What is sanity?

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What is sanity?

Postby anon » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:21 am

What is sanity?

Does the very notion depend on a commitment to philosophical realism to make any sense?

In the absence of a realist framework, is a robust and useful conception of sanity possible?

Is perfect sanity possible? Or is sanity just a sloppy indicator of a kind of acceptable middle ground between extremes?
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby turtle » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:26 pm

anon wrote:What is sanity?

Does the very notion depend on a commitment to philosophical realism to make any sense?

In the absence of a realist framework, is a robust and useful conception of sanity possible?

Is perfect sanity possible? Or is sanity just a sloppy indicator of a kind of acceptable middle ground between extremes?


sanity is an ill-defined useless word...
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Faust » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:29 pm

Oh shit, anon. I often wonder what would happen if you put a full-blown, voices-hearing, psychotic schizophrenic on an island by himself for a while. Would you wind up with a quirky but happy guy?
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby anon » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:43 pm

Faust wrote:Oh shit, anon. I often wonder what would happen if you put a full-blown, voices-hearing, psychotic schizophrenic on an island by himself for a while. Would you wind up with a quirky but happy guy?

I don't think so, personally - not at all.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Faust » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:49 pm

You think he'd be just as wacko, then?
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby anon » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:53 pm

Faust wrote:You think he'd be just as wacko, then?

Hmm, maybe not just as. I think given a breather from the pressure to conform, he might be more sane in the new setting. So I take back the "not at all".
"Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries." - Blaise Pascal

"The bombs we plant in each other are ticking away." - Edward Yang

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Re: What is sanity?

Postby anon » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:55 pm

turtle wrote:
anon wrote:What is sanity?

Does the very notion depend on a commitment to philosophical realism to make any sense?

In the absence of a realist framework, is a robust and useful conception of sanity possible?

Is perfect sanity possible? Or is sanity just a sloppy indicator of a kind of acceptable middle ground between extremes?


sanity is an ill-defined useless word...

Does the difficulty in precisely defining it really make it useless?
"Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries." - Blaise Pascal

"The bombs we plant in each other are ticking away." - Edward Yang

"To a fly that likes the smell of putrid / Meat the fragrance of sandalwood is foul. / Beings who discard Nirvana / Covet coarse Samsara's realm." - Saraha
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby turtle » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:12 pm

anon the word is used to hurt other people for the most part...and in the court it turns out to be a joke...
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Arcturus Descending » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:21 pm

anon wrote:What is sanity?

Does the very notion depend on a commitment to philosophical realism to make any sense?

In the absence of a realist framework, is a robust and useful conception of sanity possible?

Is perfect sanity possible? Or is sanity just a sloppy indicator of a kind of acceptable middle ground between extremes?

That's a good question, anon. :) Sanity - for me - I would begin by saying that it's a state of being wherein our reason and our emotions are in good, working, harmonious, balance...though not perfect...albeit my description of it does make sanity sound almost perfect. :lol:

As I've said before, I do not believe that a state of perfect sanity is possible as I do not believe that anything IS perfect. But things might be more or less complete...though we are never fully complete except in our moments of 'being there'.

But I do NOT see it as just a sloppy indicator of a kind of acceptable middle ground between extremes.
I may be wrong but your statement here to me somehow indicates someone who is in the process of trying to 'hold it all together'. But of course there may be times when THIS is all we have and it does indicate a degree of sanity to me.
Well, perhaps since balance is one measurement which is indicative of sanity, perhaps you are correct and I'm incorrect.

Sanity in a way corresponds to - is akin to - beauty and morals - it is in the eyes of the beholder. For instance, I love to walk in the rain and in the poring rain. It thrills me, inspires me and allows me to soar. It just gets my neurons to dancing. Of course, if there was lightning streaking all around, I would not and if the winds were so strong that they might carry me away, I would not (well, perhaps it would depend where they would carry me to. :lol: ) But if someone who hated the rain saw me casually walking in the pouring rain with a smile on my face (or not) with the sound of the thunder booming all around me, he/she might interpret that as a bit of insanity, don’t you think? But then again, the way I look at it, it is almost insane not to enjoy that experience, that ‘aha’ moment…which it is to me.

I may be misunderstanding your second question, but I think that the very notion of sanity depends basically much more on a committment to understanding human psychology...nature...consciousness. Perhaps the philosophical committment would be a subset to the psychological one - both are part of the search for truth and of what is most real. So perhaps there need be no division between them...but...

