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The Psychotic State:  How a Few Insane People Have Succeeded in Driving Our Country Crazy

Since the psychiatric diagnosis of “psychotic” has been so thoroughly co-opted  and absorbed by mass media and public discourse, I thought it might be helpful to translate the clinical understanding of psychosis into practical and useful terms, that would reduce the frustration and bafflement that most of us feel when we encounter bizarre and incomprehensible behavior on an almost daily basis.  

I was thinking about the words that would capture the phenomenon in a simple phrase that would resonate and click for people; when I heard a line in a song that said it all:  “I have a story to tell you, and I know it’s true, because I made it up myself.”

A psychotic state involves the creation of an alternate universe, in which seemingly unreal, nonsensical and totally illogical ideas require no explanation or justification.  

Consequently, there is no role in this universe for questioning, debate or challenge.  I’m often asked how I feel about one of the more bizarre tenets of the psychotic movement – the introduction of racial segregation into student housing at colleges – and my response is not what people expect.  My answer is that it depends on what universe you’re asking me to reply from.   The answer is intended to be puzzling and hopefully, provoke some questioning.  I learned, a long time ago, not to debate or argue with people who live in disparate levels of the universe.  Provocative questions is where the change occurs.

Psychotic thinking is practiced by people from all walks of life; from all levels of education and credentials; and all levels of politics.  It allows people, with no questioning, to accept what most people would consider utter absurdities: 

1.) Gas Prices Are Out Of Control – I Wonder What Caused That?

2.) Both Math And Gender Are Completely Subjective – It Depends On How You Feel

3.) Rioting, Looting And Arson Are Simply Forms Of Peaceful Protest

4.) Except For A 40 Year High Inflation Rate, The Economy Is In Pretty Good Shape

What then drives people to psychotic thinking?  It’s the perfect storm of Personal Pain and Information Overload.  If your life is dominated by an unrelenting emotional angst and a sense of victimization, a constant onslaught of information, will meld into a perfect relationship made in hell.

Most people on the planet have no conscious awareness that their in-born abilities to manage information, have been surpassed, years ago, by our culture’s technological capabilities.  There is some current research that debunks the mythology around “multi-tasking,” and concludes that it simply creates a slick form of mediocrity.

So how do you combat information overload?  You need a rock-solid filter. What’s worked for me is my core value system – which allows me to quickly dispense with over 90% of the information competing for my attention, desperately trying to drag me into the land of shiny objects and miniscule meanings. 

Consequently, when I face my email tormentor (or it’s new and improved version) I quickly put my three stalwart values up against the current distractors, and get back to work.  

The Values in my filter are:

1.) Individual Responsibility: If I’m involved in it, I played a role in starting it

2.) Lifelong Learning:  If there’s nothing to learn from an experience, I’ll pass

3.) Accountability: If I signed on, I’m responsible for getting it done.  No blame-shifting allowed

If a new “opportunity” fails any of these value tests, it’s a goner.

Two Closing Notes:  1.) Your goals tell you where you’re going.  Your values tell you How you’re going to get there. The latter is more important.

2.) If you carry around a lot of angst, and often feel like a victim, you may be confusing achievement with perfection.  At some time in your life, someone confused their baggage with yours.

~ Morrie

For more resources and my current products, visit my online store at https://www.morrieshechtman.com/store/

2 Responses

  1. A great pod. I limit my access to news and have for several years. But have been curious why people are not questioning more. This is interesting.

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