Psychosclerosis sightings


Cases of psychosclerosis abound.

Chris Trotter’s and Steve Braunias  must have been in the grips of it when writing their columns in last week’s Sunday Star Times.

Then Michael Cullen played Muldoon.

Monkeywithtypewriter  spotted a serious outbreak at The Standard.

Simon Cunliffe had such a bad attack that the ODT added this to the end of his weekly column:

Simon Cunliffe is assistant editor at the Otago Daily Times. His views are entirely his own.

And Inquiring Mind came across classic symptoms in a letter to the editor.

But all is not lost. It is possible for those suffering from psychoslerosis to overcome their affliction as Chris Trotter shows:

Who is served by an ideology that refuses to recognise that crucial aspect of the human spirit which refuses to accept the brute statistical reality that many are called but few are chosen?

Are we socialists, in our drive for an absolute equality of outcomes, really willing to descend to the level of a certain species of crab which will, when collected in a bucket, seize and haul back into the doomed mass any individual that attempts to escape its fate by climbing out?

Should John Key’s mother be condemned for instilling in her son the notion that, with lots of hard work and a little luck, he could transcend his state house roots?

Is that why so many other New Zealanders raised in state houses voted against Helen Clark’s Labour-led government last Saturday?

Because, somehow, they had got it into their heads that she would be happier if they never left them? Never climbed out of the bucket?

Or, God forbid, that Labour’s social-democratic state was actually about seizing them in its claws and dragging them back down into it?

But alas, he’s had a relapse in today’s SST.

I can’t find it on line but in his column he shows an inability to see past his own prejudice which is a classic symptom of psychosclerosis.

He’s writing about the deal between National and the Maori Party. He reckons Maori are betraying their roots but if he wasn’t afflicted by psychosclerosis he’d be able to see it as the historic opportunity for progress which is how those with a more positive outlook regard it.

Disease with attitude


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.

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