not her parent, but I've overstepped my bounds to convince this girl it wasn't all her fault. Her delusions are destructive, but they are not really her fault. Her delusions haven't failed "yet." But they will fail her unless someone helps her with them.

But delusions are not whether they are true or false. It's about, do they work or not. Joan of Arc wasn't just a girl with a delusion. She had charisma. She convinced a nation, a king, and for a time, even the church that she was God's Messenger. That wasn't a simple dream. She was the whole package, just like he that will not be named.

I can explain, in my own way, how everyone has a Jesus complex lurking inside of them. It's is part of consciousness structure. Some people just delve deeper than they are ready for so when they trip over the Realm of Lords, they go full megalomanic. Let's say that was an average Joe that tripped into the Realm of Lords, could he convince people? Nature supported his claim and two thousand years later, we still call him Lord.

If He that will not be named thinks he is Hercules reborn, the question isn't whether he is or not, but what can he do with it? If he thinks he is the chosen one, can he achieve that?
I was trying to point out the narrow line between the dream (better word than delusion, not night dream, but imagined dream) that becomes a reality, As in George Washington, and the “delusion” that we call a failed dream after the fact. Much of the difference comes down to luck. And, sure, I simplified down the story of Joan of Ark. She had a dream, perhaps it started with a night dream, or perhaps she imagined the dream, as in Martin Luther King, I have a dream speech. Perhaps she really was visited by someone in her “vision”. I can have my own theory, but don’t really know the origin of her dream. But she believed in her dream, enough to convince others. And her dream succeeded for a while. And George Washington had a dream, that really wasn’t very realistic. A few hundred men in what you couldn’t even call a respectable army, defeat Great Britain, the strongest nation on earth at the time? Fat chance. But these amazing and charismatic people got lucky and their dream happened. We don’t have history of the people who had a dream and failed. They get written off as delusional.

It is a fine line between those who have a great dream and all the charisma, talent, and luck to make that dream happen, and those who have a dream, without all the talent, charisma, and luck to pull it off who go down in history as delusional.

I don’t happen to believe in “God’s chosen” so, I don’t go there, if that is what you mean by Trump being the real deal. And I do think he falls in a different category than George Washington and Joan of Ark. I don’t think he has what it takes to make any dream a reality. Even with a lot of luck. And I won’t go into why, because you see him very differently than I do.

As to your step granddaughter, usually the kind of false belief that one is taught by dysfunctional alcoholics are not called delusions, but “false beliefs”. There is a difference in that the child who gets taught that everything is their fault, as in “mom drinks cause I am bad,” doesn’t want to believe it. They have been taught it, but don’t really want to believe it. Where the delusional alcoholic wants to believe that they are a good person “driven to drink” by the bad people around them. So, the delusional person wants to believe it, the abused child has dysfunctional false beliefs they have been taught. They are usually open to the truth, but the false teaching is pretty well pounded into them so, although they don’t want to believe it, they are hard to convince of the truth. The delusional person chooses the false beliefs they have as a way to defend against the truth that is painful.

So, if I believe that space aliens are communicating with me from behind Jupiter, well that makes me pretty special and explains the thoughts that pop into my head that feel kinda crazy. I am not crazy, that is the space aliens. And I am supper special because the aliens picked me to communicate with. Then I would believe that because it protects me from feeling ordinary and crazy. And it would be very painful to accept that I am not really special, but am hearing voices and probably need to see a psychiatrist.

User avatar
SaidNobody
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:03 am

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by SaidNobody » Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:11 pm

alas wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:08 pm
And it would be very painful to accept that I am not really special, but am hearing voices and probably need to see a psychiatrist.
Here is the truth according to me.

We are special. We are infinity and eternity cut down to personalized sized consciousness working our way back to infinity. There is a place in our Consciousness where we are actually God. But it is so deep most of us never see it.

In the 70s & 80s & 90s I remember cases where people would hear voices and thought God was talking to them. They were disappointed to learn that their metallic tooth fillings were picking up local radio stations. What I remember about some of this stories were the miracles that some of these people did. I don't remember the details but some people could heal, some could do prophecies. Some were powerfully insightful.

