PURSUIT OF IDEALISTIC SELF AND DELUSION DISORDER
By Ozodi Thomas Osuji – Delusion disorder is found in individuals as well as in groups (in groups it is called follies adieu). A group may believe themselves very important, and superior to all persons (this is called delusion of grandeur); a group may believe themselves persecuted by other groups, whereas, in fact, no one is persecuting them or to the extent that they are persecuted it is because of their arrogance…for example, Igbos feel superior to other persons, look down on other persons and other persons resent them for looking down on them, as they should, and they see that resentment, which they themselves generated, as persecution of them (this is called persecutory delusion). There are many other forms of delusion disorder (such as jealousy, erotomania and somatic… I do not have the space to explain these here).
Mental illness, be it neurosis or psychosis, occurs when the individual sees his bodily life and human existence in general as meaningless and purposeless and reject it. Having rejected life in body as worthless he does not have the courage to do what mystics do: turn to spirit to see if it exists and if not kill himself (R.D. Lang actually had a useful point when he recognized that the psychotic is on a path to mysticism, to God, but an obstructed path.)
Instead the person who is to become mentally ill uses his mind and imagination to create an ideal self, ideal people, ideal society and its institutions and ideal everything. The mind tries to transform the world into what it would like it to become and in neurosis the pursuit of ideals preoccupies the person so much so that he no longer has time to enjoy the real world; in psychosis the individual believes that his ideals are true and acts on them.
Seeking ideals that replace this imperfect world leads to not doing anything to adapt to the exigencies of this world as they are, hence being a failure while wishing for ideal situations.
Mystics totally reject anything to do with the human body and sit quietly and resolve to die (Gautama Buddha did that for twenty eight days; he just sat in one place and refused to get up until he found out if life had meaning or else he died). In that meditative state they find that there is an alternative to this foolishness called our world (Buddha experienced nirvana or what Hindus call Samadhi and Christians call mystical union with God).
In neurosis the mind is like the mind of the mystic; it is aware of the nothingness of this world but tries to deny that truth and replace it with an idealized version of the world. The neurotic seeks an idealized perfect self, ideal perfect other selves etc.
Normal folks accept their bodies, their flesh and their world as good; they respect people in flesh, in bodies; they respect egos and bodies and since the ego likes to be respected other normal persons respect them and make living pleasant for them.
As anyone who has ever tried to meditate knows, the ego feels attacked when one tries to deny its reality. In meditation one tries to tune out the ego and its fleshy home, the human body. The ego feels attacked and goes to war with one. It comes up with nonsensical thoughts and images to occupy one’s mind; in fact, it forces these idiot images into one’s mind. As Buddha noted, Mara, ego, pushes images of nubile women into one’s mind, giving one all sorts of indications that all one needs to do is give up the quest to escape from this world and the world would become ones for the taking.
When Jesus prayed and meditated before he began his mission, Satan, that is, the ego, the separated self that wants to adapt to this world, tempted him, filled his mind with pictures of worldly glory, metaphorically taking him to the top of the mountain and showing him the world, telling him that all he had to do is bow to the ego and the world is his for taking.
The point is that if you meditate and try to overcome the ego and its fleshy world, and keep your mind quiet the ego goes crazy and fills your mind with useless images and thoughts. At this point one could go crazy, literally. Images of power result in mania and delusion disorder; images of god results in schizophrenia etc. (This is why it is recommended that one have a spiritual advisor, such as a swami, before one attempts to negate this world is meditation; the ego, the wish to have a separated self, the wish that opposed the will of God that he and his children are unified, can be very vicious when one tries to undo it.)
In normalcy the individual has accommodated his life to the ego and the ego is happy with him so it allows him to go about his business with normal thoughts, that is, thoughts on how to adapt to the realities of this world, such as thoughts on how to be a scientist or engineer or business person and do what adapts to the world of illusions. Normal persons are happy with their world and do not have wish to transcend it yet. They are not disturbed by the absurdity of the world; like cattle they quietly graze grass, live and die without knowing why they live.
My current understanding of delusion disorder is that it is a human phenomenon. Human beings are aware of their imminent death and the fact that their bodies are totally worthless and valueless. If you cremate the human body you reduce it to a few pounds of ashes and those ashes have no monetary value. The human body has no value and is nothing. Aware that their bodies are nothing people despair. They feel worthless. They do not like to feel worthless. Therefore, they compensate by positing false self-concepts to the effect that they have worth, false worth, hence delusion disorder.
That is to say that delusion disorder is phenomenological (this is a fancy word for experiential) and existential; it is human beings’ efforts to mask their existential nothingness, worthlessness and valuelessness.
Consider the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (on March 12, 2011). Nature destroyed, may be, 20, 000 human beings. That is, nature treats people as if they are nothing. Human beings are not special at all.
But human beings would like to believe that they are special. Adolf Hitler went about saying that he is a superior man, the Fuhrer, leader of the world. Russian troops entered Berlin and to avoid capture he killed himself and his body was dowsed with patrol and burned and the resulting ashes were dumped at the flower garden by the fuhrer bunker. The self-styled superior man ended up as manure for flowers! Point: we are nothing important; all claims of importance are delusional.
So why do people seek importance in the face of their bodies’ unimportance? I have wrestled with this matter and think that it probably has to do with the fact that they came from a place that has worth, spirit, but now have no worth. That is to say that in spirit people have worth but in body they have no worth and they try to give their worthless bodies’ pseudo worth via delusional beliefs.