Illusion and Delusion

There was crowd of sorts gathered for the inauguration of President of the United States, Donald John Trump. These were mainly people that like, respect, and voted for President Trump. I watched on television as Trump went through ceremonies, performances, and speeches. He spoke at last, a shorter speech than is typical by a newly sworn president, and it was raw lies.

I wonder what Trump was seeing during the ceremonies, and I wonder what his followers were seeing at the same time. To me, there was no Trump dignity, and not even a successful pretext of interest and dignity. I feel there was only delusion. Trump was deluded that he’s actually a great success. The audience was deluded that their choice was going to do good for them. It’s all an illusion.

For a year or so, when I was in my twenties, I was casually friendly with a man whom I will call Wilbur Schwartz. He was a comical-looking man. He was quite short and very round. He gave the impression of a beach ball with short arms and legs, and his face was also like a basketball, with thick glasses and permanently pursed lips. There were things to like about him. He was highly educated, had been a political speechwriter, and was writing for advertising agencies when I met him. He was interesting. We sometimes discussed psychology, and on one occasion he said, “I know exactly who I am.” He was confident of his image and persona.

A well-known musician lived locally and owned a popular downtown club. On the second floor, above the club, he had his offices, and on the third floor, he had a large, fully equipped gymnasium. I don’t know how or why, but Wilbur Schwartz had befriended the musician, and gained access to the gym. I went there with him once, to see a boxer who was working out there.

About a week later, short, round Wilbur Schwartz phoned me with news about which he seemed excited. “I’ve been working out at the gym,” he said, with a note of pride in his voice. I couldn’t form an image of this comical little butterball doing any kind of workout. “I bought a sweat suit,” he said. “I look like an Adonis in it!” I stifled the impulse to laugh. It made me think again of illusion and delusion. The image he had of himself was an illusion. It didn’t exist in reality. He was suffering a delusion when he said that he knows exactly who he is.

I had a close friend, now deceased, who was also a short, morbidly obese guy. He died at 44, and left an obese, barely competent wife with three little children. He could not stop eating, and at a height of about 5’4”, I estimate his weight at 250 pounds. He was bright, witty, a good writer, and an avid sports fan. When he played baseball with his social office team, I watched him put his whole spirit into a run to first base. I feared he’d burst his heart then and there. I wondered how he saw himself. Was he a lithe athlete streaking toward a base? I wondered how he saw himself in general. He had a pleasant face, very good, dark chestnut coloured hair, and a gift of gab.

When relaxing in a club, he would think nothing of approaching the tallest, most attractive woman in view to chat her up. The beautiful women often spoke with him, because of his humorous personality. But what was he to himself? Was he Cary Grant, strolling across the room to Bette Davis? The women never went anywhere with him. He would return to our table in a pleasant mood, and mention that the woman was a “nice girl.”

All of us have views of others, and ourselves, and many of these points of view are either illusion or delusion. I try to be accurate about myself, but I think I fail.


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