Sunday, September 06, 2009


Seeking true belief isn't the goal in today's America; shoring up previously-held beliefs, true or false, is. This is the psychiatric textbook definition of delusion:
  • certainty (held with absolute conviction)
  • incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)
  • impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)
A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture (e.g., it is not an article of religious faith). When a false belief involves a value judgment, it is regarded as a delusion only when the judgment is so extreme as to defy credibility. Delusional conviction occurs on a continuum and can sometimes be inferred from an individual's behavior. It is often difficult to distinguish between a delusion and an overvalued idea (in which case the individual has an unreasonable belief or idea but does not hold it as firmly as is the case with a delusion). Delusions are subdivided according to their content. Some of the more common types are: bizarre; delusional jealousy; grandiose; delusion of reference; persecutory; somatic; thought broadcasting; thought insertion.
An incorrect belief which is out of keeping with the person's cultural context, intelligence and social background and which is held with unshakeable conviction.


Mark Gisleson said...

I would show your post to my Fox watching mother, but she would simply read it and say, 'this describes you perfectly.'

I do not believe that delusional is entirely accurate when you have media working very hard to feed people disinformation. Being deluded is not the same thing as being delusional, and that's the really scary phenomenon here.

troutsky said...

Joe Mc Carthy knew and Glen Beck knows exactly who he is working for. They aren't delusional nor are their followers. They are both fearful ( as well they should be) and pragmatic, building fortresses and militias.Same as it ever was.

helmut said...

Media is definitely part of it. But I've pointed to clear empirical evidence right in front of us and had it denied. Because Fox News or Rush says it isn't so just doesn't seem good enough to me to fully explain how widespread this is. When you start denying objective, empirical reality if it doesn't fit your political ideology, there seems to be something else deeply wrong. But, of course, I don't have good evidence of this....

Mark Gisleson said...

I wouldn't care to defend my mother's sanity in a court of law, but she wasn't nearly so vociferous before Fox News came along.

I think they do the most damage when they put words in our mouths, or bring on straw liberals to make weak cases. My mother's always sure she knows what I think, and instead of debating her misinformation I find myself backpedaling and having to explain why I don't think what she thinks I think.

It's no different than Jew baiting. You can't have a conversation when you spend your trying to prove you don't believe some nonsense you've never heard of before. "But you have to admit you have a big nose, and you are a red head, therefore you must eat Christian babies!"


helmut said...

I get the same thing - my family barely knows me any more, but they're certain they know what I think because I'm apparently an "east coast liberal." I used to think that I had a conservative strain running alongside the progressivism. Apparently not.