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Mental Illness as Society's Reaction to Inappropriate Honesty (satire)

In order to deal with reality, we sometimes develop elaborate fictions to cover the past or a defect of character.

Apart from the ravages of drug abuse, including the psychosis resulting from B-vitamins deficiency, which is prevalent amongst chronic alcoholics and may be part of other forms of abuse - though never acknowledged, few people would consider their fictions as the cumulative effect of the clever white lies they daily say over the course of a lifetime.

Even when we are threatened by a mortal illness which is in part due to the idiosyncratic varieties of personality and their attendant mental habits, few of us are willing to admit that it is due to lying to ourselves about reality.

Might mental illness be due to a history of white lies used to handle reality?

Maybe so, maybe not. Consider the white lies the State feeds us daily both through law enforcement (e.g. cannabis drug laws) and the media, be it news and edutainment (talk shows, reality TV, movies and advertisement).

Indeed, propaganda might be both cause and effect of the human ability to conceal the truth by not mentioning the obvious.

Schizophrenia might just be an effect of a society that cannot handle honesty and truth 24/7.

Some civilizations fell because a few revolutionaries became too honest about their current situation and caused doubt amongst the representatives of the ruling body for a specific monarchy, only to have a civil war fuelled by differences in ideology (monarchy versus nationalism and later, socialism versus free-market capitalism).

Russia's descent into communism was a post-modern example of this.

Most recently, examples of ideological warfare include the political damage control occurring in America due to Wikileaks, the recent protests in the Maghreb (north Africa from Morocco to Egypt) and in the Middle East (especially Libya, Egypt and Syria), and the hype and propaganda on cable news.

With regard to society, the honest people tend to get penalized for their honesty.

If you are honest about your taxes, you pay more taxes; if you are honest about your sexual exploits, then you tend to either get cock-blocked or end up alone in your old age; if you are honest about your emotions, then you get misunderstood. If you keep being honest, then sensitive friends and loved ones might get annoyed and either threaten to end the relationship or find someone who will tell them the white lies they want to hear.

Although I'm exaggerating about honesty to prove a point, I'd like to emphasize that total honesty entails full disclosure.

On the prospect of full disclosure, most people are adverse to expose their indiscretions to the public due to the public scrutiny which may arise as a result of such disclosures. When faced with the prospect of honesty, we'd rather baulk and wonder, "What would the neighbours think?" In the end, such honesty might lead critics to ignore the Biblical adage that "he who has no sin may cast the first stone".

If mental illness is due to society's reaction to inappropriate honesty, then mental health is the result of the individual's pro-active use of appropriate honesty.

With honesty and in the face of total disclosure, perhaps there is an appropriate outlet for it, both through journal writing and especially on-line blogging.

Originally posted: February 3, 2011 at 9:24 AM
Previous update: 8/28/11 1:01 PM
Current update: 11/28/13 03:28 AM

1 comment:

Steve said...

Perhaps the drive towards independent living and pride in individualism & unwillingness to "follow the herd" places more stress on people than the willingness to be servile and thus to sacrifice the individual for the greater good of the group.

In Western society, mental illness might be due to obsessive willingness to follow the herd to the point of being servile, and to practice self-sacrifice without respect to being free of putting others before oneself.

Indeed, herd mentality is akin to mob mentality.

IMHO this may be why in Canada, it is treason to train a private army since the Loyalists making up the British part of the Dominion of Canada experienced just that when the Americans revolted prior to 1776.