In the psycho-analytical world, there is what's known as spectrum theory. One description of this methodology is as follows:
Therapies based on psychoanalytic theory and practice are individualized to the unique needs of each patient. They are best viewed on a continuum, a spectrum of approaches that are modulated according to the difficulties and the character structure of each person as they manifest themselves at that moment in the person's history. As people change over the course of treatment, the treatment modality may evolve accordingly. The many elements of a psychoanalytically based therapy move along that continuum in a way better calibrated on an analogic curve than on a digital scale with discrete gradations. This requires that the analyst or therapist be attuned to the subtle shifts in the dynamic equilibrium of the patient's mental life. Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy are distinct macro ways to categorize and code for psychoanalytically derived treatments that operate at different but overlapping micro ranges of the analogic continuum.
Keeping this paradigm in mind, today's focus is on one such spectrum that does not receive due attention, despite evidence to the fact that it is likely one of, if not the most, manifested pieces of the human psyche: idiocy.
We've all witnessed this phenomenon in action. It is so prevalent as to not be noticed in plain sight. Idiocy happens with such alarming frequency that, like breathing, the population considers it normal.
In the absence of any up-to-date articles on the subject of idiocy, let us take a look behind the curtain and examine how and why people are idiots.
Before continuing, we must realize that, just like everyone else, idiots are people too, and we must not judge them solely on the effect of their idiocy. Everyone has a backstory, and there are many factors involved in realizing idiocy, to any point along the idiocy spectrum we shall define here. We all know idiots we love dearly. The hope of this presentation is that we understand idiots better in the future and perhaps love them enough to help them be less idiotic going forward.
Everything exists on a spectrum. One of the most commonly-discussed in today's society is the autism spectrum. You can see the divergent ends of this spectrum quite easily. At one end, you have a high-functioning autistic person, such as the character Dr. Shawn Murphy on the hit TV show, "The Good Doctor." At the other, you see adults who are stuck in a permanent childhood, their intellectual development having seemingly just stopped somewhere along the way.
In many years of observing idiots in their natural habitats, it has been difficult to define the ends of the spectrum in regards to idiocy. It is the position of this humble presenter to highlight what may be the most simple way to learn the depths of idiocy as it stretches from one extreme to another.
In the GEICO Halloween commercial, "Good Choices", we are presented with 4 options for a group of young people who are in seeming life-threatening distress:
The running car.
Behind the chainsaws.
One must keep in mind that spectrum theory, as described at the beginning of this article, depends as much on the moment as it does various factors leading up to the moment you diagnose a person as an idiot. Getting into all those factors is beyond the scope of today's discussion. Keeping it simple, in the specific situation of being in a horror movie (something we all face often, thus the commercial can be seen as a training guide as much as anything), the stress of the moment is significant in the decision that is ultimately made.
We can see that the first two choices, the attic, and the basement, are quickly disposed of. I believe this is because of the frequency of those places being options in the plethora of horror movies presented to us through the many decades of film-making. If you go to the highest place, the attic or the lowest place, the basement, your options are quite obviously limited. You're boxed in and quite likely to die. Intuition has evolved to the point of often being able to eliminate those choices in favor or other options.
And so we are down to the two choices that make up the disparate ends of the idiocy spectrum, as defined by me. No further study is required, this is definitive. You may question my conclusions in the comments section. You may even question where I fall upon the idiocy spectrum. That is my hopeful goal. Understand the individual in making the decisions and understand their choices a little bit better.
Spectrum extreme #1: The running car.
It is somewhat interesting that the young girl who presents this option is the worst actor of the four, and the one presenting the highest level of emotion. She also presents the correct choice, which equates to the lowest point on the idiocy spectrum. A clear escape route is right in front of our four terrified horror movie actors. The car appears in fine working condition, the engine is running, the tires seem well-inflated, and the car is pointed AWAY from the danger. The person choosing this option, at least at this moment, is exhibiting extremely low amounts of idiocy.
Spectrum extreme #2: Behind the chainsaws.
As with all other options, there are nuances that can be, and probably should be, considered when attempting to exit the stressful horror movie situation. Since the commercial is only one minute in length (far shorter than this blog post), many assumptions must be made about the conclusion reached by these four idiots to hide behind the chainsaws. We must recognize the intent behind the commercial director's presentation of that particular place of refuge.
We see the barn, with the dozens of hanging chainsaws. Places like this DO exist, and so this is no hypothetical scenario. The actor playing the murderer chasing the movie protagonists is the proprietor of this chainsaw emporium and clearly uses these implements in his craft. We know he is well-versed in chainsaw murder by the fact he does have a 70s-style hockey mask to protect his eyes from the flying blood and guts that is the residue of his homicidal tendencies. He's no idiot. At an instant, he can grab any of the chainsaws and hack his prey to bits. He can even potentially use different chainsaws to remove the lifeblood from each of the four.
Hiding behind the chainsaws is most definitely the height of idiocy. We are spared the logical conclusion of this obviously terrible choice. We are left to wonder what would have happened had the group overlooked the blonde girl's bad acting and chosen the best escape route. Idiocy wins in the end. And it provides a simple way for us to identify the idiots we see in our own lives from this point on. Where do they lie on the running-car-to-hiding-behind-the-chainsaws spectrum?
Thank you for your time and consideration in this important matter. Be sure to use the methodology presented here when evaluating my presentation. Your feedback, as always, is welcomed. And last but not least, HAPPY HALLOWEEN. Make good choices!