Once the fillings were replaced the powers disappeared. The belief that they were special did incredible things to these people. But people cannot believe they are special without a good reason, a lot of support, or going insane.

So God, in his infinite wisdom, creates special schools where people are told that they are special. He tells us that he loves us. He tells us that we can do anything. Which is totally delusion, unless.... you can actually believe it.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of people that believe the delusion. The ability to embrace the illusion and make it work takes an immense amount of character and strength. But some people actually do it.

Just by believing that they were special people began working what many have documented throughout the ages as the miracles of God. The metallic fillings in their teeth were a type of placebo effect for people hearing the voices they thought they have been chosen by God for some reason.

Joseph Smith, the one whose name is often said, was a very imaginative as a child. Stories were told by his mother that he would talk of cities of old as if he had lived there. People who knew Joseph Smith personally said that the concepts for the City of Zarahemla were told long before Joseph Smith ever got his hands on the golden plates.

I wouldn't have taken a road trip based on the details that Joseph Smith gave in the book of Mormon. But there were a lot of details that were incredibly accurate for the level of understanding of people at that time. We are talking about the early 1800s before Euro American ever saw pictures or stories of South America. The details of his descriptions are strangely accurate if you shift a couple of points of reference. But how did he know even about the cities?

Joseph Smith was special, and he believed it. I genuinely believe that anyone could be special if they have the courage to believe it. But it is tricky. Failure quickly destroys any concept of being special. Many people go to the edge of insanity trying to maintain the illusion that they still feel special.

There are laws to the nature of consciousness. In order for humans to feel special you must either lie to yourself immensely, or have a lot of outside support.

He who shall not be named is very special as well. I even send him little notes on social media saying, "you are very special."

So if you are ever wondering why he who shall not be named thinks he is so damn special, I told him he was.

User avatar
alas
Posts: 1736
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:10 pm

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by alas » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:06 am

I wonder what the difference is between people who hear voices and think they are special and use it as “I a chosen by God” and then try to heal people, and people like my brother who hear voices and it just scares the s* t out of them. They they find ways to make the voices go away. He told me that it was often like he heard a radio voice when there really was nothing there, just random talk. Once he told me the voices were discussing the weather, but often it seems like the nonsense of dreams. He gave me a like, for instance, once the voices told him he needed to dye the hair on his arms because it made him look old. No problem that his beard and hair hair was Snow White. But his main reaction was he feared the voices and tried to run away from the voices, even though the stuff the voices said was just talk, nothing dangerous or anything. He even described it as kind of like hearing a radio in your head that you can’t make go away. Turned out that drinking alcohol made the voices go away, and he quickly became alcoholic. The medication for psychosis the doctor gave him didn’t help, just caused horrible side effects. (Why many crazy people go off their meds. Hearing voices and seeing things that are not there is better than the known and common side effects of drugs for psychosis. Then they become homeless street people who wander the streets talking to themselves) Now, finally the doctors figured out the proper diagnosis, psychotic depression and got him on anti depressants.

Anyway what makes one person have delusions about the voices and think it is God talking to them, when God is announcing the local traffic conditions and playing the latest hit songs? While another person will recognize that it is a radio station, and still another will decide they are psychotic, when it really is a tooth filling picking up a radio station?

I know this question probably doesn’t have an answer, just curious.

Oh, and by the way, SN, I agree with your post above. There is a strong but dangerous placebo effect when one believes they are special this way.

User avatar
SaidNobody
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:03 am

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by SaidNobody » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:58 am

alas wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:06 am
Anyway what makes one person have delusions about the voices and think it is God talking to them, when God is announcing the local traffic conditions and playing the latest hit songs? While another person will recognize that it is a radio station, and still another will decide they are psychotic, when it really is a tooth filling picking up a radio station?

I know this question probably doesn’t have an answer, just curious.

Oh, and by the way, SN, I agree with your post above. There is a strong but dangerous placebo effect when one believes they are special this way.
The stimuli is what it is. It's a radio frequency. The consciousness that observes it (hears it) is the more important part of the question.

