On Sanity

Much has been made by a great many people—myself included—about the need for standards. So significant is this need, that it is hard to imagine a life without them existing.

In order to distinguish between righteousness and unrighteousness, rectitude and error, suitability for purpose or lack thereof and so many more things, it is necessary to employ yardsticks, or standards of one sort or another.

For things having a strong definition, like what a properly functioning engine of a given type “looks like,” though the standards may be neither easy to generate, nor simple to understand, they can be fairly concrete in nature.

When talking about what is correct or incorrect, they can be harder to pin down in many cases.

When dealing with righteousness and unrighteousness—short of an “outside view”—it is pretty much impossible to come to conclusions in any but an arbitrary fashion. This essentially means that any standard of righteousness that doesn’t involve some immutable truth from beyond the realm of mankind is arbitrary in nature.

If one refuses to believe in any intelligence or truth beyond the boundaries of mankind, this means one must accept a definition for righteousness which is arbitrary and mutable in nature.

Those who know me at all are almost certainly aware that I will use that already presented to lead into the subject about which, by its title, I have proclaimed this article to be.

And here we are. Like it or not, the same ideas expressed above with regard to righteousness also apply to sanity and conversely, to insanity. The reason? Where there may be others, the one that comes immediately to mind is perception. Allow me to explain.

I have done, with many people, a small exercise to illustrate the importance of perception. The exercise seems entirely to lack meaning if you don’t take a second to reflect on what was done. The only action in the aforementioned exercise, is to reach up and remove my eyeglasses.

You see, as a child, I spent a good deal of time, assuming the rest of the world saw their surroundings as did I. I was wrong, a thing I now well understand.

The truth is though, that’s not just a result of the fact that I had “bad and uncorrected vision.” A simple example would be my “red/green deficiency.” Though it’s a good one, it still involves the physical, and perhaps something that, some day, will be routinely corrected (maybe not, but who knows?).

Imagine a person trained heavily in observation. That person will perceive the world differently than another who has had no such training and possesses no natural inclination to be highly aware of those things going on around him or her self.

Now imagine somebody like my son, who is, apparently Autistic at some level. His perception of the world does anything but match my own. In fact, it’s a pretty good bet that the majority of humanity has no real understanding how he processes the world. Even if they have such understanding though, they process and perceive it far differently by and large.

How many people like my son were judged and found “insane” in times past? The world may never know.

For many people found to be or considered to be insane, it is strictly a matter of perception that makes it so.

What’s interesting about this, is that the “standards” for sanity as expressed by various societies of and individual “mental health professionals,” has changed significantly over the course of time.

Put another way, even for those whose job it is to adjudge sanity or the converse, there has been a “sliding scale” upon which their decision has been made. That is to say, an arbitrary standard was arrived at, then modified when it seemed reasonable or appropriate so to do.

As if this were not sufficiently problematic not all individuals or groups always use the same standards, and even if they did, individuals often patently ignore it in some instances, when deciding on the sanity or insanity of a given individual.

You have to ask yourself (if you’re at all like me), whether or not this is something you find remotely surprising. For me, the clear answer is, “Not in the least.” You see, we humans are prone to grow and change. As such, our ideas and opinions do likewise.

If—as it appears is the case—sanity (and likewise insanity) are largely a matter of opinion, or are otherwise arbitrary in nature, who exactly should be surprised to hear that the definition thereof should change in the course of time?

At about this point, you may have it in mind that I am intent on destroying the concepts of sanity and insanity. Believe it or not, nothing could be further from the truth. Though I think they are badly maligned and abused, I do not believe the ideas should be abandoned.

That having been said, I do believe a reasonable source for them exists above and beyond the “standard realm of” mankind. Put simply, as a believer in the Bible, I believe—just as with righteousness and unrighteousness—the definitions of sanity and insanity, can be found in its pages—and, more importantly, are matters determined by God Almighty.

I can certainly understand that, if you are not a Christian, you might have problems with this idea. You might also not believe in the laws of physics. Rest assured that failing to do so will not make it possible for you to fly without assistance.

Put another way, whether or not you believe something that is truth happens not to be so, does not change whether or not it, in point of fact, is.

If there is a Creator, and the Bible is His Word, then your belief in it is not required for it to be true. Of course, you may still disagree with it. That is your right.

I want to be clear when I say, as a rule I don’t advocate mistreatment of any human being, sane or not. As such, though I may well believe you to be insane, that doesn’t mean I should abuse or maltreat you.

Okay, much more could be said here, but as usual, I am “up against it” in a variety of ways. As such, I will thank you, as is my custom, for reading, and wish you a good day.

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