Our Haunted Planet
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Our Haunted Planet

A Question of Sanity

How can we have faith in our mind when our mind has no faith in us?

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” — Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I am going to talk a little bit about madness, or its converse sanity. I’ve had the strangest experiences that have often made me question my sanity. To question one’s own mind can be a terrifying thing. To not know reality from your own mind. I fear that I am insane, and that fear is one of the worst you can endure. The feeling of insanity comes from a discontinuity between inner and outer worlds. What you think in your head doesn’t match what you experience. Maybe it’s in disagreement with what society, authority figures, or your parents tell you. Maybe you feel like the universe is out to get you.

Alice and the Cat

“You know, you remind me of myself at a young age. All I cared about was riding narwhales (sic) and sleeping in honeycombs and drinking babies’ tears. Word of advice, if you ever ride a narwhale, mind the pointy end.” — Sheogorath, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

There’s a simple test to determine if you’re crazy. Imagine you were someone else, a total stranger. Would you even believe the bullshit you spout. Don’t worry, we live in an era where everyone is a little crazy. Where the hosts on MSNBC go batshit over Russia, to people panic buying toilet paper. We call Flat Earthers crazy, but we are just as insane. You certainly have some belief that someone else thinks is crazy. Atheists think theists are crazy and theists think atheists are crazy. People who put pineapple on pizza are seen as some of the craziest of all over some mundane triviality. I wonder why we live in such an insane world. Maybe it is as Phil says, we live in a unique world of our own.

“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication … and there is the real illness.” — Phillip K Dick

The problem isn’t with you when you are crazy, the problem is that you are afraid. Afraid of being something you wish not to be. You wish to not be crazy. Even if you are right would that make you feel any better. If we really do live on a flat world would that suddenly assuage our fears or would new ones crop up. Be careful who you accuse of insanity, because we all have our insane side. We say others are delusional, but those who think they are the sanest are usually the least. Even science isn’t immune with many scientists believing in the delusion that science can discover everything.

It’s a mad world.

However maybe we should rethink this. Maybe we’re not all delusional but acting out with the best information we have. We only have partial knowledge, and knowing this maybe our belief stems from the best information we have. We think we are very different. However, if I grew up in the same environment you did I’m sure I would believe as you do. Whatever we believe we will find something that contradicts it. Why is this? I think it is because the universe we live in is as contradictory as we are.

Is what I have thought correct? Maybe I’m not sure. I hope for my sake, I get confirmation of my experiences soon. I don’t think I’m completely crazy, but neither am I sure I am sane. However that fear of insanity is still present within me. The fear comes from overthinking, and there is a medicine. I’ve found the easiest way to ease this fear is to ground yourself. Grounding involves finding some activity connected to the material world to do. Playing a game, a sport, an instrument, or even writing can be grounding. I have recently begun practicing Tai Chi to help me with this. Writing has also been an outlet. I write because I must, without it I am lost. Music helps me in much the same way, I prefer relaxing instrumental music for grounding. To ground yourself in the here and now is like a vaccine against fear.

I think back to Alice, engrossed in another world then she comes back to her normal life. We often have that in fantasies, a young person escapes to another world. They come back and are seen as crazy. It’s not because their world wasn’t real, but because their two worlds were too different to explain. It’s familiar because it is the start of the hero’s journey. The hero goes out and comes back mentally scarred. Anyways lets get back the point. If you’re reading this and wondering. Are you crazy? You probably aren’t, no more than your neighbor who believes Obama is a communist muslim, or your dad who thinks vaccines cause aids. Who knows maybe Obama is actually Muslim, all the Abrahamic religions are pretty much the same to me. Don’t worry you are not crazy, nor is anyone else. I wish you dear reader a wonderful evening.

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