In this movie, Truman is a man whose life is a fake one... The place he lives is in fact a big studio with hidden cameras everywhere, and all his friends and people around him, are actors who play their roles in the most popular TV-series in the world: The Truman Show. Truman thinks that he is an ordinary man with an ordinary life and has no idea about how he is exploited. Until one day... he finds out everything. Will he react?
It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.
wo doctor/brothers, Joel and Ian Gold, have identified symptoms of a mental illness unique to our times: the Truman Show delusion, named for the 1998 movie that starred Jim Carrey as a suburbanite whose movements were filmed 24/7 and broadcast to the world. The two say a handful of individuals are convinced they are stars of an imaginary reality show.
Though limited, their findings are creating a buzz in the media and the psychiatric community: Is it possible that reality TV is shaping delusions?
In an interview with WebMD, Joel Gold says, “The Truman Show delusion encompasses a patient’s entire life. They believe their family, friends, and co-workers are all reading from scripts and their home, workplace, and hospital are all sets. They believe they are being filmed for the whole world to see.”
Joel Gold, who is on the psychiatric faculty of New York’s Bellevue Hospital and serves as a clinical assistant professional of psychiatry at New York University's School of Medicine, first began to see the symptoms dubbed Truman Show delusion in 2002 with patients at Bellevue Hospital. He initially treated five white male patients with middle-class upbringing and education, all who likened themselves to actors on reality TV shows. Three specifically referenced the movie TheTruman Show, giving rise to the disorder’s name.
“It’s important to state that Truman Show delusion is a symptom of psychosis,” Joel Gold says. “People who choose to be the center of attention, have concerns about social standing, or who may fear being in public eye or seek it out, may be more drawn to identify with this delusion. I don’t think people are making it up or choosing it.”
In one case, the subject traveled to New York, demanding to see the ‘director’ of the film of his life, and wishing to check whether the World Trade Centre had been destroyed in reality or merely in the movie that was being assembled for his benefit. In another, a journalist who had been hospitalized during a manic episode became convinced that the medical scenario was fake and that he would be awarded a prize for covering the story once the truth was revealed. Another subject was actually working on a reality TV series but came to believe that his fellow crew members were secretly filming him, and was constantly expecting the This-Is-Your-Life moment when the cameras would flip and reveal that he was the true star of the show.
Although the formation of delusions is unconscious and often a response to profound trauma, the need to construct plausible scenarios gives it many commonalities with the process of writing fiction. On rare occasions the two overlap. In 1954, the English novelist Evelyn Waugh suffered a psychotic episode during which he thought he was persecuted by a cast of disembodied voices who were discussing his personality defects and spreading malicious rumours about him. He became convinced that the voices were being orchestrated by the producers of a recent BBC radio interview, whose questions he had found impertinent; he explained their ability to follow him wherever he went by invoking some hidden technology along the lines of a radionics ‘black box’, an enthusiasm of one of his neighbours. His delusions became increasingly florid but, as Waugh described it later, ‘it was not in the least like losing one’s reason… I was rationalising all the time, it was simply one’s reason working hard on the wrong premises.’
Waugh turned the experience into a brilliant comic novel, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (1957). Its protagonist is a pompous but brittle writer in late middle age, whose paranoia about the modern world is fed by an escalating regime of liqueurs and sedatives until it erupts in full-blown persecution mania (a familiar companion for Waugh, who abbreviated it discreetly to ‘pm’ in letters to his wife). Although the novel smoothes the edges of Waugh’s bizarre associations and winks knowingly at Pinfold’s surreal predicament, the fictionalisation blurs into the narrative that emerged during Waugh’s psychosis: even for his close friends, it was impossible to tell exactly where the first ended and the second began.
By the time that Gilbert Pinfold was published, narratives of paranoia and psychosis were starting to migrate from psychiatry into popular culture, and first-person memoirs of mental illness were appearing as mass-market paperbacks. The memoir Operators and Things: The Inner Life of a Schizophrenic (1958), written under the pseudonym of Barbara O’Brien, told the remarkable story of a young woman pursued across America on Greyhound buses by a shadowy gang of ‘operators’ with a mind-controlling ‘stroboscope’, but was presented and packaged like a sci-fi thriller. Conversely, thrillers were incorporating plot lines that assumed the reality of mind-controlling technologies. Richard Condon’s best-selling novel The Manchurian Candidate (1959) turned on the premise that a hypnotised subject might be programmed to respond unconsciously to pre-arranged cues. In the book’s memorable and, with hindsight, eerily prescient climax, an unwitting agent is triggered to assassinate the US president. Condon’s deadpan satire was informed by Cold War anxieties about brainwashing and communist infiltration, but it also drew upon recent popular exposés of the ‘subliminal’ techniques of advertising, such as The Hidden Persuaders (1958) by Vance Packard. It was expertly pitched into the disputed territory of psychology’s black arts: a paranoid tale for paranoid times, which still informs a thriving netherworld of internet-driven conspiracy theories.
