Are you schizophrenic? Please raise your hand!

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The word schizophrenia scientifically refers to a "split personality" which could arise from genetic, neural, psychological reasons or due to certain drugs. There are also social reasons; it is believed that living in urban environments has been always found a risk factor for schizophrenia. One of the famous split personalities we all know are "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", they represented two split characters with different moral standards. For the layman, there is a less dramatic definition, we call a person schizophrenic when he has different ethical values which change according to the circumstances around, or when a person is happy one minute and sad the next, or when a person who changes his mind, but mostly its about a person who is sometimes good and other times evil in a perplexing manner. It is true, good and evil exist in everyone, with different levels represented also in different ways; some people do a great deal trying to balance their good and evil sides, some do a great deal to boost their good side, while others spend an enormous effort trying to hide their evil side. You expect a schizophrenic person to be very obvious, an extreme double character who leads a double life….well, I am not talking here about a person with mental or psychological disorder, I am more concerned about behavioral schizophrenia (if I could call it that!), people who don’t transform by night or change after gulping secret potions, people we meet everyday who have double standards.


Let me be more specific, remember the add about the new traffic law where everyone blames the other for something while justifying what he does for himself, its more like that, the schizophrenia I am talking about is leading a normal, regular life while doing completely the opposite at a certain point. Does this ring a bell? I have seen people of every schizophrenic imaginable degree and I have tried to identify and categorize them from my point of view.


There are many types of behavioral schizophrenia:


Pseudo-religious: there are people who claim they are very religious, they stick to certain superficial rules about clothes and prayer but usually slouch all day in their office doing nothing, or spend their time chatting or gossiping or playing solitaire while pretending they are doing their job with efficiency. There are women who never skip a prayer but think its ok to talk behind their friends back. There are men who ban their wives from talking to male colleagues while they justify hitting on a female co-worker. There are parents who preach their kids about fidelity, but rationalize accepting a bribe to raise their kids well.


Good on paper only:  the people who are perfect on paper, if you ask for a description they fit every crane and notch of anyone’s picture of perfection, the looks, the career, the material things. When you talk to them they say all the right things, they clearly know right from wrong, could make true judgments about other people’s actions and probably they never admit they are wrong, or maybe they admit it, but their wrong is never to be judged as cruel as they judge people around. When you look closer at their actions, you find they are just hollow speeches, in real life; they never do as they say.


Good as long as there are no problems: there are people who are very good and balanced during good times but their bad side shows up during terrible conditions. Like the woman who thanks God for everything as long as everything is there, but starts complaining about injustice as soon as one thing is taken from her. Like the man who talks about the sacred bond of marriage as long as there are no other options, but runs after another woman as soon as the chance appears. Like the woman who judges her friends if they did anything wrong without considering what she would do if she was caught up in the same situation, and typically falls into the same dilemma when faced with the same problem, only then she would justify her actions and ironically expects other people to understand.


The multi-facet or chameleon: there are people who are ready to be what you want them to be, they color and change according to the situation, if you are telling naughty jokes they will laugh with you and if you are giving a lecture about religious beliefs they will add a verse or two. If you love the system they will praise it and if you hate the system they will fan your anger, like an iguana, these people rise to every occasion, their good and bad sides are negotiable.


You find a lot of people who are incomprehensible; the well defined characters are replaced with ambiguous personalities who make you wonder at times if the person you are dealing with suffers from simple behavioral schizophrenia or in dire need of medical attention. We spend time trying to break the codes of people or go around so trusting and wake up with a bang and a big bump on our heads.


Why aren’t people simply good or bad? In the old black and white movies you could recognize the people from the way they looked, the villain was obviously a villain who had a crooked nose or looked ugly with a scar and the good guy was clean, elegant and handsome and obviously the good guy. You could clearly differentiate between the well behaved and the ill mannered, the innocent and the vulgar, the rich and the poor. And even if someone was pretending, there had to be a tell tale, usually the bad person had a creepy aura which gave a hint that he should not be trusted. But nowadays people are becoming a bizarre package of good intentions, ambitious and dedication mixed up with hypocrisy, selfishness and negativity.


Honestly, I have never been an admirer for vagueness, I prefer more to have a definite, well-structured situation or people to deal with rather than spend time trying to figure out what or who am I dealing with. However, I don’t claim that I have never been trapped in a schizophrenic situation nor performed a schizophrenic act myself; I think that we all suffer from a certain degree at one point or another in our lives, it’s just scary to accept it as a matter of fact rather than try to change it.


Whether seeking perfection or trying to hide a defect, the more we try to stick to a" one personality and one moral condition" as much as possible, the more we would make it easier to identify ourselves and identify each other for who we truly are, or else, there would come a time when we would admire burglars or serial killers for their upfront honesty and braveness for not pretending to be someone they are not, more than we do for stylish and sophisticated people!



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