Not so long ago the wife and I were watching a TV program about a man who's "partner" was a lifesize female doll who was fully functional as a woman and had the flesh-like feel of a woman. This man talked to his partner constantly, groomed her, and bought clothes for her, often changing her outfits. She could set with him in the apartment or even take rides in the car with him. It was amusing but she was serving her purpose.
Next we hear from a psychologist explaining what this is. He says that most of these people are non-violent but "having an imaginary friend that you talk to and attend to is delusional. People who have imaginary freinds should be watched in case they show signs of violence or other symptoms that would disrupt society where they could become a danger to themselves and others." Yet, he doubted that this man was dangerous.
This was when I blurted out that I'm not sure what the psychologist is talking about. I told my wife that over 90 % of everybody in the world "has an imaginary friend." She disagreed and wanted to know who my imaginary friend was. I remained silent.
Then she says "not me. I don't have an imaginary friend." She seemed very puzzeled.
I replied, "yes you do. I'm ending this conversation now but I want you to think about it. Most people have an imaginary friend. I used to, but no more."
The irony here is that the psychologist thought people who had imaginary friends were delusional and could be dangerous, but that self same psychologist might even be a theist.
I agree with the psychologist. "People who have imaginary freinds should be watched in case they show signs of violence or other symptoms that would disrupt society where they could become a danger to themselves and others." Such as:
The Middle East Conflict
The current religious slaughter in the Central African Republic
Condemning people to death if they turn away from Islam
The bigotry and violence against gays in Uganda, fueled by US Evangelists
The religious bloodshed in Nigeria
I could go on, and on, and on, and.......
Thanks Pat. You are hitting it right on the head for everything that is going on in the world today. Thanks to you and all the others for very needed support. It's a shame the theists cannot see the light on these matters.
""She seemed very puzzled"" I like those moments:) I had a moment like that when i told someone that i don't believe in ghosts (referring to god)
Damian, part of this reaction is because they take "god" as a given. Whatever you believe you have to start out with a belief in god. This is why we have so much circular reasoning in the world. It's also how christians justify "sin" and even murder. They can be "forgiven" and god has wiped their slate clean as if it never happened.
They believe everyone should think this way. The Buybull tells them so.
Recently I read the play "Harvey" by Mary Chase. Harvey is a six-foot imaginary rabbit who is the friend and constant companion of a pleasant alcoholic, Elwood P. Dowd. The plot centers around his sister's attempt to have him committed, using Harvey as evidence. The play was a hit on Broadway in the 1940's and ran for several years.
Harvey was made into a charming movie with Jimmy Stewart in the lead. If you haven't seen it, it's worth finding. Elwood has the marvelous line: " Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it."—a man to be envied, perhaps now more than ever.
Look at her friend closely; very well behaved. > click here for pic(s)
The question is whether having an imaginary friend or being delusional in other ways is a signal of potential violence. Couldn't it be that a delusion is a way of coping with life when the individual lacks the internal resources to face reality?
I know a woman who lives in the belief that she will someday return to a life of luxury. She has lost her husband, her health, and her money, but this delusion of better times just around the corner keeps her going in what otherwise would be unbearable circumstances.
Could this explain the strong psychological hold that religion has for so many people? Unwilling to face the prospect of total annihilation at the end and loss of everything they hold dear, they cling to a hope of meeting friends and relatives in the afterlife.
True Dr. Clark. I just don't understand that religious people can't understand that if when you die you are dead, that's it, that you won't CARE about seeing someone again, because you won't be anything. You'll just be dead. My sister said to me once "I'd be afraid to die if I didn't believe there was an afterlife, aren't you?" And I said "No! Because I'll be DEAD." I still don't think she got it.
It seems that people who accept death as total oblivion have less fear of it, not more.
One of the advantages of living a long life is that you are more prepared to abandon it when the time comes. If you have had a career a family, and been able to do things you like, then you've had a full life—there is little more to desire.
It sounds like that strong hold on people could be a large part of the reason for religion. When I was arguing with my sister, she said something to the effect that without her god to hold on to, she couldn't bear life.
I'm different. I value truth above all else. I don't want to be deluded. I want to know what is real. I don't want to waste any more of my time and resources on falsities.
It's certainly true that for most people throughout most of history, life has been more a matter of just holding on and getting through the rough patches. No one escapes entirely, but as civilization advances more people have the opportunity for a good life based on reality, not illusion.