Why delusions go south

I have often lamented the fact that folks who formally part ways from reality almost always harbor delusions that make them worse people. Most of the bullshit flowing from Kim Duclos and Steve McConkey is probably just everyday lying, but I’m fairly certain that at times, both of them have fully believed some of the literally insane things they’ve posted online, at least at the faux-orgasmic moment they’ve posted them.

Clearly I haven’t thought this one through. Of course the majority of persistent delusions are going to have negative impact on the moods of those harboring them. This is because pleasant delusions are generally unsustainable, whereas dark ones can survive and even flourish owing to the manner in which they are constructed.

Let’s say that an everyday person in the grip of schizoaffective disorder or mild schizophrenia is, for whatever reason able to adopt an optimistic framework, and starts thinking that she’s financially set for life. This is not the sort of idea that can linger for very long in the mind of anyone who is even modesty functional. Such a person would very quickly learn, say, that her credit card isn’t the kind that allows someone to use it to purchase a Lexus. Similarly, a guy who believes that the world has done him nothing but favors and that he owes all of his benefactors personal thanks, and perhaps cash, would likely be disabused of this notion after a few uncomfortable meetings or attempted meetings.

But people who dubiously or flat-out wrongly believe they’re being maligned or that they’ve been kept out of high positions in life’s modern hierarchy by scurrilous actors can believe such things for extended periods. This is because, unlike deluded optimists, who want to see everything they believe brought in the open, angry paranoiacs are better served by imagining vast unseen conspiracies because this allows them to more easily maintain their delusions. Shorter version: Someone who thought she was rich would never say, “I don’t want to know my bank balance.” Someone who thought others were trying to drag them down could simply declare these devious efforts veiled by definition, and the inner status quo could be maintained almost indefinitely.

So most of the good delusions get weeded out, leaving mostly bad ones to direct those whose thinking isn’t entirely reality-based.

The fact that I acknowledge that both Kim and Steve have formal mental problems is actually giving them more credit than I should, because someone who’s delusional is obviously not on the moral hook that a liar is. I think that the majority of both Kim’s and Steve’s false statements are lies that are quite intentional and usually premeditated more than a few seconds or even minutes in advance. Hell, Kim likes lying so much that she even did it in a court appearance that resulted from her own earlier lies. Steve’s audience consists entirely of dunces and nutbags, so he can more easily get away with nonstop lying until someone like me and my friends come along.

But both of these people are definitely fucked up. No mere liar, however full-throated about it, would ever contradict herself in so painfully obvious a way as Kim has a multitude of times. And Steve would have deleted two-thirds of stuff he’s posted online if he had any way of seeing that only a truly disturbed person would have thought these things, much less posted them with full name attached.

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