A Conversation for On Madness (parts 1 and 2)
jenks Started conversation Feb 8, 2002
This is really interesting.
I am an Assistant Psychologist and throughout my first degree (4 years) the most interesting essay I had to write was titled "Are you normal and how do you know?"
I spent weeks thinking about that one..... go on, just try to justify why you are normal (or not). If you are, would you still be normal if flown to New Guinea and dropped off in an isolated valley?
This is a topic that will do your head in but makes for some great late night conversation after the pub has shut!
Zaphod II Posted Feb 8, 2002
To think all is normal is a sort of madness, don't you think? To live as we do (over-populating the earth, polluting the environment, damaging the ozone layer, slaughtering endangered species, etc) is definitely madness. So is the way the government *mishandled* (in my opinion mr. moderator) the recent 'foot and mouth' outbreak.
So can we be sane in a mad world? I don't think so, ipso facto we're all bonkers. By the way, forget New Guinea. How about some of the more exotic cities closer to home. Or coming from the north of England to the south is quite traumatic and wierd (sorry, you may not be from these shores). No wonder we tend to stick to 'normal' in the statistical sense. It gets really confusing otherwise.
perhaps I should have made reference to Monty Python's Meaning of Life in my entry since it portrays what 'madness' is all about.
What conclusions did you reach about your normality?
PS If you've got any different euphemisms for being 'slightly crazy' then there's still time to include.
jenks Posted Feb 13, 2002
My conclusion was that normality is a product of the moment and context - the people you are with, the decade/country/area/street/group of friends you are in dictates your level of normality. Everyone has their own perception of what is normal and they determine this by observing their world and picking which particular normality they want to subscibe to. People can also change and still be normal - do you behave exactly the same at work and at home? Probably not - you tailor your behaviour in order to be normal in the two situations - then you get your people who thrive on not being normal (eddie izzard for example)
I could go on, but must do some work now!
"Mad as a bicycle"
"Mad as a monkey on a trike"
"Couple of sandwiches short of a picnic"
"Not the sharpest tool in the shed"
"Suffering from a marble deficiency" are my favourites!
Zaphod II Posted Feb 13, 2002
Jenks, I always think of Lee Evans (comedian) as personification of madness. Or rather he sees (himself mad) the madness in others and articulates it in comical terms. Was it Charlie Chaplin who observed that comedy is tragedy seen from afar.
Anyhow, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject. Very interesting, indeed. I have read your *synonyms* and duly incorporated those I didn't have already. (Mad as a bicycle? Where does this come from? So when my bike breaks down it's really having a psychotic episode? Must see the *trickcycyclist* or *cycle-ologist* to get me back on track). . . .well, maybe not.
Have you considered that we're all in myth all of the time? That madness is a myth, that every aspect of life is governed by a different myth. Our present dominant collective myth is science and technology, very Apollonic (rational, structured and controlled). I think madness is whatever doesn't sit comfortably into this style of imagination.
As I questioned, Is normality a useful measure for madness? Can we not see it through different eyes. Yes, you're probably right. It's what myth we 'buy into' (or 'buys into us') that determines our worldview. Lecture over.
I could go on too. Incidentally, have you heard of James Hillman?
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