In the absence of a realist framework, is a robust and useful conception of sanity possible?

Are you saying here that there cannot be a realist framework? If I'm understanding your meaning, there can be, anon. It would be framed with reason and logic, with what is seen as most harmonious to our growth and becoming, and what is inducive to living a productive, life-enhancing existencel...to name a few...albeit life is not perfect but the one who is more sane, in my book, is the one who fully dives into life as it comes and embraces and accepts all of it, not just the joy but the pain (not masochistically of course) thrives on it all and grows and becomes...as a result of it.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby uglypeoplefucking » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:41 pm

anon wrote:What is sanity?

Does the very notion depend on a commitment to philosophical realism to make any sense?

In the absence of a realist framework, is a robust and useful conception of sanity possible?

Is perfect sanity possible? Or is sanity just a sloppy indicator of a kind of acceptable middle ground between extremes?


sanity has many definitions, all of them arbitrary and many of them ambiguous, some of them political, some medical, some colloquial, and so forth. what is or isn't sane is so contextual that it almost is useless to discuss what the word means in general, especially if you're looking for more than just the dictionary definitions. you really have to take into account who is using it, how and why.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Arcturus Descending » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:53 pm

Faust wrote:You think he'd be just as wacko, then?

The above coming from a so-called brilliant philosopher such as you are...supposed to be, Faust!?
A schizophrenic might, in actuality, be much more brilliant than say, even yourself, have much more compassion and many more lucid moments than you have - being on an island by himself or off it...or anywhere for that matter.

Words like 'wacko' are extremely offensive, hurtful and unintelligent, Faust!!! What if some young person or anyone struggling with a mental disease like schizophrenia read this, Faust?

Doesn't intelligence dictate that we try to understand an illness and a person rather than continuing to perpetrate
the stupidity of the stigmatic words attached to it by being so blas'e? There are many ways in which we may get our 'kicks' without debasing others, Faust.
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The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory but progress.


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You have to be like the pebble in the stream, keeping the grain and rolling along without being dissolved or dissolving anything else.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Faust » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:00 pm

The above coming from a so-called brilliant philosopher such as you are.


Really? Do you think so? Tell me more. It's the most interesting part of your post.

A schizophrenic might, in actuality, be much more brilliant than say, even yourself, have much more compassion and many more lucid moments than you have - being on an island by himself or off it...or anywhere for that matter.


Smart, nutso and compassionate are not mutually exclusive terms. So far, you've labelled me brilliant in order to find fault with my question, and then stated a false trichotomy as a strawman.

Is "trichotomy" a word?

Words like 'wacko' are extremely offensive, hurtful and unintelligent, Faust!!! What if some young person or anyone struggling with a mental disease like schizophrenia read this, Faust?


Some of my best friends are nuts. Sometimes it's better not to get too serious or clinical. My brother-in-law is diagnosed and holds down a job as a high school teacher and has a fine family. But he's nutso. So what?

Doesn't intelligence dictate that we try to understand an illness and a person rather than continuing to perpetrate
the stupidity of the stigmatic words attached to it by being so blas'e? There are many ways in which we may get our 'kicks' without debasing others, Faust.


Who says I get a kick out of it? This is that sort of passive-aggressive projection that nutsos so often use.

Is "nutsos" a word?

Anyway, I wish I understood it less. I have a cousin who's also nutso and a close friend whose voices once told her to kill the children and another who hanged himself in the closet of his parents' home. Another hanged himself from a tree outside his apartment. I saw his dead body swinging gently in the breeze. I have more stories. They're stories. I've never lived with or cared for a nutso, but I can tell you that I have seen the suffering. Kindly keep the ad homs to yourself in future.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Arcturus Descending » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:12 pm

Faust,

Smart, nutso and compassionate are not mutually exclusive terms. So far, you've labelled me brilliant in order to find fault with my question, and then stated a false trichotomy as a strawman.

My sarcasm was to show the short-sightedness of the word you used. It was meant as a challenge that you yourself might question the ‘validity’ of it. The issue was with the word. I find no ad hom there. How convenient that you would attempt to put up a smoke screen with the cry of an 'ad hom'. :P Aside from your blas’e use of the word, your first sentence IS what I was trying to point out to you. And yet you call it a false trichotomy? Unless I am misunderstanding you – in which case, you might point out my error.

