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Insanity

Insanity
March 31, 2011, 12:49:37 AM
Quote
-Death’s annihilation is no longer anything because it was already everything, because life itself was only futility, vain words, a squabble of cap and bells. The head that will become a skull is already empty. Madness is the déja-vu of death.

-But when the madman laughs, he already laughs with the laugh of death; the lunatic, anticipating the macabre, has disarmed it.

-The elements are now reversed. It is no longer the end of time and of the world which will show retrospectively that men were mad not to have been prepared for them; it is the tide of madness, its secret invasion, that shows that the world is near its final catastrophe; it is man’s insanity that invokes and makes necessary the world’s end.

-At the opposite pole to this nature of shadows, madness fascinates because it is knowledge. It is knowledge, first, because all these absurd figures are in reality elements of a difficult, hermetic, esoteric learning.

-If folly leads each man into a blindness where he is lost, the madman, on the contrary, reminds each man of his truth; in a comedy where each man deceives the other and dupes himself, the madman is comedy to the second degree: the deception of deception; he utters, in his simpleton's language which makes no show of reason, the words of reason that release, in the comic, the comedy: he speaks love to lovers, the truth of life to the young, the middling reality of things to the proud, to the insolent, and the liars.

-This knowledge, so inaccessible, so formidable, the Fool, in his innocent idiocy, already possesses. While the man of reason and wisdom perceives only fragmentary and all the more unnerving images of it, the Fool bears it intact as an unbroken sphere: that crystal ball which for all others is empty is in his eyes filled with the density of an invisible knowledge.

-Thus the image is burdened with supplementary meanings, and forced to express them. And dreams, madness, the unreasonable can also slip into this excess of meaning.

-Up to the second half of the fifteenth century, or even a little beyond, the theme of death reigns alone. The end of man, the end of time bear the face of pestilence and war. What overhangs human existence is this conclusion and this order from which nothing escapes. The presence that threatens even within this world is a fleshless one. Then in the last years of the century this enormous uneasiness turns on itself; the mockery of madness replaces death and its solemnity. From the discovery of that necwhich inevitably reduces man to nothing, we have shifted to the scornful contemplation of that nothing which is existence itself.

-In the serene world of mental illness, modern man no longer communicates with the madman: on one hand, the man of reason delegates the physician to madness, thereby authorizing a relation only through the abstract universality of disease; on the other, the man of madness communicates with society only by the intermediary of an equally abstract reason which is order, physical and moral constraint, the anonymous pressure of the group, the requirements of conformity. As for a common language, there is no such thing; or rather, there is no such thing any longer.
- All quotes by foucault from "Madness and Civilization", a book that explores the definition of insanity in relation to power structure in society, going back to when lunacy was somewhat normal, to the era of institutions

Thoughts on this?
As it was noted in a previous thread, socialization eases anxiety about death. You can only imagine what the opposite would do.

Re: Insanity
March 31, 2011, 03:20:56 AM
Mads are useless. They see stuff that isn't there.

Well, I kind of understand somethings about madness.... I just... I mean... Madness. There's just no explaining it.

Re: Insanity
March 31, 2011, 04:01:40 AM
Well there's different kinds of madness but all have ties to death. "Normal" people don't think about death. They pay attention to mundane distractions. Mad people have a deja-vu of death, combined with the stress of knowing that in this state they are completely socially incompatible, unless maybe they build a complex relationship with art and commodify it somehow.
Plenty of philosophers like Nietzche and some others were considered mad.