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February 7, 2017 / Congau

Madness

Madness is an incorrect perception of reality. But who is to say what is correct, one might object. Maybe the madman is right and the rest of us are wrong? Well, that could be, of course, and just like you cannot prove that you are not dreaming right now, there is no proof that you are sane. However, we do have a certain common perception of reality and in general we have to accept that in order to live our daily life relatively comfortably. There has to be a certain order and predictability for us to do anything.

The madman also lives in this order, more or less, but in certain instances he slides out of it, and that’s what makes him mad. It’s exactly because he also has a reference to our common reality that we can rightfully call him mad. He drops out of this reality only partially and because he retains a certain connection to it, it is possible to make a comparison and identify his madness. If it were possible to be a hundred percent mad, that might not have been madness at all, but it’s the simultaneous discrepancy between one reality and a twisted reality that makes a person mad.

To a certain degree we are all mad inasmuch as we cannot keep a consistent and complete order in the way we perceive reality. If the inherent contradiction is too great, we suffer and become mentally ill; that is madness proper and the bad side of it.

But there is also something that may be called a good madness and that is the conscious willingness to step out of the rigid order and imagine alternative realities. That is actually a necessary condition for any creativity and in that sense an artist needs to be mad. In fact any human being should be a little mad in order to be human, that is to stay sane.

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