Insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.
- RD Laing, psychiatrist and author (1927-1989)
One dictionary defines insanity as a "relatively permanent disorder of the mind." Who decides that the dysfunctional condition of one mind is "relatively permanent?"
In times past people whose behaviour strayed too far from the norms of society were either imprisoned or incarcerated in insane asylums. Today the deciding factor of insanity seems to be whether or not a person might be a danger to themselves or to others. Even that danger must be a physical one, as people who are emotional dangers to others or to themselves are allowed to move freely among us.
Is the world around us insane? In some senses it is. We allow politicians who are known to have devious or suspicious pasts and beliefs to persuade us that they have the best plans for the next government. We vote for candidates who themselves make promises or their parties make promises that we know very well they will turn their backs on if elected.
We believe people who lie to us, even if we know they are lying. That may be someone who tells us we are stupid or incompetent or a leader who tells us to be afraid of an enemy who knows nothing about us and wants nothing to do with us.
We allow ourselves to be propagandized by television commercials, and the minds of our children to be programmed by them, without taking any trouble to either learn the truth about the products they advertise or teaching our children the skills they need so that they can tell when someone is trying to twist their minds.
We lock our doors at night against evils that may not exist when anyone with an IQ greater than a doorknob would not invade a home when the owners are home. And we leave large areas of easily broken glass windows available on our homes while we put multiple locks and deadbolts on our doors, as if no thief would be discourteous enough to not come through the proper door.
We work excessive hours to earn a mighty income so that we have enough money to buy recreational toys (and drugs) we barely have spare time enough to use. We value leisure time, in theory, but don't know how to relax when we have it. So we go shopping, even to the extent of choosing vacation destinations where the shopping is known to be good.
We take excessive and shocking amounts of drugs, both prescription and "recreational" because we don't live healthy lives and need something to protect us from the unhealthy lifestyles we have decided are necessary for us.
We pity those who have emotional breakdowns or who retreat into various medically accepted forms of mental illness because they couldn't cope with their lives using the coping skills at their disposal.
Rather than trying to figure out what is insane and what is "normal," a condition which keeps changing itself over time, we should plot a course for our own lives that is within our ability to cope and that will deliver to us the kinds of rewards we most want from life.
And not listen to all those crazy people out there who tell us different.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to help each person carve a path of sanity for themselves through a seemingly insane world.
Learn more at http://billallin.com/