Only the fewest of us will manage to go through life without losing our minds – if not to psychedelic drugs or radical philosophy, then to ambition or the rhythm of habit. Or to each other.

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4 Comments on “Insanity”

  1. Tara Beckham says:

    You should email me darling, I want to have a bit of a debate about your last post. I’ll be sending you an email. You know I write about insanity and would love to send you my philosophy for the insane.

    Gracias, Tara

  2. The post-modern critique of the concept of “insanity” was that it was merely a convenient “label” to control the display of idiosyncratic behaviour that those in charge did not approve of. Rather than just being tolerant, “the establishment” preferred to “medicate” such idiosyncratic behaviour with drugs and confinement. This critique was all too often true! How are we to decide when some behaviour is “objectively” insane or just inconvenient for other people? I suggest we start by re-defining the problem. The issue underlying all of this, on both sides of such a debate, is that of “social control.” However we label it, certain behaviours are not acceptable. What should be the criteria of such “unacceptability?” The least offensive appears to be “harm to oneself or others.” Harming oneself or others, unless in the circumstances of crime control or warfare, is not acceptable. Those who think such harming is acceptable therefore should be controlled, with means which are appropriate to the extent of their deviance. Are they insane? Indeterminate! Should we restrain them? Absolutely! (At least, that’s how this argument runs)

  3. Gorm says:

    Will: Here’s a rambling reply:

    I agree, but don’t care about social issues, as evil as that may sound. I’ll give you my litte-digested thoughts on the topic anyway: I can’t see that ostracizing unwanted elements from society by means of labeling them as insane is a big problem. Of course there might be some truth to the claim – after all, the definition of insanity is deeply problematic, because of the inaccessibility of the consciousness of others. And so it is necessarily influenced by practical and even political concerns. But this critique is, I think, a central topic in psychiatry that most if not all psychiatrist have devoted a fair amount of reflection to. Having seen Adam Curtis’ The Century of the Self, I can certainly see the point that medicating people to make them fit a preconceived notion of what is “normal” has occurred, even on a grand scale, in Western societies. But I don’t think this is a major problem any more. Except with regard to things like medicalizing children for “hyperactivity”, and the criminalizing of psychedelic drugs.

    Ok, I see I’m on the verge of convincing myself that your point is more relevant today than I first thought… But it’s still not something I feel the call to action against. I think because Norway is comparatively decent. I feel bad for kids in the US, but can’t really do anything but hope that a sane (!) global political power will emerge.

  4. the concept of insanity says:

    insanity if it exists,is a shared phenomenon,though not easily detectable.
    Insanity is such that it hides within everyone,and like a primitive hunter it seeks out
    its prey and discharges its lethal toxins into its victims,being people with the “proper”
    behaviour,that is people who strays from the path of what we percieve as ordinary.
    The victims are never the same,because our sense of reality is never the same.
    In short,people who land in psychriatic wards does so because our society is built upon a fixed perception of what is ordinary and sane and what is wrong and insane.
    The psychriatic ward is built upon the vision that the ordinary world must be protected from anyone who threatens the fixed sense of reality,and the threat must be silently put to sleep by a type of treatment that will ensure that the victims become unable to discover the roots of the evil tree.(very important)
    (the roots grow unseen under the dark soil,and no one would know,unless exposed)
    Exposure of our collective madness is something the ordinary world fears worse than
    the plague.
    But this,i believe is the very essence of the evil tree in the garden of death.
    The fear of coming apart will eventually make the unholy ugliness crumble and fall.
    Fear is the essence of all societies,where only the truly mad are free to feel anything beyond the ordinary fixation-obsession with control of oneself and others.

    Thank you Gorm,i enjoy your enlightening blog.

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