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It’s a mad, mad, mad world

by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

India has an acute narcissistic personality disorder, which makes it fight way above its weight and it invariably ends up with egg on its face. Narcissistic personality disorder is a dominant feature in Pakistan’s psychological makeup too; it thinks it is the ‘chosen one’

Beliefs, character and behaviour define people. People are also judged by how far their actions are in consonance with their professed beliefs, i.e. do they put their money where their mouth is? Cognitive dissonance is a disorder in which the reality and the perception of the situation do not correspond. The intensity and the severity of disorders in people are exhibited by their actions and reactions prompted by situations. Naturally, any psychiatric disorder in a person is dangerous in inverse proportion to the physical strength, power and authority that the person wields. In individuals this is usually self-limiting because either they can be physically restrained or their authority nullified.

Because social groups, political parties and states are also made up of people, they too suffer from psychological disorders. The probability of inflicting injury and damage by social groups, political parties and states increases in proportion to the power they wield and the instruments of oppression at their disposal. Often, states and groups consciously and conveniently adopt detrimental ideologies and attitudes, such as Nazism, neo-conism and Talibanism, becoming a deadly, constant threat for all others.

A brief introduction to the disorders that afflict human beings is essential so that the reader has a chance to carry out his/her own diagnosis of the subject states, institutions and groups. The psychiatric and behavioural disorders are aplenty.

1) Schizophrenia: A psychiatric disorder characterised by hallucinations and delusional beliefs where a person is unable to distinguish between reality and imagination. Its variations are catatonic schizophrenia where either the subjects are unable to speak, move and respond or are overexcited and hyperactive; paranoid schizophrenia in which reality is interpreted abnormally (psychosis), and, finally, disorganised schizophrenia.

2) Personality disorders: In these you have trouble perceiving and relating to situations and to people, including yourself. In antisocial personality disorder your ways of thinking, perceiving situations and relating to others are dysfunctional. Narcissistic personality disorder is when people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is an emotional disorder that causes emotional instability, stress, etc. In obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), people are so focused on perfection that their ability to get things done and to enjoy life in general is deeply impaired.

3) Phobias too afflict people. There is social phobia, agoraphobia, panic disorder, panic attacks and irrational fears.

4) Depression is a complex condition characterised by profound sadness, lethargy, feelings of worthlessness and a loss of interest in social activities.

Disorders are labelled according to the prevalence of a set of symptoms and behaviour. I think disorders in states, institutions and groups too should be suitably labelled. There may not be unanimity and accord on what afflicts whom, but it would be interesting to label their disorders. This classification would probably make it easier to understand states and institutions and their motives and may even help in predicting their reactions to events.

There is a huge scope of individual variations and computations of the disorders enumerated above depending on the social, economic, political, ideological and religious make up of the subject. I am no expert on mental health but I know a mentally challenged individual, group, institution or state when I see one. There can be no definite diagnosis but an approximation on the part of a layman like me, so errors and omissions are expected. You may not agree with my diagnosis and classification, but you will get the picture.

The US is an important player on the world stage so I will review its psychiatric state first. It would be safe to assume that it, in fact, is the sum total of all known and unknown disorders, but to make it simpler I would say that it primarily suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder, panic disorder, OCPD and, above all, from borderline personality disorder. Apparently, chronic constipation afflicts it and this mixture makes it the most dangerous psychopath that presently threatens the world. Its chronic depression since the Vietnam War has led it into many disasters, Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent. Britain, alongside it, cuts a sorry figure; its psychology is that of a onetime big star reduced to the role of a clowning sidekick.

India has an acute narcissistic personality disorder, which makes it fight way above its weight and invariably it ends up with egg on its face. It also suffers from acute depression and OCPD, which are conflicting in nature and make it unpredictable. Some of its quirks are unique to it, for only in India can a ‘high caste’ dog become an ‘untouchable’ if a Dalit feeds it. Multinationals are more important for it than indigenous people are. Its obsessive-possessive trait makes it crush Kashmiris and their rights without compunction.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a dominant feature in Pakistan’s psychological makeup too; it thinks it is the ‘chosen one’. Otherwise it resembles its mentor, with paranoid schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder, panic disorder having a dominant position in its personality but distinguishing it from the US is the fact that it has a chronic irritable bowel, which keeps it edgy and uncertain. On some of its disorders no one can put a finger, leave alone name them. It readily increases the defence budget by a whopping Rs 110 billion and spends $ 1.4 billion on F-16s but does not have the money for free dialysis of registered poor patients. Dr Aafia’s sentence it laments but it ‘disappears’ and kills the Baloch and disregards the miseries of millions without remorse.

Most Middle-East countries suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, disorganised schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and catatonic schizophrenia. They do not know if they are coming or going. They stand like sullen, punished children in front of the bully Israel, hoping they will be spared. Their approach to the Palestine problem is ‘see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil’.

Journalists, editors, writers, lawyers, doctors, politicians, judges, anchors, media barons, sportsmen, conmen, Mafioso, etc, in short all professions and trades have their disorders and fall into one psychosis category or the other, making interesting classifications possible. In fact, this is a mad, mad, mad world and probably will keep getting madder with every passing day because individual psychosis is curable but psychosis afflicting states, institutions, groups, professions and trades is incurable.

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at mmatalpur@gmail.com

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