One man showed up at a federal building, asking for release from the reality show he was sure was being made of his life.
Another was convinced his every move was secretly being filmed for a TV contest. A third believed everything — the news, his psychiatrists, the drugs they prescribed — was part of a phony, stage-set world with him as the involuntary star, like the 1998 movie The Truman Show.
Researchers have begun documenting what they dub the “Truman syndrome,” a delusion afflicting people who are convinced that their lives are secretly playing out on a reality TV show. Scientists say the disorder underscores the influence pop culture can have on mental conditions.
“The question is really: Is this just a new twist on an old paranoid or grandiose delusion … or is there sort of a perfect storm of the culture we’re in, in which fame holds such high value?” said Dr. Joel Gold, a psychiatrist affiliated with New York’s Bellevue Hospital.
1. Encourage narcissism as a means of control.
2. Lift some up above others for either social excellence or pity factors.
3. Watch everyone else try to get a piece of that pie, unaware that with 300 million of them almost all will be losers.