Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Gift of Delusion

Forgive me if this post is less than eloquent, I wrote it in the time it took to cook my microwave dinner. But hopefully you'll find it interesting.

I was trying to fall asleep late one night, and as I often do, I turned the radio on to my local NPR station. The show I encountered actually ended up keeping me awake because I found it so interesting.


It was all about liars. They studied people who they thought would be compulsive liars, they actually decided that temp agencies would be the place they would go to find these people figuring these people would turn up there at some point. Probably not having been able to keep their lies right and having gotten fired I guess.

So they found a handful of people who answered the questions in a way that suggested compulsive liar. Then they got these people to submit to a brain scan to see what was wrong with their brain. Often people with other ...disorders, have some malady in their brain that shows.

What they found was quite a bit different than they expected. They didn't have a malady, but they actually had more connections, more "white stuff". They were able to think on their feet better, come up with stories more easily.

That was pretty interesting, as was the story of the con woman, but what I found most interesting was the piece on people who lie to themselves. They looked at people who are able to weave a little veil in front of whatever is going on so they don't have to acknowledge it. Like the person who ignores the sign of a cheating spouse.

But the interesting part was that they found that people who lie to themselves more are happier people. It works as a buffer, its an inoculation against reality and depression. So it should not be surprising that people who are more realistic are also more often depressed. They see the things they've done, things not working out, the pain and suffering in the world...and it makes them sad. Delusion is a gift of sorts.

I was telling this tid bit to a friend of mine and she said she had heard something similar, but that it was regarding specific unnamed political parties. The one party was more depressed than the other and it was explained that the happier political party was happier because they failed to see injustice as injustice...and I guess their responsibility to fight injustice? I didn't really have the gumption to read this entire article, I don't even know if it was the one my friend read, but it was interesting all the same.

But if you're going to waste your time clicking on the link, click the Radio Lab link instead, you'll probably enjoy it more. Its about as good as This American Life!




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6 comments:

Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart said...

Interesting. But, I'm even more impressed that you wrote that in such a short amount of time. Nice work!

Mike said...

Very interesting! :)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This is fascinating. I read that same article (or a similar one) too.

Kelsey said...

That is so interesting! Thanks so much for sharing!

Wade Huntsinger said...

This is true I believe, yet I think there are plenty of Republicans, as myself, who perhaps a bit of a fantasy life, or whatever you desire to call it, yet is very intentional on the now or truth as some would say. That being said, I think republicans are happier because they look at the end as something better and while they cannot fix it all, they try. Social injustice is I believe important to most Republicans, we just believe you personally have to be involved to fix the problem. Deep subject!!!!

Sister Sassy said...

I hear you Wade. I think a lot do believe you have to fix the problems yourself. I think we on the left are more lenient sometimes and try to understand that some people just don't have the skill set sometimes and without someone to guide them and help them, they just don't know how to fix the messes.

I'm sure you see how much guidance the kids you work with need. Its too bad everyone can't afford or access good counseling and coaching.. sigh :)

I did agree that having a faith leads to more happiness though- I think when things are awful sometimes that faith is the only thing you hold on to. Without that I don't know where the comfort is.

Thanks for reading to all the new commentors, and your insight Wade :)