What does it mean to be insane? Someone who commits a terrible crime, or possibly someone who is an enigma of society? What about you, when you jokingly plan to push your least favourite teacher down the stairs to avenge a poor mark by swiftly granting this teacher paralysis. To suggest that being called insane as an insult is a flawed notion. To be insane is to think outside the box society has built around you, in turn making you a more innate member of society.
What defines as normal according to societal standards? Is it a steady job working in a cubicle, while residing in a middle-class neighbourhood, with an average car to drive your spouse and two children to soccer practice? Or does it include walking on a tightrope above the Grand Canyon, swallowing swords or climbing inside a cannon to be shot out of?
What actions can an individual commit to be considered insane according to society? Is committing the action or perhaps watching the action take place, being captivated by its intricacies? We view murder as the pinnacle of crimes able to be committed, the act of taking the life of another for any nefarious means. When we turn on the news to find that one man killed another only 12 blocks from our own home, we declare him a madman. But what of the people who stood witness to this act, just watching? The people who pull their phones, immortalizing such a primal act, fulfilling the satisfaction of watching the flame of life snuffed out before our eyes. To which do we value the title of insanity?
A commonly known figure in history scrutinized for the genocide of Jews during his reign over Germany in World War II, Adolf Hitler is one of the most hated people in history. If I were to interview normal people with normal lives, asking them about this tyrannical leader, I guarantee the majority would characterize him as sinister or...insane. Yet Adolf Hitler was not the one killing each of the millions of Jews. He was merely a commander who sat back and watched his work unfold, knowing that the people he believed were responsible for Germany’s loss in World War I were being punished satisfied him.
Circus performers are often known as freaks of nature due to the feats they achieve that no normal person can accomplish. Some of these acts can be dangerous and put the performer’s life at risk. Performing these death-defying acts in order to live to die another day may make us wonder why on earth a person would make a living by swallowing swords, breathing fire or taming lions! Such people must be insane. But is it the fault of the performer for having to resort to such methods of survival? It is hard to turn down a job when the lure of survival, in the form of tickets being sold to the very people who judge the acts performed, commanding they perform such death-defying acts as the audience watches in anticipation for the performer to make a deadly mistake. It then comes down to whether the person committing the action is considered insane or the person commanding the act is insane.
To be called insane will often have one distraught, considering oneself sane by all means. However, as stated about purchasing the tickets to the circus, it is a part of us to participate in such events. Such thoughts of violence and mayhem are what make us human, otherwise, we would all be perfect robots, in a perfect utopian society, with perfect lives. As dandy as that sounds, it is obvious that nothing about humans, or rather what our scientific name Homo Sapien, suggest are perfect.
As scary as it may sound to be called insane for thoughts you make think, or task done a daily basis, you are but a part of a society that shares the same philosophy. I would like to think that I dictate my own actions. However, in more recent years, the lives of people have been dictated by two two-digit numbers divided by a semi-colon displayed on a LED screen. It tells us that we had to be somewhere else as of 15 minutes ago, resulting in rushing our regular routine. Yes, I am referring to your phone. It sounds insane that such a product can manipulate the decision making processes of the organ said to be better than any computer. As normal as it may seem, this shared insanity in society to be dependent on a glorified metal box with our entire lives trapped inside is a part of who we are.
It may seem as if I am ridiculing all but myself in calling out society for being insane, but I too am insane by definition. I bear the same animalistic feelings that the rest of society possesses, but refuses to reveal. Biology becomes a drooling subject when memorization becomes the one skill necessary to pass. However, the few days that biology becomes lively are the time of dissections. Dissections are nothing new, some of us can’t stand them, but some of us are fascinated by it. I, for one, am fascinated by the surgical procedures of opening up an animal to see what make them tick. To others in my class, including my teacher, my fascination of cutting a frog open and removing its brain was not the most attractive sight as some might consider sitting two seats away from me.
Insanity is, but a title to define intuitive thinkers that question societal boundaries. Each person possesses the aspects of insanity, it becomes a matter of how well an individual hides these notions for society to consider them san or insane. Next time you go on a subway, look left, then look right. Each and every person on that subway is insane, it is just a matter of defining how.