HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsA case of multiple personality disorder!

A case of multiple personality disorder!

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I am no psychologist, but enjoy objectively analysing extreme human behaviour. An obsession with best sellers recently led me to legendary novelist Sidney Sheldon’s Tell Me Your Dreams where serial murderer Ashley Patterson exhibits symptoms of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD).
Myth has it that “too intelligent” people sometimes show signs of coherent insanity — eventually dying prematurely of drug-induced stress or manic depression!

I refer to this curious science because I am convinced strange behaviour of some our “intellectual” politicians easily equates with Ms Patterson’s conditions. The danger being those we have elected as leaders, now masquerading as paragons of virtue and fountains of knowledge, are MPDs — where there “is the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states
. . . that recurrently take control of behaviour”. (Wikipedia).

It is logical to expect former liberators to suffer from post-war syndrome. But if one “deserted” from the camps to be a student activist, became a doctoral candidate, college lecturer, democracy activist, divorcee, NGO fraud suspect, “multiple” party member, musician, praise singer and anti-libertarian — all in one lifetime — they’d better urgently seek MPD therapy! At the slightest of intellectual provocation, they burst into tantrums of self-defence, ideological “mood swings” and “split personality” to become hostile to criticism.
What is not of their creation they consider “shallow and irrelevant”. They measure political achievement only according to their holographic hallucinations. Their advice, when followed, only leads gullible admirers to the proverbial lake of molten lava.

Sheldon reminded me of a long-forgotten term — alter ego. He moulds Patterson around scientific evidence that MPD is “a psychiatric disorder characterised by having at least one ‘alter’ personality that controls behaviour. The ‘alters’ are said to occur spontaneously and involuntarily, and function more or less independently of each other.” Closer scrutiny of these “habitual flipfloppers” shows how such multiple alters control their lives. They confront every challenge with a different character — excessive bouts of amnesia being a constant feature of their behaviour.

Had my father been a victim of Gukurahundi, would I unashamedly exalt the perpetrators — even making excuses for their contempt for reparations? “Demonic possession” of biblical proportion! MPD “has been attributed to the experience of pathological levels of stress which disrupts normal functioning and forces some memories, thoughts and aspects of personality from consciousness”.

The extreme behaviour of Ms Patterson — romantic, computer wizard, artist, serial killer — where she assumed these alters was eventually explained as consistent with repressed memories of childhood abuse. According to one Dr Phillip Coons — the “multiple personality legion” who confronted the Biblical Messiah at the seaside could as well have reincarnated today as some of our “learned” political leaders!

The viciousness with which logic and common sense are attacked, a seething tendency towards vengeance and contempt for truth reflects a deficit in brain structure and biochemistry resulting in “self-gratification” — a holier-than-thou, Mr Know-it-all attitude. The opprobrium is one of grotesque daredevil cult worshipping fuelled with incessant partisan verbosity.

Such people ingratiate themselves with the establishment as an excuse for failure of self-sustenance while covering up past misdemeanours. Under this veneer of intellectual rationale lies a disturbing trend of not only praising the perpetrators, but also a compulsive desire to identify with them.

After 32 years of post-independence tyranny, we Zimbabweans whose behaviour is guided by a universal moral compass must use our single alters to vote misguided nationalists and banish them from power. There are those genuinely afflicted with MPD. They deserve our sympathy. But in 2013, the little freedom that we have must be used as an instrument of exorcism.

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