We are all capable of delusions, Gondor says, in a warning about lack of critical thinking.
An exploration into the limitations of human ability to learn, The DELUDE: A Philosophical Journey, by Yoji K. Gondor, examines the behavior of people who fear change and adhere to preconceived ideas about politics, religion, and other topics that shape modern society. This type of person, labeled as a “delude” by Gondor, clings to a narrow range of opinions that guide an individual’s beliefs with unwavering resolve. The delude is found throughout human interaction, and each one of us is capable of exhibiting such behavior.
The expository narrative is written from the author’s first-person perspective. He writes that “a genuine delude has no skeptical worries or awareness of his condition.” Divided into seven chapters, the book delves into the delude’s manner of processing faulty ideas, based on limited thinking, usually absorbed from family members or social groups during childhood.
According to Gondor, deludes tend to be conservative in their beliefs and convinced that their opinions are irrevocably true, despite evidence to the contrary. Philosophical quotations and two short essays, as well as a helpful glossary of terms and reference sources, conclude this short book.
Additional quotes from noted philosophers highlight ideas discussed within the text. One example, from Plato, warns of the adverse consequences of ignorance, following the author’s statement that “a deluded fool is incapable of perceiving or accepting what is true or what is false.” Gondor believes that this narrow view comes from ingrained prejudices and limited cognitive ability, and he asserts that deluded people lack the capacity to objectively consider opposing or multiple perspectives. Consequently, they cling to the positions they understand with single-minded determination and often become radical advocates of those opinions. For example, an avid environmentalist who argues adamantly for the preservation of old-growth forests but also drives a large gas-guzzling and polluting truck through those same woods would be considered a delude.
Convoluted syntax frequently makes the complex ideas expressed in this book difficult to follow. For instance, when discussing the steadfast beliefs of certain religious groups, the author writes that they have “chosen a long path that undertakes them further and further away from the legitimate way of getting to apprehend and achieve closeness to the wisdom required to understand our Creator.” Overly long paragraphs of such dense text further compromise readability.
Frequent use of “he or she,” “him or her,” “himself or herself” in reference to deludes would be less cumbersome if changed to either masculine or feminine pronouns or alternations between the two. A number of incorrect, misspelled, or misplaced words were noted which also impact the readability of the book.
Despite these shortcomings, The DELUDE will appeal to readers interested in a modern-day view of why some people hold so tenaciously to sometimes unreasonable beliefs.