Friday, July 18, 2008

Are you Crazy?

I inadvertently stirred up a bees nest. A few posts back I made a reference to the “insane postings of Anonymous”. The commenter wrote back:
“Ernie, I like the general tenor of your comments here. But I must point out that many people who are certifiably crazy, like me, also write some damn fine comments on these and other blog pages. I will acknowledge, to be fair, that I've been diagnosed and treated, and I take my meds regularly. Maybe that's what separates the sensible posts of this particular nut from the rants and abusive screeds of those other crazy characters.”

To be honest, this person sounds more sane than me!

Once, back when I knew everything, I was absolutely certain that I was sane! But of course you know that was when I was a kid. Kids are the only ones in our society that know everything. They don’t even doubt that they know everything. That, and everything that they know is without any doubt correct.

I was very comfortable with being very sane, and knowing everything. Then one of those spoilsport “old people” came along and ruined everything for me. He would come up with things like; “If you’re sane, you should be able to prove it, so prove to me that you are sane”. Well, I’m not insane. That was proof enough for me at the time, but I did find that he had put a new dent in my armor.

So I thought; “I’ll think of a way to prove that I’m sane, then the next time the question comes up, boom, I’ll spring my sanity on him and make him look silly”.

I soon found that sanity is a difficult thing to prove, but so is insanity. If you look up “Insanity” in the dictionary it usually defines it as “The lack of sanity”. So I looked up “sanity”. Sanity is defined as: “A legal term, meaning sound of mind.” So, how do you prove sanity? Do you thump someone's head like you would a watermelon to check for ripeness? Only you check for “Soundness”? Thump, thump, yeah Ernie’s sane.

So I checked a few web sites, to see what they said about the subject of sanity. Here’s a few things that I found:

Insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. The quote has been commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and Albert Einstein.

That’s not a definition of insanity, that’s the definition of what an insane person might do! But a sane person might have a good reason for doing those same things, and an insane person couldn’t understand why. So that definition sucks.

Insanity; “Unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality” Dictionary.

Well, some of my fantasies are better than my realities! I have to be crazy to live in “The real world” rather than in some of the great fantasies that I have.

From wikipedia; “ It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing is further from the truth... Just as there is a 'Folie à deux' ( for those of you that don’t speak Greek, folie a’ deux means "folly of two". Usually thought of as the insanity of love. Ernie) Then there is a 'folie à millions.' The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane. (in: Fromm, The Sane Society, Routledge, 1955,

I guess that the “folly of millions” would be politics or religion.

After years and years of thoughts on the subject of sanity, I had to conclude that I’m going to have to give up worrying about my sanity, because it is making me crazy!

But I have been able to tell the difference between a crazy person and a regular person… The crazy people get better meds.

How would you prove that you are sane? It should be easy to do.


Anonymous said...

Ernie, I like the way you shared my words with your readers.

One note, though. I didn't write the comment you described as one of the "insane postings of Anonymous." I was coming to the aid of someone not myself!

Other than that, your article is perfect. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and letting me share mine.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I really didn't think that you wrote the "Insane postings of anonymous", so we both have a perfect record, but I should have said “A commenter wrote back”, not “The”.

But "someone not yourself" does a darn good job of defending themselves.

You write very well, as I said. You do much better than me. You made a very valid point. Thank-you for letting me include it.

Ernie Branscomb said...

There was this guy that had a flat tire in front of the insane asylum. (Stop me if you’ve heard this already)

He pulls over by the big tall fence and gets out to change his tire. On the other side of the fence this fellow drags up a lawn chair and sits down to watch him change the tire. This makes the guy a little nervous, but he goes ahead and takes the flat off. As he is moving the new tire into place he accidentally knocks all of the tire nuts down the drain inlet.

Frustrated, he doesn’t know what to do, and he is wondering how long of a walk it is to the auto parts store to get more wheel nuts. About then, the man behind the fence says: “Just take one nut off each of the other wheels and put on your spare tire, and that will get you to the tire shop”.

The guy said. “Wow, I thought that you were insane, that sound like a pretty smart Idea!”

The fellow replies; “Just because I’m crazy, doesn’t mean I have to be stupid too”.

(You should have stopped me!)

Carol said...

Funny post, Ernie, and appropriate for the full moon.

We will see you and Janice at the pancake breakfast soon!

Kym said...

One of the worst parts about my computer being down was not being able to get my daily fix of sanity at your site.

What a lovely civilized post to come back to!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Kym, you are just too sweet!

Ah, now that the full moon has past I feel better.

