How Much Denial And Unreality Is Required To Make Reality Possible To Tolerate?

There are literally thousands of terrifying ways a human being might perish during his limited lifetime — disease, a boundless manner of accidents, as the victim of a thrill killer or a suicide bomber, being caught up in a conventional war or obliterated in a nuclear holocaust etc. Clearly for one to constantly dwell on such deadly and fearful potential hazards to one’s existence would make daily living impossible — emotionally paralyzing.

As the primary function of one’s base ego is survival and to seek advantage toward that end of at all cost, ego also comes with the ability of self-deception to help insulate the mind in regard to the huge odds against long-term survival. Of course too much of anything is not a good thing.

So this begs the question of just how much unreality, denial and self-deception is right for a well ordered life. Well, clearly President Donald J. Trump is a classic example of one being way over the edge when it comes to an ego that insulates one from any sense of reality. His endless lies and denials are to the point of laughable, as seen by folks of a rationally sound mind. Indeed it is to the point with the Donald where he is a self-parody — bordering on clinical insanity.

But of course the president is not alone in this degree of emotional tranquilization, causing one to live one’s life in an alternate universe. Mr. Trump has millions of eager supporters who see his sense of reality as genuine as their own. Unfortunately many of these Trump supporters did not inherit the millions of dollars and the power connections that have been necessary to bail Mr. Trump out of the numerous predicaments into which his self-deception has often lead him. In other words the President is light-years away from the delicate balance of staring at stark reality vs. a total denial of reality — the well balanced, healthy dose of unreality needed for a well rounded, fulfilling life.

At the opposite extreme from the thoroughly insulate Donald, that is those who absorb way too much reality — lies in wait for them depression and suicide. So what does constitute a healthy sense of reality? I would suggest that a person whose ego is reasonably well modified by intellect while at once having a mind that possesses a fine degree of cognitive ability, allowing them to carryout a practical and creative lifestyle filled with loving family and friends is about as good as it gets — meaning a reasonable capacity for self-deception but of a kind far from destructively blinding. Yes, it is often difficult to know when one has reached such a reasonable balance of mind. Rather it is always much easier to tell that about others.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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