DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR: IDENTIFYING AND DEALING WITH PLASTIC PERSUASION

DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR: IDENTIFYING AND DEALING WITH PLASTIC PERSUASION

Your friend may be suffering from delusions of grandeur, a type of mental health problem causing skewed perceptions of reality which may be treated by mental health professionals using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Other approaches for convincing him of his status as a toy could include pointing out his lack of eligibility for astronaut training programs or demonstrating the inadequacy of his plastic ensemble for interstellar travel. Should these efforts prove ineffective, a brief overview of the biological characteristics of human bodies which your friend cannot possibly possess should aid in proving his standing as a plastic action figure.

1. Consider the Possibility of Delusions of Grandeur

  • One approach for convincing your friend that he is a toy rather than a space hero is to consider the possibility that his beliefs are a product of delusions of grandeur. Delusions of grandeur can be the result of mental health disorders and involve the belief that a person is a super-powered, famous, or otherwise unrealistic version of themselves.
  • Mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia, and major depression with psychotic features may all result in delusions of grandeur due to the tendency for psychotic disorders of this nature to alter sufferers’ sense of reality.
  • Characteristics indicating delusional thinking include the subject maintaining beliefs that others know to be untrue and refusing to listen to alternate points of view, the implausibility or impossibility of the content of the subject’s delusion, and the noticeable impacts of the delusional beliefs on the subject’s daily life.
  • Research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy may show success in the treatment of delusional thoughts. Loved ones of those suffering are encouraged to seek the assistance of mental health professionals.
  • If delusions of grandeur are disproven, a similar alternative that may explain and dissuade your friend’s behavior could be the Dunning-Kruger effect, an example of cognitive bias in the field of psychology. The Dunning-Kruger effect describes a kind of meta-ignorance in which individuals with little knowledge or experience tend to overestimate their own competence because of their inability to recognize how much they don’t know.

2. Demonstrate That He Does Not Meet Minimum Standards for Astronaut Selection

  • To directly address your friend’s claims that he is an astronaut, consider demonstrating his inability to meet basic criteria for astronaut training. NASA, for example, has a set of strict standards governing eligibility for their astronaut selection programs.
  • Per NASA, Astronaut Candidates must hold a relevant bachelor’s degree to be eligible, with advanced degrees being preferable.
  • A children’s toy would have no opportunity or funding with which to complete years of rigorous study from accredited institutions, and is therefore unlikely to possess the required educational background for astronauts.
  • NASA also requires Astronaut Candidates to pass a “long-duration space flight physical”, which requires several specific physical characteristics, such as 20/20 vision and a standing height between 5’2″ and 6’3″.
  • Though your friend may possess perfect vision, his status as a plastic toy for children suggests that his stature is likely rather small. Pointing out his failure to meet minimum height requirements for astronaut training may serve as convincing proof that he cannot be who he claims.

3. Show Evidence That His Plastic Spacesuit Would Not Withstand the Vacuum of Space

  • Assuming your plastic friend is outfitted in a similarly plastic space suit, another option for convincing him of his status as a toy could be to show him evidence that his suit would not safely withstand the vacuum of space
  • Research indicates that modern spacesuits are incredibly complex, pressurized garments designed to withstand the extreme conditions of space. Today’s spacesuits, also known as Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), are relatively rare as they cost over $10,400,000 each to construct.
  • Current EMUs consist of 14 separate protective layers and weigh more than 275 lbs. Each layer is composed of different specialized polymers, such as Neoprene, Kevlar, and Mylar, with the hardened upper torso portion of the suits being constructed primarily of fiberglass.
  • NASA EMUs also boast cooling tubes to push water throughout astronauts’ suits, a wide array of electronic circuitry, and polycarbonate shells for helmet enclosures.
  • An examination of your friend’s space suit will likely reveal that it is constructed from polybutylene terephthalate or a similar inexpensive plastic rather than layers of protective synthetic material, and would not adequately shield him from the dangers of outer-space heroism.

4. Demonstrate His Lack of Human Biological Characteristics

  • If other tactics fail, a simple demonstration of your friend’s lack of human biological characteristics may aid in convincing him of his status as a plastic action figure rather than a human space hero. The true human body displays many traits that should be easily proven to be absent among toys.
  • Human bodies develop throughout their lifespans, growing and changing from conception through old age. An examination of your friend’s lifetime and memories would reveal aging and other changes to his appearance over time if he were human, but are likely not present since he is in fact a toy.
  • Elastic skin to protect from disease and moderate temperature, as well as continuously-growing hair and nails, are significant characteristics of living humans which your friend is unlikely to possess. Look for signs of hardened plastic skin and a lack of body hair or nails to indicate that your friend may not be a real human being.
  • Human bodies contain a respiratory system for the essential process of absorbing oxygen by breathing in surrounding air and exhaling carbon dioxide waste. An examination of your friend for signs of inhalation or exhalation will likely return no results, as he is a plastic toy with no need for oxygen absorption.
  • Your friend’s general lack of human biological characteristics, his inability to breathe or smell or catch a cold, should indicate beyond a doubt that he is a plastic action figure rather than a living space astronaut.

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