I have written about the fact that for humans to be happy and to have mental health, we must be delusionally optimistic. If one has a precise and realistic perspective of life, then it necessarily follows that one will be mentally ill.
I have written multiple business plans and some of them have been funded. With every plan, I always had difficulty writing the financial projection parts of the plans. I never had difficulty making the projections, in fact, my financial projections have all been shockingly accurate–such as when I designed the first year’s budget for The Austin Swing Syndicate. The organization was new, and I did not have access to any records of any similar organizations, but I still wrote a budget that projected the first year’s cash flow to within a few percentage points.
When writing the business plans, my perspective was realistic–and that is why I had trouble writing that part of the plans. Eighty percent of companies fail within the first five years. If someone had made realistic projections for all of those companies, then 80% of the projections would have showed bankruptcy. No one invests in a plan that projects bankruptcy. In fact, people do not invest in companies that project a modest return. Investors want to see insane returns in the business plans.
Said differently, a well-written business plan is delusionally optimistic about the financial success of the company. Just as a mentally healthy person is delusionally optimistic about life. A business plan that attracts investment presents an optimistic delusion with which the investor agrees.
Now, consider when there is discord in a group that must act together or make a decision together. What is a common criticism that people levy? “You are not being realistic!” Of course, if everyone in the group is mentally healthy, then no one in the group is being realistic. Since everyone is delusionally optimistic, why is there disagreement? The disagreement comes from the magnitude of the delusions. Harmony within a group is not when everyone is seeing life realistically: harmony comes when everyone is “on the same page.” Said differently, the harmony of the group comes from the harmony of the group member’s delusions.
The key to solidarity and group harmony is harmonizing our delusions. It is emphatically not about realism. Since it is not about realism, possibly the worst tool to use to achieve harmony is a well-reasoned argument. Reality is incompatible with delusion, so a realistic argument is counter productive.
Rhetoric, not reason, is the path to consensus building.