Wait, Sherlock, as the header image on the post titled “Delusional Mind.” To clear what is a delusion, you can imagine delusion as the opposite of this person’s personality. Sherlock is everything but delusional (almost).
Anyways, a quick google search will give this definition of delusion.

An idiosyncratic belief or impression maintained despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.

In this post, I will be talking about a slightly lighter form of delusions. Hence, in many cases, it’s not a symptom of a mental disorder, rather just a property of the human brain. However, in some situations, it may be a symptom of mental disorder which only a professional psychologist can tell.

Let’s begin our journey of exploring delusions.

In ancient times, western people had a belief that the earth was flat. By the way, some people still believe in that. Talk about delusions. Anyways, some Greek scholars (Pythagoras and others) suggested that the earth was rather round based on some evidence. This idea wasn’t accepted quite easily. People had difficulties comprehending the spherical nature of earth. These were the main reasons for the same:

  • In day to day life, it’s difficult to realize the spherical nature of earth. We normally see the earth as a flat surface. So naturally, those ancient people had difficulty accepting this idea that the earth was round. This is the case of limitation of our senses. More of an illusion than delusion if the person isn’t capable of understanding the proofs for the spherical nature of earth.
  • Strong previous beliefs, probably religious. There were some legends supposedly told by great people about the flat nature of earth. In this case, people had a very strong belief system and they were unwilling to move from their beliefs even if there were evidence against it. This is due to an established fact that human brain is poor at making rational decisions in general. What we decide mostly isn’t based on rationality rather based on our convenience. What sets apart brilliant minds from others is their willingness to change their beliefs and learn constantly based on proofs.

Were people delusional for long? Many were, but there were some willing to change their beliefs based on evidence. Anyways, moving forward and coming to the 20th century, now we have actual pictures of earth from space. As a result, a large section of people now accepts the fact that earth is round. It’s because now they can actually sense the spherical nature of earth with their eyes. When our senses actually send inputs close to the reality, it’s when our delusions start fading.

In this post, I will try to list some interesting delusions I have observed among my friends, family, relatives. Basically, delusions covering Homo sapiens.

  1. Self-overrating: The most common form of delusion.
    “I’m better than her.”
    “How did he got that job?”
    “There isn’t a better person for her than me.”
    Sounds like every-day thoughts of billions of people on the planet.
    Let me explain this with a situation. You just entered a room full of achievers. One of them is studying MBA at Harvard, another one a successful entrepreneur, another one a high earning lawyer. You’re also good, decent earning person doing okay with yourself. Now, based on facts it’s clear that others are doing better in their careers. And you completely agree. But in your mind, you started looking for other qualities you’re good at. Dancing, singing, painting, flirting. That’s when you start overrating your other qualities unknowingly. Actually, people always look for situations where they can believe that they are good at something. If situations don’t come up, they start creating them in their own minds. Here you start overrating your other skills compared to people you shouldn’t actually compare to judge your “other” skills. Slight delusional I would say.
    This person so sounds like me (except for the flirting part).
  2. The “I’m right” delusion: There must be a friend of your’s who is impossible to argue with, especially in some fields where he/she is too emotional about. What actually happens is the person is too attached to a thought (against a thought). He/she has read a lot about the subject. However, during the whole research period, the person was always decided on the side he has to take. He was just looking for ways to twisting facts, arguments to support his thought. That’s what many of our journalists, politicians do. And oh man, some of them are so good at it, they convince a whole lot of people to fall into their delusions. These followers are similar to people who were not willing to accept the spherical nature of earth.
  3. Delusional men: This puts a smile on my face. Evolution is evil and funny sometimes. Let’s see how.
    A guy met a new girl today at his work. Both started talking, she laughed hard at some of his jokes. The first day itself, he not only thinks he has a chance, but he has also imagined various fantasies (all kinds of). In his fantasies, this woman is in love with him. This happens every night. Every day, he gets excited that a new situation might come up leading to something.
    What is the woman thinking? There are 20 of such guys around her. Only one of them is special to her (or maybe none) . What are the odds? 1/20 considering each of them are equally attractive to her (which is never the case). What’s the odd in the mind of that guy? 1/3, sometimes even 1/2 and 1/1 in dreams. This delusion is necessary, though. Finding a partner is all competition. And you have to believe that you’re in it to win it. Just that, men should realize when they have lost. This sometimes in extreme cases lead to stalkers, psychopaths, criminals.
  4. Delusional women: If men have to compete for partners, women have to attract competing partners. That’s why mostly they want to look their best when going to a party (Men also do by the way). But where is the delusion here? Since women attract competing men, they mostly judge men as if he is competing for her.
    “He likes all my fb posts => he likes me.”
    “He was so checking me out.”
    “He’s such a pervert, always flirting with everyone.”
    “Why isn’t he checking me out? Is there something wrong with my dress?”
    Of course, generalizations cannot be done. So, feminists take it easy.

Delusions are exciting, they are even necessary sometimes as they lead us to take some irrational decisions that might just increase our chances of survival. You will say that the choice is irrational, then how come it lead to a better result. Because life doesn’t play by rationality, odds, and logic. People are irrational, you have to make irrational judgments to make better relations with them. And making relations are all the more important. I’m poor at making relations. So, I’m a rational person! Now, that’s how delusions start.

This post raises a very deep, serious, old question.
“Is God merely a delusion of the human brain?”
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins answers this question in a comprehendingly  yes. However, I’m theist. This demands another post. Will be one on one with “The God” in next one.