I guess that no one was up to the task of proving their sanity anyway. One thinks that it would be simple, but it is more like having to prove a negative, or being guilty until proven innocent.

We spent the day in Fortuna today. We were in the parade with Estelle Fennel. We rode in Ray and Terri Maher’s wagon pulled by two beautiful Shire horses. The horses really wowed the crowd with their ability to move the wagon around and trot sideways to make their U-turns. I was very impressed with how well mannered the horses were, and how well they respond to Ray and Terri. The Maher’s are really fond of their team. As they should be. We also got to see Greg and Carol Conners, and we met Melissa, Carols (14 year old) daughter. She is a real delight and nice to be around. I guess what I’m trying to say is we had a real nice day in Fortuna, and Fortuna should be very proud of their Parade.

I kind of expect that Greg will post some photos on his blogsite of the event. Go to the link on the left side of my blog under “Links to other blogsites”, Carol and Greg.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Well Ernie, I'm just losing my mind. Does that qualify for "Crazy"?


Ernie Branscomb said...

Nope! Everybody is a little bit crazy in their own way. They only worry about it when you become dangerous to yourself or others. Otherwise we would all be in cages.

Robin Shelley said...

I think losing a mind is kind of like losing socks in the laundry, Oregon. It happens to everybody but nobody knows where they go... and we all wonder what the heck they've been up to when they suddenly return!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, anyone who cares about the subject of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), owes it to themselves to read "Driven to Distraction" by Hallowell and Ratey, both of whom are M.D.s.

Reading that book changed my life, transformed it, really. It came out in 1994. It's available now in paperback.

It explains how ADHD affects people in childhood, and then on into adulthood.

As a person who was diagnosed at age 45 with ADHD, I can only say that the diagnosis and subsequent treatment relieved me of a tremendous amount of confusion and stress.

I wish I knew how to tell all the undiagnosed and untreated adults how great life can be when ADHD stops running your life.

People so rarely look inward. For most of human history, there was no way to get an accurate diagnosis or treatment for ADHD. But today, it can be done. Tremendous suffering and confusion can be overcome.

The trouble is, the individual must go for help. The one who has the problems must believe relief is possible. And he or she must be able to summon up enough TRUST to ask for help.

If that person can summon up enough courage to make the choice to trust, they may be greatly rewarded.

In my case, I asked my doctor, whom I trusted, if he thought I had ADHD. He said, I am not a specialist, and I cannot say.

I asked him to refer me to a specialist he trusted. He did. I made the appointment.

The specialist, a psychiatrist, agreed that I did have ADHD. He gave me a prescription for a medication (one of those recommended in the book by Hallowell and Ratey).

Within four hours of taking a certain little pill, I was able to process visual and audio information better than ever before. I mean I could keep better track of the cars on the streets as I drove. And I could hear music more clearly than ever before. As the days went by, I kept a record, and for months, I noticed every day, improvements in things like my memory, my ability to understand what other people were saying, my ability to stay focused on one thing for a long time, and the like.

When I think about the great healing that was made available to me, I am filled with wonder.

When I think of all the other people on earth who must be like me, but who are still struggling, undiagnosed and untreated, I am filled with concern.

Ernie, we had fun with this exchange of posts, and I thank you for your decency and humor, and most of all, your kindness.

This post tonight goes to the root of my concerns. So many people will go all through their lives without asking for help, mostly because they don't think any real help is available to them. I hope at least some will read this post and think about how much better life can be if they can summon the courage to trust someone enough to ask for the help they need.

From the bottom of my heart, Ernie, thanks for giving me the forum to express my concerns.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Anon, you are quite welcome. Anytime that you would like a forum, please tap me on the shoulder.

This subject was handled somewhat tongue in cheek, but I am very sincere when I say that I believe that we all suffer from some form of insanity. Or, at least we all process thoughts differently, otherwise we would all reach the same conclusions, and vote for the same person to be president, and there would be no disagreements. It sounds like a boring world doesn’t it?

Someday I’m going to dive into the subject of relative intelligence. Like with my wife and I. My wife is way smarter than me in so many ways, but sometimes she doesn’t understand things that seem to me like it should be common sense.

Robin Shelley said...

Sometimes asking for help is the hardest thing to do, 8:33, &, like you, the ones who do are always glad they did & usually wish they had done so sooner. Your words are enlightening, inspirational & interesting. Thank you.
I'm glad the ADHD is under your control now & that you are able to enjoy your life. What a revelation that must have been at age 45!
I sincerely wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Robin.