Some of my best friends are nuts. Sometimes it's better not to get too serious or clinical. My brother-in-law is diagnosed and holds down a job as a high school teacher and has a fine family. But he's nutso. So what?

What if it was your mother who had a mental problem and you loved her deeply and respected her immensely? (And no, this is not the case with my mother so I am not projecting.) How would you react or respond to someone who saw your mother acting in a particular way and called her nuts or nutso? At the very least, what would you say to him?

This is not about serious or clinical. It’s about respect for a person’s being. Do you call your brother-in-law ‘nutso’, Faust? If your brother-in-law does not mind, in the least, and also refers to himself in that terminology, does this mean that it is perfectly okay that you do too? Do you really 'know' what he feels if/when you use this terminology to describe him? We have a tendency to disregard ourselves when others do, if we are not aware of it.

But you didn’t answer my question – what if some young person with schizophrenia or some other mental illness who was really struggling with his illness and his sense of identity because of it, read your words? Do you think that he might simply focus on the positive part of what you said? How would you answer him in regard to your description of him with that word?


Who says I get a kick out of it? This is that sort of passive-aggressive projection that nutsos so often use.
Well, perhaps I was wrong there. But only you yourself can say if you do get a kick out of it. I didn’t see your face when you typed the word. And I am quite aware of where I was coming from when I brought the issue up. And it isn’t from a personal place (although I was speaking subjectively - and if I may say so, also objectively (hopefully :) ) if you catch my drift, so perhaps you are the one who is [conveniently] projecting now. Lol It's about respect for other human beings.


Anyway, I wish I understood it less. I have a cousin who's also nutso and a close friend whose voices once told her to kill the children and another who hanged himself in the closet of his parents' home. Another hanged himself from a tree outside his apartment. I saw his dead body swinging gently in the breeze. I have more stories. They're stories. I've never lived with or cared for a nutso, but I can tell you that I have seen the suffering.

You may see it but you may not understand it. The way I look at it, Faust, is that you might want to try to understand it more rather than less. Considering what you related above, why would you use a word that is so disrespectful and appears to be apathetic? You don't have to answer that here - it's for you to discover in your solitude - if you so choose...or not.
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The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory but progress.


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You have to be like the pebble in the stream, keeping the grain and rolling along without being dissolved or dissolving anything else.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Faust » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:32 pm

What if it was your mother who had a mental problem and you loved her deeply and respected her immensely? (And no, this is not the case with my mother so I am not projecting.) How would you react or respond to someone who saw your mother acting in a particular way and called her nuts or nutso? At the very least, what would you say to him?


As it happens, my mother had Alzheimers for several years before she died. She was pretty nutso, especially at the end, of course. Look - if someone called my mother that, but with affection, I wouldn't have a problem with it at all. My sisters and i have probably used that word about Mom. I really think that you are promoting the same sort of PC nonsense that got that ESPN editor fired. I just don't agree. Hope that's not offensive to people who have fired an editor.

My friend Mary, the one with the voices, referred to herself as nutso, in her more lucid moments.

This is not about serious or clinical. It’s about respect for a person’s being. Do you call your brother-in-law ‘nutso’, Faust? If your brother-in-law does not mind, in the least, and also refers to himself in that terminology, does this mean that it is perfectly okay that you do too? Do you really 'know' what he feels if/when you use this terminology to describe him? We have a tendency to disregard ourselves when others do, if we are not aware of it.


Yes, it's perfectly okay. I have even called my friend Kenny "nigger" - probably only on the basketball court. It's true. Hope that's not offensive to any blacks people who might read this.

But you didn’t answer my question – what if some young person with schizophrenia or some other mental illness who was really struggling with his illness and his sense of identity because of it, read your words? Do you think that he might simply focus on the positive part of what you said? How would you answer him in regard to your description of him with that word?



Same way I'm answering you.

You don't have to answer that here - it's for you to discover in your solitude - if you so choose...or not.




For that i thank a god in which I do not believe. Hope that's not offensive to the religious.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby tentative » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:28 am

Anon,

Simply put, what is sanity is group consensus that a person's perspectives match reasonably close to the group shared reality. There is plenty of room for divergence in how people assign sanity - both personally and socially. Trying to define sanity is about the same as trying to define morality. Good luck with that. You might ask the question: Am I insane or merely 'eccentric'? I don't see sanity as a big issue as folks try to rationalize who they are and WTF is going on in the world. It only becomes a question when the words and actions of an individual are seriously out of whack with how most people are viewing the world.

