Compulsory mental illness

[Made once again a few little “improvements” to this essay, overnight.]


Men are easier to brainwash than women. This, anyway, has been my experience through the last six decades or so. We (men) have this marvellous ability to “compartmentalize,” as persons of both sexes have observed. We can, as Mozart perfectly exemplified, “do this as if that isn’t happening.” Our strength is also our weakness, however.

This is why, really, only women can write novels. For the writer of a novel must remember everything that is going on at once, the way women do. She cannot forget, in one scene, what is happening in another, any more than she can forget what each of her children is up to, including the big one to whom she is apparently married.

Playwrights (always men) have it charted out, and thus may go back and fix things that held still in their absence. One need not live with a play, the way one lives with a novel. Yet if it’s not on the chart, they will write howlers. Take Shakespeare, for instance, in his play, Hamlet, whose protagonist is a university lad of twenty, if that. Suddenly he becomes thirty in the arithmetic of the gravedigger’s scene. (Had his wife been with him in London, poor Will would not have made mistakes like this.)

Now, a woman can be thirty in the afternoon, and twenty in the evening, but knows, in at least the one case, that she is lying. Verily, I have sometimes thought, that it is this freedom from delusion — this ability to remember one is lying, and why — in which the superiority of women consists. (Or consisted, prior to circa 1962.)

Compare, if you will, a gentleman of seventy whom I watched trying to charm an attractive young lady, the other day. A very intelligent man, I should say, and rich, and well-educated, too. Yet he had genuinely forgotten his age, along with the fact that he is married. It was not just vanity. The male ability to compartmentalize came into it.

Of course, gentle reader may attempt to refute me by citing examples of feminine men, and masculine women. One ingenuous soul once tried to argue, for instance, that Marcel Proust was a man. How silly. George Eliot, maybe, but not Proust. Then he thought of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, whom he proposed as novelists. Switching from catcher to umpire, I had to declare a strike-out, for while both these Russian fellows were men, they hardly wrote novels. They wrote tracts, the way men do. These merely resembled novels.

No: as Lady Murasaki is my witness, only women can write novels. Or should be allowed to.

Men are single-minded, as everyone knows, and this is the reason we are so easy to brainwash. All we require is a little torture. Women, by contrast, cannot be defeated by torture, for as will be seen from the argument above, they have won before it starts. They will say whatever you want, but never believe it. Whereas, a man will actually believe what the lash has been explaining, just as if it were true, and his previous beliefs had been proved unsound. Hence the success of the liberal “science” of Behaviourism.

“Give me a no-nonsense, down-to-earth Behaviourist, a few drugs, and simple electrical appliances,” Auden observed, “and in six months I will have him reciting the Athanasian Creed in public.” (Now, Auden was that exceptional thing, a woman who could write poetry.)

But of course, a good brain-washer does not need to use torture — unless we count telly and the Internet as torture devices. The behaviourist simply lets you know which views are not accepted, and which must be repeated to get along in life. A woman will play along, in a smiling way, knowing she’s been asked to talk nonsense. But a man, in his simplicity, may try to resist. And when he breaks, he breaks. He may look like he is just playing along, but actually his whole brain is being overwritten. Which in turn is why only men can take “the news” seriously. They have been deranged by it.

An example comes to hand in the person of a man who has refused to surrender. It was sent me by a dear woman friend. His name is Tyson Fury (I have not made this up), and he is a heavyweight boxing champion. A man’s man, if I ever saw one.

He is now under investigation in England for “hate crimes.” This is because he expressed Catholic views on sodomy, and perhaps some other matters, such as abortion, and paedophilia. Then topped it off by affirming Christ. And, as if that were not enough, he also slighted His Earthly Highness, Prince Satan. Under interrogation, Mr Fury has told his interlocutors to go speak with the Pope in Rome, who has the same views (he thinks). To my knowledge, he (Fury) still hasn’t cracked. Count one pugilist round for sanity.

The lady who sent me this admires him, as I do, but put that aside. She called attention to a statement from the police, instead:

“At 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday we received a report of a hate crime following comments made about homosexuality on the Victoria Derbyshire programme. … As with all allegations of hate crime, we are taking the matter extremely seriously and will be attending the victim’s address to take a statement in due course.”

This is side-slap funny. At least, it is hard to suppress convulsive laughter when one finds the complainant is preparing some sort of “victim impact statement” — on the basis of having seen Mr Fury on TV. Meanwhile, we are told, some one hundred and thirty thousand lunes and lunettes have signed a petition against him. (Though from what I know, that is only a small sampling of their number in England.)

Now, the police spokesman was presented as a woman, which may seem to damage my theory. But we can hardly know for sure these days: perhaps it was a male officer, cross-dressing. Or an actual woman, and therefore speaking tongue-in-cheek (the “in due course” tends to suggest this.) Or then again she might be one of those post-1962 women, which is to say, not really a woman at all but rather, one of the lunettes.

Through brainwashing we have come to such confusion. For as I’ve learnt, sometimes to my cost, the straight-face isn’t necessarily deadpan any more. Often these “spokespersons” for authority have no sense of humour at all — having become so mentally and spiritually vacated that, while what they say is technically insane, they aren’t aware of it. Moreover, the disease is passed down the ranks, by order, and everyone below says the same thing, too, sans any outward sign of intelligence.

I call this phenomenon, “CMI,” which stands for, “compulsory mental illness.” It is a very male phenomenon. It occurs when the mind is impinged upon by torture, or some reasonable facsimile thereof, and the male inability to hold two thoughts in mind simultaneously — such as, “yes, alas, I have to say this, and yes, of course, it is fluffed batfeathers in a pillow of shrivelled gossamer” — has the effect of suppressing lucidity altogether.