I watched a documentary late last night about Terry A. Davis, a schizophrenic hacker who created his own OS from scratch. Davis believed that his TempleOS was the Third Temple prophecied in the Bible. It’s a long and sad story, and well worth a watch.
Terry ends up being hit by a train in The Dalles, a small town about an hour outside of Portland, iirc. He would’ve made his way up there at about the same time I moved away, and he could have been any number of clearly disturbed people who made Portland their temporary home.
The problem of schizophrenia seems to be an intractable one. Even with meds, Terry is delusional, believing all of the “classic” schizo tropes: the CIA is after him, he talks to God, he’s married to his celebrity crush. He’s a racist, and the n-bombs fly freely. It’s fascinating that a disease of the brain leads to such similar delusions. You’d think it’d be the opposite, that something like this would create wildly different outcomes. But it seems that God, the CIA, and racism are the pillars. I wonder what’s going on with that.
Overall, the documentary made me deeply sad. After that one, I watched “The Final Fantasy VII House” from the same channel. It’s about people who believe they are “soulbonders,” or reincarnated video game characters. That one was less impactful, but between the two of them, I had a somewhat fitful sleep last night.
Of course, Terry’s illness is not helped by the internet. The trolls egg him on, push him further and further into madness. There’s something to be said there not just about human cruelty, but about the nature of the internet itself. Why is it that this whole paradigm we’re in is so conducive to pumping up mental illness?
More thoughts on this later.