For instance, I could easily say that some of the potential presidential candidates have a loose grip on sanity given the world of illusion they seem to be panderering to. Either the cheese slipped off the cracker or they are simply pimping to their audience - your choice. But that their take on the state of the state doesn't match up with reality on the ground certainly raises the question.

I suspect that we are all sane in some ways and maybe a bit insane in others. Where is that line? Damned if I know, and after all the pysychological voo doo, I doubt that anyone else does either.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Philosopher8659 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:51 am

anon wrote:What is sanity?

Does the very notion depend on a commitment to philosophical realism to make any sense?

In the absence of a realist framework, is a robust and useful conception of sanity possible?

Is perfect sanity possible? Or is sanity just a sloppy indicator of a kind of acceptable middle ground between extremes?


What may or may not be predicated of a thing (in this case "sanity"), one learns in grade school algebra, the first chapter on set theory, or one can study the dialogues of Plato, and even take a hint from Confucius or the Judeo-Christian Scripture--is determined by the definition of that thing. The human mind functions linguistically, when it functions. At this point in man's history, however, he does not yet comprehend the meaning of this, nor does he yet employ the principles of language by which to measure his mental integrity, called virtue, by Plato and a few others.

The human mind uses language as a mapping process. The better it understands the principles of this "map making" the better that mind functions.

Sanity is then rated in accordance with each language the mind uses. It can be perfectly sane in arithmetic, yet completely insane when it comes to other forms of human discourse. Simply put, it can only be sane relative to those languages it can perform virtuously in. Man does not yet recognize the common principles upon which all languages are based, nor that as certain as one can be in simple arithmetic, so too in any language he comprehends well. When he does comprehend this, and its importance to human behavior, living a life of learning the different languages, such as music, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, common grammar, etc, for there are many diverse languages, will become natural to him. We are, after all, meant to spend our time in the love of our job, as mind, and thus enjoy the learning of the languages which guide our actions--those actions that maintain and promote our life.

Those who claim that sanity is attained by the vote of a group of mad monkeys, is simply one of those mad monkeys. Since in any language, the symbol table is conventional, however, how those symbols may or may not be manipulated is dependent upon what those symbols denote, what is true is independent of "gods and men." The conventional content of any language does not make the language itself conventional, or in other words, the name does not change what is named.

When it is said, we learn by experience, it means perception determines conception, conception determines will. this trinity of tautologies was also expressed once as The Father (perception), The Son (Conception), and the Holy Spirit (Will), are One, or again, as we shall know the truth, (this string of tautologies) and the truth shall set us free. That is sanity, the virtue of the human mind.

Now, since the human mind functions linguistically, and there are a great number of languages to learn in order to do our job, what does it mean when people say they are bored and cannot think of what to do? Well, except vote on how sane they are.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Only_Humean » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:36 am

anon wrote:What is sanity?


I think it's generally the absence of psychosis.

Does the very notion depend on a commitment to philosophical realism to make any sense?


No, I don't think so. You could formulate it as having ideas at odds with the intersubjective paradigms of society - it only depends on realism if you take the (realist) view that there's something that we are judging, rather than that it is the judgement we make of people. Foucault, who was very far from a realist, made a name for himself with his description of sanity/madness as a social construct. I haven't read it, I hasten to say, but something along the lines of madness (as it's currently understood) being an invention of the Enlightenment.

I don't know how useful a definition it is to someone who believes there are devils under his skin telling him to kill, mind you. I have a couple of friends who've had some fairly terrifying, bewildering experiences with mental illness/madness/insanity. And a good friend of mine is hypomanic - he says it's the best way to be mad, lots of energy and ideas all the time.

Is perfect sanity possible? Or is sanity just a sloppy indicator of a kind of acceptable middle ground between extremes?


I don't know what excessive sanity would be, but I suspect the philosophical community might be a good place to start looking :P
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby anon » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:40 pm

"Excessive sanity" is an interesting notion - doesn't it suggest a difference between true sanity and false sanity? For instance, maybe conventionally sanity is mistakenly associated with self-control, but excessive self-control exposes the error in associating sanity with self-control at all. Doesn't the mere presence of any form of self-control imply a split personality (self fighting self) anyhow?
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby monkey man » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:41 pm

Hello anon,

I record my thoughts and play them back to myself. If these recordings make sense and match reality then I can state I am sane. This conclusion is derived from the procces of comparison: between mental activity and reality.

