Is it possible to believe totally sanely that one is absolutely insane?

I like to think that most of the things that I think about are what the majority of the world would classify as “sane thoughts”. Of course I am sure most people would also like to feel this way about their thoughts. Which makes it quite ironic that a large majority of my “sane thoughts” are related to me thinking that other people are fucking nuts.

Initially the belief that I came up with was that everyone else is crazy. I think that stated in an appropriate way, (ex. A) I believe the entire human population is bag shit crazy.) this single belief seems, or at least it seems to me, rather easy to accept. It was precisely this,(refer to ex. A)) that got me questioning my belief. The problem I struggled with, was that if I was the only person who felt sane, would I actually be sane.

Now lets dive in to what it would mean to actually be sane. For me to say that I consider myself “sane” by definition, it would mean “Being in a healthy condition, not deranged, acting rationally, said of the mind”, according to Webster’s online dictionary. But what does that really mean? Perhaps that I take part in every day activities that constitute the lives of upstanding citizens. Things like school, work, family-matters, sports, manners (though my mother would not agree with the latter), etc. Or maybe it is that I choose to abide by a solid majority of laws, things like wearing clothes, driving on the right side of the road, not shooting people, and so on. I am not just giving these examples randomly, my reasoning is that most of the things I listed above could be why I am considered sane, are things that I do, but have no understanding of why I do them, or why they are important to others. Meaning roughly that I think sanity is me doing the things that I do not think about doing. On the flip side, to be insane by definition, I would have to be “Exhibiting unsoundness or disorder of mindnot sanemadderanged in minddeliriousdistracted.” Rightly so, that sounds pretty spot on as far as being the exact opposite of the definition for sane. My feelings towards sanity, force me to think that insanity is doing the things that I think about.

But how exactly did I get sanely insane? Your comment, (yes you) about me having to dig deeper into where the idea of my being insane actually came from, has a rather ironic ring to it. This idea, came from a combination of life experiences. From my “nuclear family” child hood, where my life was like a cookie cutter version of growing up. I don’t mean this in a negative way, I just want to illustrate a main point (in just a second). As an adolescent, life was easy. The schools I attended, the clubs I played sports for, the temple I attended, everything shared this sort of boringness among them. Is it bad for me to say that I never really dealt with strange or unknown things. Things were simple, and in short I lived what we will call a life of “no chaos”. Now, older and really hitting stride in my education, I see how bad things are on the outside, how terribly unsatisfying the “real world” can appear. What sort of background might someone have needed to feel differently than this? Seems rather simple when you think about it in a broad sense. By that I mean that someone who grew up amongst strange or unknown things, whether that be not knowing why your mom is scared of your dad, why you don’t have money for lunch today, why your mom drinks herself to sleep every night. All of the infinite possibilities of living a life “with chaos” would enable someone to believe that the world is not what it appears from the eyes of a child. Now I go about my time doing things that I feel are pointless because there is so much more that needs to be dealt with.

I sanely feel that I am insane because this world, the world that my adult self is starting to become a part of, is fucking insane (especially compared to the life I grew up knowing, and no one seems to give a damn.


4 thoughts on “Is it possible to believe totally sanely that one is absolutely insane?

  1. Jeffrey,

    OK, I’ll admit I loved this. It was fun to read and I must admit I sympathize with all the sentiments in here. The big thing this is missing, though, is the attempt to imagine why someone might feel differently. Under what conditions, do you think, someone might feel sane? What would it be like to look around the world and think, “Yes, this is right. This is how things should be.”

    You make a few remarks about education. Try looking at this video:

    Maybe it’ll help specify some of the ideas you talk about here. The big thing is that you need to specifiy what you mean by “insane” and then you need to explain why someone might disagree. If you’re “sanely insane,” what would it mean to be “insanely sane”? Can you get at what that might be?

    Please review the assignment prompt. To receive a grade of S, this post must be revised to meet the requirements of the assignment. You have until September 24 to complete the revisions, but I strongly suggest submitting them ahead of time in case a second round of revisions are necessary. After you’ve edited the post, inform me in-class and I’ll mark it for review.

  2. Jeff,

    Hmm, I think my comments above didn’t help as much as they should have. I said you need to define “insanely sane,” and I can see that you kind of tried, but this still isn’t right. I talked about the need to be more clear in your definitions and the need to imagine how other people live, and I told you to re-read the assignment prompt, but I didn’t emphasize some of the key provisions. Here’s the text:

    “Choose one belief that you hold strongly — religious, political, aesthetic, ethical — and think about all the influences that you’ve had over the course of your life. … Write a 400-500 word blog post in which you describe 1) a belief you hold, 2) everything that might have influenced your belief, and 3) other influences that might steer someone else toward a different set of beliefs. Post this to the course blog no later than midnight before class.

    For this assignment, you shouldn’t write an argument or try to persuade other people to share your view. In fact, you shouldn’t even try to convince yourself. Instead, you should think about all the ways your life has affected your worldview, then try to imagine what it might be like to be a different sort of person. Your essay should spend just as much time on item 3 as it does on item 2.”

    This means that you need to dig deeper and really think about how you developed this sense of yourself as someone who goes through the motions of sanity but who, at bottom, rejects the socially stipulated norms he feels himself abiding. If you’re walking around feeling like everyone else is crazy, where did that idea come from? What about your background led you to feel this way? What sort of background might someone have to feel differently, to feel like everything’s all right?

    Good luck! If you’re feeling stuck, read around some of your classmates’ responses. You’ll get a sense for what I’m talking about.


  3. Hi Jeff,

    This just squeaks by. Still didn’t have much about other people. The point of this exercise was to practice empathy, and to think about how our ideas come to feel natural. I think what really tripped you up is that, by “insane,” you mean a feeling of disconnection from the world around you. How can a person sympathize with others when they’re walking around feeling half-crazy? So, your belief worked directly contrary to the assignment, which is what made it seem “ironic.”

    Bottom line: relax, man.

    Grade: S.


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