So this is something I’ve been wrestling with for a while. Often times someone “knows” something erroneous. Example: A ton of people “knew” the world was flat for hundreds of years. When a person “knows” something as an absolute truth, it’s very hard to persuade them otherwise. It is possible for many people, but it takes a mountain of evidence, a lot of persuasive arguments, and a lot of time to stew on that information before they come around. It’s extremely rare for someone to change their view on what they believe to be absolutely true on a dime. It becomes exponentially more difficult when the person wraps their self-identity (or at least part of it) in that “truth” somehow. This is quite evident in the academic communities where often breakthroughs aren’t ever accepted by key figures in these communities, but once those individuals die, pretty much everyone gets on board with the breakthrough. That’s not always the case, but you’d be surprised how much certain academic fields are advanced with the deaths of prominent members of that field.
So, it’s really hard to know when one of our “truths” turns out to be false, but, when presented with enough evidence and arguments, and when we’re objective enough, we can come to terms with it and accept the facts. But what about if we’re delusional?
Being delusional is a lot like believing a fallacy as fact. But there’s one key difference. Your delusions will keep your mind from accepting the new data and arguments presented. Just as in the first situation, you will believe you’re right (normal) when you’re actually wrong (delusional). But no amount of evidence or facts will convince you that you’re delusional. So the deluded and the normal have identical views as far as who is deluded: I’m not, you are.
By following that train of thought, how can I (or anyone else) actually be sure I’m not actually delusional? And after I realize this and become open to the possibility that I could be delusional, that just makes my worldview that much more hazy. I’m no closer to finding out if I’m delusional, but I’ve introduced a bunch of doubt about, oh, pretty much everything I “know” as true.
If you’re delusional and not open to the possibility that you’re delusional, I don’t think anything can be done. But it seems like a deluded person who *is* open to the possibility should have a way of figuring this out.
So my question is, how does one know when they’re delusional?