Friday, 2 October 2009
Druids: Deluded but loving it
Type "Druids delusions" into Google Scholar and you'll find a link to a 1999 paper by a gaggle of psychologists from University College London.
The paper is the result of their experiment to find out if the sort of wacky ideas that could get you banged up in a psychiatric hospital are common in the general public. Using four groups of people; ordinary punters, Christians, Hare Kishnas and Druids, they assessed them all on how happy they were and how wacky their views were.
The results were quite interesting. Ordinary folk were, as you might imagine, neither happy nor deluded. The Christians, interestingly, were mildly deluded but also mildly less happy than the ordinary bods. The Hare Krishnas and the Druids meanwhile turned out to be both deluded enough to be diagnosed as schizophrenic but happy enough to pass as normal.
The Druids and the Hare Krishnas scored pretty much the same on all points, except that the psychologists reported the Druids as having "higher levels of self reported delusional idealation". In other words the difference between a Druid and a Hare Krishna is that the Druid knows he's mad!
So there we go. Ordinary folks may poor scorn, the Christians may say we're going to hell, but we can look them both in the eye and carry merrily on our way - until they cart us off to the funny farm.