We’re All Mad Here!
April 9, 2015
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing time and time again and expecting different results.”- Albert Einstein
First of all Einstein never said this. Though it’s understandable that if you wanted to attribute an intelligent sounding quote to someone, picking Einstein is not a bad way to go. Secondly, this is the most overused Einstein misquote in journalism. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results then a large number of writers are certifiable...myself included since I just quoted it...damn. Thirdly, this is not the definition of insanity. Insanity is clearly defined in Webster’s as a deranged state of the mind usually occurring as a specific disorder. Fourthly, is seems it would be impossible to truly define insanity depending what the defining of sanity is based on. A pause in awe at the fact that thirdly and fourthly are actually words.
If insanity were based on repetition with false expectations then do we live in a world of loonies?...ourselves included. How many of us have a set “daily routine”? We get up. We get dressed. We go to work. We come home. We go to bed. Rinse, wash and repeat. Yes there are additional activities and variations on the theme but generally it’s the same old same old day in and day out. So there’s the endless repetition, but are different results expected? It’s conceivable that there are those who see each day as a challenge with a potential turning point. However, for the most part, the old daily routine is seen as a necessary evil. There are no false hopes or expectations for a different outcome, it’s just an accepted part of life. Therein lies another cry toward insanity. What exactly is sane about working as soon as you’re old enough until you die?
While we’re on the subject of mass insanity (that being large groups of people sharing the same repetitive activity), it is necessary that we touch on religion. What would happen if a man ran into a crowded church during Sunday morning services, mounted the pulpit and said he had seen God in the parking lot? Furthermore, he tells the congregation that God told him that he needed to get everyone out of the building right now. What would happen? Be honest. They would think he was crazy. This mass of people who dress up to present themselves to a being that designed them to be naked. This group who kneel, close their eyes and whisper solemnly into their hands to a deity they have never seen nor heard. They would think the guy, who said he’d not only seen but spoken to God was a lu-lu.
This brings up a good and somewhat frightful question about defining sanity. If a person sees people or hears voices that others cannot they are deemed insane. But what are the standard parameters for deeming someone sane enough to determine another’s sanity? Or to put it simpler: how do we know that the people the “crazy” people are seeing and hearing aren’t there? Just because others can’t see or hear them means they’re not there? Let’s flip this around and look at it from the other side, this is the scary part. What if the “people” are there? What if only truly “sane” people can see and hear them? What if by not seeing them you’re attesting to your own dementia? If you argue this theory of reverse insanity or simply put it off are you doing it because it’s easier to point a finger and label people or because you’re afraid you may be the one needing a label?
While you ponder your own mental state let’s roll back around to where we started. If insanity can truly be defined as repetition with false expectations then my commitment is coming shortly. Each week plodding over this keyboard, searching to find...something. A good feeling perhaps? Or maybe a sense of satisfaction? Here of late I find neither. Something has to change. Thus I implore of you my dear reader please tune in next week for what may certainly be my final literary symphony. The end is nigh.
Questions, comments and column ideas are welcome via through the Focus, or just E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can FRIEND me on Facebook under Saw’s Brood!
Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!