Conclusions around Delusions

Dipping into Jonathan Aitken's biography of John Newton last night I was startled to get some background to this piece of writing: "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear. It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds and drives away his fear. It makes the wounded spirit whole and calms the troubled breast. Tis manna to the hungry soul and to the weary rest ". The start of one of the greatest hymns in the English language, arguably fine poetry and a perfect fusion of thought and emotion. Written by John Newton while he was waiting to take delivery of a cargo of slaves – on a ship of which he was captain.  At the time Newton had no perception that what he was writing might be incompatible with what he did for a living. Which is how it appears to me.  Subsequently he became a leading abolitionist and was a mentor to William Wilberforce who after a lifetime of lobbying got the the anti-slavery bill through Parliament.

Ab_fab Watching episodes from Absolutely Fabulous and in the think of it in swift succession just after, it struck me how much comedy is based on our having a perspective on the absurd behaviour of others of which they have no inkling. We spend so much of our time looking for and validating truth we overlook the levels of delusion which others seen in us but which we are unable to see for ourselves. Widespread delusional thinking doesn't invalidate the possibility of truth. If I was to get really philosophical I might ask why a perception of someone else's delusional behaviour is any more truthful than the stories they tell themselves. Seeing ourselves as others see us is a vital corrective – those who can only see and defend their point of view are damaged – its a form of emotional autism.

Thickofit2 The question I leave you with as I return to the theme of marketing – is that is it exploitive to take advantage of people's delusions? And is it the marketers obligation to provide an alternative perspective or to reinforce the perspective they find? Anyone who answers Well it depends how much money you stand to make from it I would label a cynic. Finally is it our job to debunk or reduce the amount of delusion or do we just learn to live with it? In the sure knowledge that others and certainly those who come after will find it immensely easy to point out how deluded and inconsistent we are. 





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