Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sane Insanity

Four Dinners asked, “On a scale of 1 - 10 how sane are you - or do you think you are?”

Now that is an interesting question to answer. Its pretty easy to define insanity when you see it. If you’ve never had a brush against it, and I have (too often), you find a person who’s reality is just… different. They are reacting to a world that just isn’t the same one. You can point to it and say, that person is insane.

How do you define sanity though? Though you can clearly see someone who’s a zero on the scale to ten, can you really tell if someone is a five? They may act and react to the same reality we all share, but it may be a guise. Inside they may be hiding or amusing themselves by pretending to act to the rest of the world in the way expected.

When you look inside yourself, can you say whether you’re sane or insane? To some level, I think you can. Certainly those I’ve known who were clearly insane, usually had an inkling they were a bit bonkers. Its not an on off switch that turns you from one to the other, so a gradual slide can usually be seen.

So, to answer the question, am I sane? On objective measures, I think I stand up. I have a pretty even emotional keel, deal with stress well, and most people who know me use the phrase “You’re a really nice guy”. I have a wife who loves me, our relationship, though having the usual bumps and arguments couples have, is strong. I live my life to deep personal standards, and think I would be judged moral by most who know me.

Yet I have an active inner life. Technicolour fantasies that most would look at and say where pretty freeky. I’ve got an inner imagination that plays out a very realistic world. I do though believe I distinguish between reality and fantasy with clear blue water between them.

Yet… Yet… they say it’s those with the best imaginations who most easily slip into insanity. I don’t believe I will, don’t intend to in any shape or form. I like my life and don’t want to see it ruined. Is insanity always a choice though? I think it is for some, its an escape that’s chosen. I don’t believe that for everyone though. I’ve seen people fight their insanity, struggle to keep hold of what is real. It is a path that scares me more than just about anything. Loosing your mind means loosing yourself.

So, on a scale of one to ten? I’d say I’m a seven or maybe an eight. Not a ten, I know the risk of my inner life. I’ve seen that take hold in others, and though its easy for me to say I’ll never go down that road, I don’t control every aspect of my life. There are burdens I know I would find horrific to bear, that possibly could break me. Only time will tell.


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