James Tilly Matthews drew the invisible beams and rays of the Air Loom in his Bedlam cell, he was describing a world that existed only in his head. But his world is now ours: we can no longer count all the invisible rays, beams and signals that are passing through our bodies at any moment. Victor Tausk argued that the influencing machine emerged from a confusion between the outside world and private mental events, a confusion resolved when the patient invented an external cause to make sense of his thoughts, dreams and hallucinations. But the modern word of television and computers, the virtual and the interactive, blurs traditional distinctions between perception and reality.
When we watch live sporting events on giant public screens or follow breaking news stories in our living rooms, we are only receiving flickering images, yet our hearts beat in synchrony with millions of unseen others. We Skype with two-dimensional facsimiles of our friends, and model idealised versions of ourselves for our social profiles. Avatars and aliases allow us to commune at once intimately and anonymously. Multiplayer games and online worlds allow us to create customised realities as all-embracing as The Truman Show. Leaks and exposés continually undermine our assumptions about what we are revealing and to whom, how far our actions are being monitored and our thoughts being transmitted. We manipulate our identities and are manipulated by unknown others. We cannot reliably distinguish the real from the fake, or the private from the public.
In the 21st century, the influencing machine has escaped from the shuttered wards of the mental hospital to become a distinctive myth for our times. It is compelling not because we all have schizophrenia, but because reality has become a grey scale between the external world and our imaginations. The world is now mediated in part by technologies that fabricate it and partly by our own minds, whose pattern-recognition routines work ceaselessly to stitch digital illusions into the private cinema of our consciousness. The classical myths of metamorphosis explored the boundaries between humanity and nature and our relationship to the animals and the gods. Likewise, the fantastical technologies that were once the hallmarks of insanity enable us to articulate the possibilities, threats and limits of the tools that are extending our minds into unfamiliar dimensions, both seductive and terrifying.
Originally posted by totallackey
Some people have lived nearly their entire lives within the confines of the Truman Show. Case in point: Tiger Woods. Made his debut at age of 2 on the Mike Douglas Show. Has had a constant media presence in his life from that point to now. How anyone could live their life in this context is beyond me.
Having said that, the idea that someone is watching on a 24/7 basis is as old as organized religion.
Originally posted by NoRegretsEver
Yeah its not just god who we are to think see everything either.
Its also santa,god, the devil, your parents, etc,. We live in a really paranoid world, and not because of mental disorders, but because many of us are taught that way.
A Dutch organisation, Mars One, is seeking volunteers for a flight that would take them to the Red Planet and leave them there. The costs would be covered, it's hoped, by TV rights and corporate sponsorship.
the latest number of people to sign up so far: 30,000 people
Space Cadets is a British television program made by Zeppotron (a division of Endemol UK) for Channel 4. Presented by Johnny Vaughan, it was aired across ten consecutive nights beginning on 7 December 2005, with the final episode aired on the evening of 16 December 2005. It was accompanied by a behind-the-scenes sister show Space Cadets: The Satellite Show, with interviews and phone-ins.
This was something I used to think about when I was a child, and I remember it particularly well because when the movie came out I thought they'd taken my idea! I would often spend a lot of time on my own so day-dreaming was common and ideas like this and others would be thought about in some detail. Looking back I think i used them In times of stress they would serve as a nice distraction.
I do wonder if some delusions/psychoses may come about due to these psychological techniques being appied, people delving back to thoughts and day-dreams from when they were children as a distraction from emotional trauma. If doing so has a positive effect it may be frequently utilised, and over time the thoughts become more lucid. It may even develop into brief dissociated states of 'acting out' the day-dreams (psychoses).
This isn't based on research, but my own thoughts, which are in part based on my experience of working with people who occasionally experience episodes of psychoses.