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January 23, 2020 / Congau

Making Sense of Madness

What makes sense in this mad world? Well, there is certainly a logic to this place or else it wouldn’t evolve so smoothly around the sun and kept itself in position. Nature is dependent on logic to exist and everything in it must recognize its proper state and follow its expected course. Animal instincts make perfect sense and in spite of their lack of reason, their action is always reasonable. In spite of? No, because of. Only humans, the rational animals, can act contrary to reason; irrationality presupposes rationality.

Human society, that artificial organism, also generally makes sense within its own structure, and when it doesn’t, it will soon disintegrate or fumble around for a new equilibrium. But measured against an external reason, most societies fail miserably: they systematically exclude their own members and leave them to redundancy and distress. If the rationality of the ant hill is the ideal, they are all infinitely far off.

That is madness, isn’t it, but depending on perspective, it’s still within reason.

Down to the level of the atoms of society, the individuals, their rationality or lack of such depends on conformity with the system they belong to. But what system is that? On the one hand they are included in a state that is likely to exclude them, and on the other they belong to the ultimate logic of nature. Which one is more significant?

Perhaps we would expect the ultimate logos of nature to trump the petty expectations of human society but neglecting all social conventions also doesn’t make sense. A man who chose to live like his stone age ancestors in the midst of modern society, would rightly be considered mad.

If there is universal reason, there is also universal madness. It is then not a relative quantity since we are dealing with something absolute. But from a frog perspective the view becomes muddier: Sometimes it makes sense to conform to the conventions of the pond and sometimes it doesn’t. How do we know? No wonder we go crazy.

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