One of my favorite Shakespearian lines comes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream when Puck says to his Lord, “What fools these mortals be.” (Act iii, Scene 2.) He spoke at a time before psychiatry existed, and no one had coined the term cognitive dissonance disorder. In layman’s words, cognitive dissonance occurs when we attempt to explain away that which we refuse to accept. As in, “What me wear a size 10 dress? It would probably slip off my shoulders.”
Our President, Donald Trump, is practiced in the art of self-delusion. What’s true today becomes tomorrow’s fake news. Should he ever end up in the slammer, he’ll probably say he’s there to consider the site for another Trump Tower. Sadly, some of his supporters might believe him.
For further evidence of human gullibility, we need only look at a popular blog TheLastLineofDefense.org.* It opens with a banner that reads: “Nothing on this Page is Real.” In fact, the site, written by Christopher Blair, is a liberal lampoon of the conservative mind. Yet, despite his warning, conservatives flock to his page and drink in his “truths.” They’ve made him so popular, he can earn up to $1500 a month from advertising. (“Nothing on this Page is Real” by Eli Saslow, excerpted from The Washington Post by The Week, December 7, 2018, pg. 37.)
“How could any thinking person believe this nonsense?” the author shrugs. By way of example, he recently posted a story about Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton giving Trump the finger at a public event. His readers were scandalized, even though the accompanying photograph was of two women other than Obama and Clinton. Trump supporters shared the story so fast and so far, the author concluded he was living in an “Idiocracy.” (Ibid pg. 36.)
How does one explain a desire to believe an idea that defies reason and logic? Having a conservative mindset isn’t a prerequisite. If we are honest, blind faith, as I shall call it, is the thread that weaves its way through many human institutions, be it politics, the church, or Wall Street. Being prevalent, I wouldn’t call it a disorder. Rather, I’m inclined to agree with Puck and see it as a human condition. Perhaps we should stand together in a moment of humility, knowing there are times when each of us capable of behaving like a madman or a fool.
*Blog site not found
(First published 12/14/18)