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War of the Inner Worlds

Posted on June 29, 2005 in Celebrity Mania Moods Psycho-bunk Thinking

square062.gifTom Cruise spoke as if he actually knew something about physiology the other day and declared that there was no such thing as chemical imbalances in the brain. One wonders just why the Today Show host allowed the discussion to wander from the topic of Cruise’s role in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, but we have long seen the use of actors playing the part of the adversary to Science, Medicine, Morality, compassion, gun laws and other forms of learning and common sense. (They’re almost as common as bloggers who do so.) With no thought or understanding of the proofs at all, Cruise just shot off his mouth. Whether the absentees at my last night’s support group meeting had decided to declare Cruise an avatar is not known to me. He received one comment and the rest of us just shook our heads.

You can try to clinically diagnose Cruise. You could accuse him of religiosity — a common symptom of mania –, paranoia — associated with depression –, or a deluded belief in aliens. But why single out Cruise when you see Fundamentalists doing the same thing, except that their delusion pertains to angels who flap their wings in close spaces and never raise any dust?

Cruise is not likely to change his mind based on factual evidence because his beliefs are founded on Scientology, which is a religion. If you were to ask him for a standard by which he would be satisfied that mental illness exists — if he were to give one — he would undoubtably shift his requirement once you met it. This might be called moving the milestones, a phenomena which skeptic Michael Shermer described as happening when Fundamentalist opponents to the teaching of evolution threw out a challenge and were then given the proof they asked for. Cruise would say “This would satisfy me.” You give him the proof. “That’s not enough. This would satisfy me.” And on and on, ad nauseum.

His resistance isn’t all that unusual. I’ve been told that I should just give my soul to God, that I am an addict, that the illness is all in my head. (I agree, 90%, with the last one.) What I see in Cruise is common: many people don’t want to believe in mental illness. Cruise might see his religion as a rejection of Christianity, but it is strangely Calvinist, rooted in a belief that we are self-made, that we arrive in life at the place we created for ourselves. As I understand it, Scientology teaches that we have complete control over our minds. Those who suffer from mental illness, therefore, are nothing but shirkers and parasites.

Thank you, Tom.

I hold that the laziness is Cruise’s. He demands that I accomodate him but he is not willing to reciprocate. Therapy often teaches to adjust to the normal world. The normal world, in my view, needs to be less rigid. I can’t do anything but advocate to those who read this blog: they won’t be bringing me on the Today Show any time soon. So what I must do is take my medications and practice a hell of a lot of tolerance for people like Tom Cruise who just can’t feel what goes on inside my head and inside the heads of others like me. I feel like Bernadette of Lourdes who is the only one who can see the apparition of the Virgin. Those who suffer from my disease know my states. The rest of them either call me a hypochodriac or take me on faith.

Will I avoid War of the Worlds after this? No. I’ve been looking forward to it. When Cruise and Spielberg get together, there’s bound to be fun. I know lots of people with crazy ideas. Being mentally ill, I’ve learned to tolerate them.

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