Joan of Arc was a faithful girl, (if I remember correctly) that had a powerful affinity to Archangel Micheal. When he showed up, (she was practically obsessed with him so who else would have come) her desire to serve was immense and overwhelming. The spirit flowed through her without restriction.

When someone is afraid, the spirit cannot really flow. When Jesus came to Saul/Paul he was seriously moved because he already had a passion for righteousness, (which at the time he thought meant killing the Christians.)

It's isn't the message, it's the vessel.

User avatar
SaidNobody
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:03 am

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by SaidNobody » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:28 am

I have told my daughter, that the best definition of God is the search for God. The best gift my dad ever gave me was a desire to find God.

Aside from that, I have hundreds of different descriptions and concepts that I could give God shape, but they are all a product of my search. My God is a product of my search.

I know it isn't right in the sense that we consider right. Right is a concept usually defined by approval. My God is definitely not approved.

We all have illusions. The illusions are what we have. Somewhere behind them is the truth but we cannot actually see it. I don't suppose I will know the truth of existence in my lifetime or in many lifetimes to come. But I look for it. It is what I want.

I was discussing the idea of many mansions in the house of God with an old friend. I claim that our relationships are illusions. They are things that we believe in and that we build with our belief. likewise I think our entire environment is a creation of our belief and illusions. America only exists because we believe in it. It is like one of the mansions in God's house. There are perhaps an infinite number of different delusions that can work perfectly well that are more or less completely incompatible with other illusions.

So what I seek are functional illusions. If believing I am a good person helps me get through my day in society, I will believe it. If believing that I can repair a relationship by humbling myself and admitting my fault, then I will do it. It doesn't always work, but I do it because I believe it will work.

the truth of existence I think is so mind-numbingly beyond human imagination that we can only use our illusions and delusions to communicate each other. Carl Sagan one said that we are stardust that has taken control of our destiny. But here I am trying to convince you that I am an ordinary person. It is just an illusion that I work with.

Truth is a little bit like looking at a math fact chart. There are infinite number of truths and they create infinite number of products. Even dealing with other humans they do not always embrace what might obviously be the truth if it doesn't work for me. I will find the truth that works for me. Some people really hate that. They think there can only be one truth.

User avatar
deacon blues
Posts: 1432
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:37 am

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by deacon blues » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:02 pm

Very interesting SN. I like how you feel comfortable sharing thoughts that many people (I presume) have but don't want to talk about. I sometimes think 50% of what we see is real, 40% of what we touch is real, 30% of what we hear is real, and (just a guess ;) 20% of what we feel is real. There's something out there, I can feel it, but I might be wrong. Is it the orthodox Mormon God/worldview? Very, very unlikely. ;) Is it the Christian God/worldview? At least there are several to choose from, from evangelical to universalist. Is it the Humanist world view, again we have a beautiful variety to choose from. The voyage of discovery is fun and exciting, as long as I take my medication. ;) If I don't then I begin to hear very unkind voices. :?
God is Love. God is Truth

User avatar
SaidNobody
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:03 am

Re: Delusions: Are they real?

Post by SaidNobody » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:14 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:02 pm
Very interesting SN. I like how you feel comfortable sharing thoughts that many people (I presume) have but don't want to talk about. I sometimes think 50% of what we see is real, 40% of what we touch is real, 30% of what we hear is real, and (just a guess ;) 20% of what we feel is real. There's something out there, I can feel it, but I might be wrong. Is it the orthodox Mormon God/worldview? Very, very unlikely. ;) Is it the Christian God/worldview? At least there are several to choose from, from evangelical to universalist. Is it the Humanist world view, again we have a beautiful variety to choose from. The voyage of discovery is fun and exciting, as long as I take my medication. ;) If I don't then I begin to hear very unkind voices. :?
Thank you for your small acknowledgment that I am not completely insane. I do think that other people have these kinds of thoughts on a little bit lower than their willingness to share them. I am not particularly a smart man, but I try to be an honest one.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests