Monday, January 10, 2005

North Korean Paranoid Delusions

Just when you thought you've heard everything, you read this:

STALINIST North Korea has stepped up its campaign against long hair and untidy attire which its media says represents a "corrupt capitalist" lifestyle, reports said.

North Korean state television, radio and newspapers have led the grooming drive, urging people to cut their hair short and to dress tidily, the BBC said in a dispatch citing broadcasts from Pyongyang.

Men were asked to have crew cuts with hair growing up to five centimetres in a twice-a-month visit to the barber, it said.

Not only health and hygiene but also intelligence was cited by the North Korean media as reasons for the crackdown on appearance.

Pyongyang television noted long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy, according to the BBC.

Thinking consumes a great deal of nutrition also, so must be avoided at all costs, I imagine.

This story actually reminds me of patients I have had over the years with bizarre paranoid delusions. One was a man who believed that his chronic itching was caused by microorganisms on the skin that even the electron microscope could not see (he was a microbiologist). This itching was responsible, in his opinion, for why he was unable to be successful with women (the microorganisms would jump from his skin to theirs and make them itch, too). Or the patient who believed that chemicals injected into him secretly by the CIA were now in his hair follicles and radiating a power that sapped him of sexual energy. This explained why he couldn't get an erection.

I have loads of examples like this. Perhaps Kim Jong Il believes that all that hair had made people eat too much, hence the fact that his People's Republic is starving to death--they ate all the food! It's the fault of all those long-haired capitalistic pigs.

Do you see why paranoia and projection are such useful defenses?

No comments: