Note posted on April 11, 2021

I was reading Shutter Island (yes, of course, it was a book first) and read an exchange that wasn't in the movie. U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels asks how the missing patient, Rachel Solando, could be so deluded. She somehow believes she's living in her home instead of a mental hospital.

The doctor says her subconscious drowns her conscious mind in lies. Doctors are postal workers, her cell is her bedroom under renovation, and the like. The lies grow and evolve until her mind has no energy to refute them, and they become her reality.

The idea is to obfuscate. Confuse the listener until they believe out of exhaustion more than any sense of truth. Now consider those lies being told to yourself.

It's the same principle behind political firehousing, a big propaganda trick in Russia and the United States. When our own minds are behind this, it's a lot harder to catch. And that flood of lies may focus on one topic, not the whole world, making them even tougher to realize.

When our own subconscious is the culprit, how could we ever figure it out ourselves? How could we sort through this self-imposed chaos and rediscover the truth?

The fact I could be doing this, at any point of any day, and never realize it, keeps me up at night. Our minds give us so much, take away so much, and we have almost no say in both cases. It's also the only reason we can ponder this contradiction at all.

I'm not sure what to think about what lets us think. But it makes me feel pretty fragile.