Working to solve the problem of no-platforming imaginary voices

Ever heard of schizoflatulalia? Probably not. It’s the condition where you hear voices in your burps.
In the early days you took drugs for it: medication which forced digestive gas downwards for bottom-end issue.  If gas wasn’t coming out of your mouth… no problem. Thankfully this crude solution was later supplanted by a more sophisticated approach that took the mind into account. CBT-based mindfulness procedures can now, by themselves, be used to train the body to reroute gas safely downwards.
Dinner at Bellini’s
And yet, even this approach is hit and miss i.e. we need to do more.
David Ennsenadi (above), diagnosed with the condition in his mid-twenties, thinks he knows what that ‘more’ should be. Inspired by the no-platforming movement on university campuses David wants the voices in his burps similarly no-platformed. Speaking to me over skype David outlined his logic:
‘If we can devise legislation to formally deny the legitimacy of the horrible voices I hear (after lunch and breakfast most often), it would I think go a long way to defeating those voices.’
And what’s horrible about the voices?
So how can they be defeated?
‘Petition the government. With legislation backing me and the many people like me, our rational minds would feel supported and armed to fight back. We would feel we could go to war on them, guns ablaze.’ He pauses with an uncertain smile. ‘Now I know what you’re thinking,’ he says, getting up from his chair and returning a moment later with a drawing pad.
‘You’re thinking some of those horrible, disgusting far-right ideas are themselves all about war and weapons, the right to bear arms etc, so wanting to go to war with these ideas, guns ablaze, is a bit contradictory. But actually it’s ok, because in my mind those weapons are only imaginary. Like in computer games.’
He shows me a sketch of how he imagines his internal war might look:
Superhero-against-delusion
‘On the left is me, or my rational mind – ‘Spem’ – Latin for ‘hope’. On the right is ‘Alium’, my helper, the one who keeps me going. She keeps hope alive. Partly through what she wears, haha.’
So how does David see himself proceeding?
‘I’ve been very impressed with a woman called Anita Sarkeesian and others like Zoe Quinn cleaning up social media, clamping down on harrassment and abuse. They went to the UN with their ideas and I think I can too.
The UN?
Yes, we could make it a UN resolution for the wicked, irrational mind to cease harassment. UN resolutions are often used in this way to draw a line and act as a legal basis for wars in real life – why not imaginary wars as well? Sometimes being the hero of your own imagination is the best thing you can be.’
We wish David the best of luck. However, we must point out that David’s choice of clothing for Alium (his imaginary warrior helper) is not exactly unproblematic in itself. We tweeted Anita and Zoe to find out if some of David’s internal imagery David needed work:
Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 15.48.41
The two women haven’t replied yet. We’ll update you when they do. We must do our utmost to make this work for David and all the other ‘burpos’!

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