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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Delusional Disorder: Grandiose Type

According to Psych Central dot com....

Delusional Disorder " characterized by the presence of non-bizarre delusions which have persisted for at least one month. Non-bizarre delusions typically are beliefs of something occurring in a person's life which is not out of the realm of possibility."

"People who have this disorder generally don't experience a marked impairment in their daily functioning in a social, occupational or other important setting. Outward behavior is not noticeably bizarre or objectively characterized as out-of-the-ordinary."

The impairment is often accompanied by a predominant delusional theme (or type).
The Grandiose Type is associated with "delusions of inflated worth, power, knowledge, identity, or special relationship to a deity or famous person."

The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller and is currently on trial in Boston on kidnapping charges is an example of someone who has been diagnosed by the expert witnesses hired by his defence team as Delusional - Grandiose Type. He takes narcissism to a new level. "Rockefeller" claimed to have worked for the Trilateral Commission. He took blame for the collapse of the Asian financial markets. He even claimed to have ended seven years as mute child with the word "woofness." In reality, his name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, although he does not remember having grown up in Germany where investigators say he is from.

But what about artists, musicians, and composers, such as the late Karlheinz Stockhausen?

According an article from 2005 in The Guardian, Stockhausen "claimed to come from a planet orbiting the star Sirius, and that he was put on earth to give voice to a cosmic music that will change the world."

By some accounts, a number of well-known, late, great American composers would have been diagnosed as delusional: Feldman, Cage, Cowell, Harrison, Partch, Moon Dog.

Without embarrassing anyone in my circle, I can attest that I know a surprising number of composers who deep down feel that they have a unique musical connection with God or Nature, and that their music is somehow channelled from a higher power.

What should we conclude from this?

Public beware! Composers are by definition delusional. They are prone to believe that they have the magical power create art through a unique connection with the supernatural.

Jeez, Clark Rockefeller even looks like a composer. He's got thick glasses and the scruffy unshaven Bohemian artist look down pat. The guy even speaks with an affected accent to draw attention to his self-importance and presents an aura of cool, calm, and collected confidence. He is also a control freak. All of these traits are virtually a prerequisite for any successful composer and/or conductor. I even read in a news report that as a child, "Clark" exhibited an early interest in music, but was discouraged to pursue the profession by his father.

I have to confess that if I didn't exhibit some of the symptoms of being delusional, I would probably not be writing music. Frankly, these days there is not enough basis in reality to support the notion of the Great American composer in any context.

It's a metaphysical conundrum.