delusions

I had a strange thought this morning brought about by reading Sebastian Faulk’s excellent book “Human Traces”. The book deals with the early days of phsychotherapy or “mad doctoring” as it was affectionately known. Anyway, while reading I realised that most people suffer episodic but extreme delusions while watching movies and reading books. (the many ironies of this are not lost on me) It’s the basis upon which the thriller genre is based. For example take the movie the 6th Sense. Even if you guess the twist before it’s revealed you’ll still have an epiphanical moment where you realise that you’re mental picture of what you were watching is incorrect. At the end of the movie the director reveals how he has coyly sneaked references to the truth under your mental radar so that the truth is just as plausible and perhaps even more consistent than the alternative conceptualisation that most viewers have. Well, here’s the thing. Your brain has been duped by skill but what if you simply couldn’t perceive the falsehood of a pseudo-consistent view because you had a mental blind spot (lacuna) to a particular issue or experience brought about by anything from psychological to somatic trauma. We all experience this to greater or lesser degrees. Phobias prevent us from engaging with the reality of a situation as our experience is not consistent with objective reality or the objective reality of others. Some people fear flying, some spiders, some rats, some Mondays. There’s nothing that distorts the world view like living! Phobias can appear mad to others and perfectly sound to the sufferers. How fine the line is between these and more serious delusions is a matter of conjecture.