Public Health officals have announced the country’s facing an epidemic of psychosclerosis.
It’s a nasty condition precipitated by a hardening of attitude.You probably won’t find the term in a medical dictionary but you’ll have no trouble recognising the condition when you meet someone afflicted by it.
The symptoms of PS vary but the disorder is characterised by complete closure of the mind, dangerously low levels of flexibility and chronic ill-humour.
PS short-circuits the normal intellectual processes so those who contract it become incapable of using or understanding rational arguments. Instead they rely on emotional pleas, never allowing the facts to get in the way of the prejudices, frequently founding their cases on baseless assertions and employing half truths to substantiate their beliefs.
Sufferers are resistant to change and tend to be dogma-dependent with a dangerous reliance on well-worn phrases and clichés.
Although managing these statements with ease the typical PS sufferer struggles with simple sentences such as “I’m sorry,”, “you’ve got a good point there,” or perhaps I’ve made a mistake”.
As PS advances, it leads to significant impairment of the senses. The eyes are first to fail, resulting in short-sightedness, tunnel vision and the inability to see any point of view but the sufferer’s own. In severe cases PS causes such disruption to the visual pathways that those afflicted become totally one-eyed.
Another consequence of the condition is colour-blindness, leading to a predilection for seeing everything in black and white so people with even mild symptoms can’t understand that most issues come in many shades of grey.
PS also impairs the hearing so those with the condition suffer from selective deafness and an unwillingness to listen to reason.
People afflicted by PS exhibit characteristics which might be regarded as virtues if there were directed positively, but because all energy is channelled negatively they become vices. Hence where a healthy person might be single-minded, tenacious or determined, someone with PS is simply pig-headed.
With mild cases, PS is limited to individuals, but in more severe outbreaks it become highly infectious, spreading rapidly through communities until much of the population is infected.
The disease isn’t difficult to diagnose, but it is usually chronic and results in a steady deterioration in quality of thought for the sufferers and those in contact with them.
Treatment depends on a high degree of patient co-operation, which is rarely achieved, because sufferers believe the rest of the world is at odds with them and only rarely accept that the reverse is actually the case.
Transfusing with tolerance may provide temporary relief of the symptoms, but a total cure requires frequent injections of both love and laughter.
Patients who fail to respond to this find the hardening spreads from their attitudes to their hearts, and although that may not be fatal, the consequences are so painful for them and those close to them it might as well be.