I state "B. Pitt is attractive!" or "A. Hitler was a bad person!". Are these real?
It takes only one instance to falsify a theory and if I continue to hold a theory that has been falsified then I define myself as insane.

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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Arcturus Descending » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:20 pm

Faust...

She was pretty nutso, especially at the end, of course. Look - if someone called my mother that, but with affection, I wouldn't have a problem with it at all. My sisters and i have probably used that word about Mom.

So what you are saying here is that because you loved your mother, that gave you and your sisters an excuse to call her names? Do you actually see respect in that? I'm not saying that you did not respect her in other ways. Instead of seeing Alzheimers for the disease it is, and understand that, you chose to trivialize your mother's condition. We often joke at things we have no control of because we are unable to see and accept that we cannot control everything...not even ourselves.

My friend Mary, the one with the voices, referred to herself as nutso, in her more lucid moments.

I can almost understand this as it was her way of dealing with her mental disease, treating it and herself more lightly. But, even if you saw it as okay for you to do the same, perhaps the reality is that we have no right to undermine another's personhood in that way? People are not simply the disease which they have....we are all human beings.

Yes, it's perfectly okay. I have even called my friend Kenny "nigger" - probably only on the basketball court. It's true. Hope that's not offensive to any blacks people who might read this.

I have actually never understood this. There have been more than a few times when I heard black people refer to each other by that word, when I would ask them 'why' and 'how could they'? Their reasoning was that it was okay for them but not for white people! That is a very ugly word which white people have used against blacks for the longest of times. What happens is that that word has become so engrained in a black person's psyche - (but not all of them/those who have transcended it). Just as we all also have become unconciously defined by certain words/thoughts which we've grown up with until we've taken notice of ourselves and gone beyond them - they have become so conditioned to hearing it - that they use it in unawareness with each other, not even realizing how it perpetuates itself and bias/racism. But is that any reason for you to call your friend by that word? Is your mind simply dragged along by others' actions?

Basketball court? Stereotyping?

But you didn’t answer my question – what if some young person with schizophrenia or some other mental illness who was really struggling with his illness and his sense of identity because of it, read your words? Do you think that he might simply focus on the positive part of what you said? How would you answer him in regard to your description of him with that word?

Same way I'm answering you.

That told me nothing. But you might just start with an apology. But of course, you would have to "see" in order to move.

For that i thank a god in which I do not believe.

There you go...there's your logic looming up.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby MagsJ » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:52 pm

For me.. sanity means a balanced perspective on reality...
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Tab » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:31 am

What is sanity?


Well, skipping over the classic bell-curve, 'the majority is always sane' answer, I'd guess sanity would be that which results in behaviour that either positively effects or at least does no harm to the individual in question, in response to external conditions. For positive read - increases happiness/likelihood of survival.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Arcturus Descending » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:23 pm

That's a good answer, Tabby. :)
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It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.


The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory but progress.


“We love repose of mind so well, that we are arrested by anything which has even the appearance of truth; and so we fall asleep on clouds.”


You have to be like the pebble in the stream, keeping the grain and rolling along without being dissolved or dissolving anything else.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby Tab » Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:13 pm

It's not the whole answer though Arc. - can you imagine a situation where a person acting solely along the lines I gave, would be insane..?

And thankyou, btw.
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Re: What is sanity?

Postby statiktech » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:22 pm

Faust wrote:Oh shit, anon. I often wonder what would happen if you put a full-blown, voices-hearing, psychotic schizophrenic on an island by himself for a while. Would you wind up with a quirky but happy guy?


Actually, this is entirely possible. I had schizophrenic friend who took absolutely no exception to his condition. In fact, he found the voices and hallucinations comforting inasmuch as they were forms of constant companionship. He wasn't horribly misguided as to what was/wasn't real either as his hallucinations were quite familiar to him. In other words, they weren't random, off-the-wall, LSD type episodes -- rather, he would see a familiar person/figure and hear the same voice[s]. I think he essentially just came to know them as one might any other acquaintance. He certainly wasn't unhappy with himself, and even claimed to often be more comfortable when he was in a withdrawn hallucinatory state than in, say, simple social situations.
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