We're a little crazy, about science!

Word play

Come on in…

It’s been a day, so I don’t have a whole lot of energy to write or to think for that matter! But my brain works in mysterious ways, even to me. So I thought I would talk about a word that somehow bounced into my head and as any good brain does, it made some very odd connections. Today we’re talking about the word sane. Or rather the word insane, with me so far? Because this is where we get a little crazy.

I am basically a bad day away from falling into the crazy pit again, meaning stays in the VA run mental health ward, which is just as nightmarish as it sounds. After a day I was basically willing to do backflips to get out. Maybe that’s why the word popped into my head, who knows, but insane is such a weird way of putting it.

Because insane implies the existence of outsane.

More importantly if outsane is the opposite of insane then what is in sane that is making people so crazy? What terrors exist within sanity that can drive a person mad? Maybe there’s some deep secret of the universe inside that makes people crazy, like some ancient eldritch terrors just waiting for you to find the door to sanity and go in sane.

I mean I always have said I feel like the fact that my mental health is loopier than a rollercoaster means I see the world in a different way, maybe that’s just the view from in sane. Who knows, maybe being insane confers certain benefits, like being inside when it’s raining keeps you dry.

At the end of the day it feels like the right way to think about it. After all, if being insane was such a bad thing, why are so many people here?

Did this post have anything to do with anything? Well, no not really, but it was fun to write at least!

5 responses

  1. In the early pandemic I read an article or two making a case that some “disorders” are really just your brain trying to protect you. It still stinks, because those protective mechanisms are blunt instruments that easily run to excess and start doing damage instead. But maybe we’d be even worse off if our brains didn’t come with them. Given the right circumstances, some of the “crazy” people can start performing better than the average. I think this is one of the pieces I’m remembering: https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2020/4/23/21231596/coronavirus-covid-19-mental-health-ptsd-anxiety-depression

    How ever far in sane you do or don’t go, you’re all right to me. Take care of yourself. Hopefully no particularly bad days are in the offing.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 13, 2022 at 10:32 pm

    • I’ve had a good number of thoughts about the nature of pervasive conditions. If we presuppose that natural selection is a thing at least on the micro level (high-school story incoming) then we can imagine that any common trait must be of benefit, but that doesn’t mean it’s of benefit to the individual.

      Self sacrifice is common enough that it must be selected for, but it is bad for the individual by definition. It is not, however, bad for the others in the community or their offspring, benefitting the genes that cause a propensity for self-sacrifice.

      LTC Grossman has a bunch of ideas ranging from solid to crack-pot, but he hit an important point: many of our actions can be explained away. Panic that doesn’t help us in the modern day, like trying to open a locked door a dozen times to escape a fire, would’ve helped when maybe hitting that tiger one more time would’ve driven it off. Risk adverse behavior from imaginary threats made sense because maybe that rustling was, again, a tiger.

      My first order wild assumption is that PTSD is like alcoholism or diabetes. The core reactions to a threat, increased vigilance, remembering the incident, and risk avoidance, are the correct reactions to a threat. Hypervigilance, flashbacks, and avoiding once common activities are basically the same act, but taken to unhealthy levels because of some fundamental change in how it’s processed. That it takes place three months later is another data point of the system being altered so a normal reaction becomes problematic in the day to day.

      So maybe outsane is of benefit. The stories, the leaps of logic. Long-shot bets, maximizing high rewards with high risk. From a societal level, the benefits are immense. There’s some risk at people possibly harming the community, but by and large the exceptional person is important in exceptional circumstances. Or so I tell myself. 😉

      Content people resting on their laurels are enviable, but they rarely go out of their way to dare great things.

      That being said, I wish you many years of being unduly content only taking breaks for motivation for Big Ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

      June 14, 2022 at 4:19 am

      • Oh! The story!

        So, many years ago . . . oh . . . oh wow. Anyway, I was in high school a little over 20 years ago (sounds of crying) and there were three of us who loved gently debating things. One person I’ll call Larry was one of the people who took every word of the bible literally (and his father was someone who thought women were a subclass and did my family wrong) and another I’ll call Willie was a classic “I take philosophy at a hyper liberal school and smoke a lot of pot” guy in his larval form. So, Larry loved debating in front of people to spread the conversation further, and one day we’re debating evolution. He proposed that micro-evolution is a given but macroevolution was a lie due to creationism. I was willing to accept that as a valid interpretation that I disagreed with, but Willie chimes in with “but what’s a macrowave?”

        None of the people around us ever gave a single damn about our conversations. One of the ladies in class turned around and asked “how would that work?” Now we had the attention of the class. I, being a proto-engineer and terminal wiseass, state “You put a steak on a plate and shout ‘COOOOOOOOK’ until it’s warm.”

        Willie was amused, Larry hated it, and fifteen years later I get an e-mail about how scientists boiled water with loud noises.

        Maybe that’s another vote for insanity being beneficial. Macrowave.

        Liked by 2 people

        June 14, 2022 at 4:29 am

      • Well thanks, now I need to go build a macrowave!! haha!

        Like

        June 14, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    • That’s so funny, I’ve felt like I’ve been more prepared for this than most because of my horrible mental health. When the pandemic first happened I wrote something similar: https://loonylabs.org/2020/05/22/tips-to-survive-the-apocalypse/ I mean I’ve come to terms with it and it’s an odd balancing act that most people don’t ever have to do or understand, but in the decade or so since my last serious slide I’ve gotten better about keeping my head above water.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      June 14, 2022 at 6:36 pm

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