This is an appreciation and celebration of the crazy-sane people I know. I'm not naming any - but I'm reflecting on them. I'm exploring facets of their personalities, considering why I include them in the category of crazy-sane, what I mean by it, and why I treasure them.
The "crazy-sanes" I know are "unreasonable" people. I don't mean that they lack reason (some are full of reason and logical thought). I mean unreasonable in the sense of the George Bernard Shaw quote:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"
The crazy-sanes have unconventional views of the world. They are persistant characters. They have vision and/or practical projects, which put them at odds with the way the world works at present, and can make them seem crazy to more conventional people.
People who are extremely "traditionally reasonable" are found in the sane-sane part of the spectrum.
People living in a sane-sane reality bubble find that the world around them, and the people around them, and the ideas in their heads, all match. They all belong to the same reality. The beliefs that sane-sane people hold and the generalisations they make are continually reinforced, as long as they stay in their sane-sane bubble. Some people never look outwards from their sane-sane bubble. Others do. When they do, the view they see from their sane-sane bubble can seem to belong to a different world, one that is disconnected from their reality, and in places rather crazy and inexplicable.
Crazy-crazy (un)reality is the other extrememe to sane-sane. It's the mental space where "nothing matches". It's an individual bubble of severe mental disturbance and isolation.
Crazy-sane people (because they are creative and visionary) are often very isolated in their view of reality (other people "don't get it'). This can sometimes make it hard for crazy-sane people to remain confident about their reality and how sane they are.
A lot of people live their lives in a number of loosely connected, reasonably similar, bubbles and can move from one to the other without too much mental confusion. Of course individual roles change as we move from bubble to bubble. If the roles we take on are very varied, or if the norms inside the individual bubbles are very different to each other, then we get skilled at leaving different "inappropriate" parts of our personalities "outside the bubble", repeatedly casting off, and picking up, different parts as as we move from one reality bubble to the next. We learn to adapt... or do we? It depends on how "reasonable" we are.
The "realities" of the crazy-sane people
By definition crazy-sane people don't belong in any of the existing sane-sane bubbles. There are two extreme options for a crazy-sane person who finds (or puts) him, or her, self in a predominantly sane-sane bubble.
- One extreme option is to Ignore (or genuinely fail to notice) the mismatch between personal crazy-sane reality and predominant sane-sane reality. i.e behave as if the world has already adapted, and your own crazy-sane reality is the norm. This behaviour tends to cause confusion and consternation amongst the majority sane-sane population in the bubble. Things may escalate to some kind of conflict situation (typically verbal but very heated) ending when the crazy-sane person is ejected and sane-sane reality is restored.
- The other extreme is to go under cover. In this scenario the crazy-sane person behaves as if the sane-sane reality is their own reality. They adopt (or mimic) the clothes, language, and behaviour prevalent in the sane-sane group. They suppress any evidence of their crazy-saness. This may be necessary for any number of reasons ranging from the mundane one of doing a day-job, to more "vision-related" reasons, like understanding a system or making contacts. Going under-cover can be psychologically and emotionally draining - like being a spy.
The problem with being crazy-sane is the need to continually negotiate several realities:
- The world "as is" according to current sane-sane wisdom
- The present world according to crazy-sane perception
- The future world (near or far) as it will be according to crazy-sane anticipation when various projects come to fruition or other changes occur.
The behaviour of crazy-sanes tends to be on an odd timescale - long drawn out and made up of many small steps. Often there are perceptions of progress that are so small as to be invisible to others. This is particularly true when much crazy-sane endeavour is to do with vision, unquantifiables and very long term outcomes. Many things tend to emerge along the way and there has to be an approach of flexibility and changes of direction, rather than following a tightly executed pre-determined plan.
Crazy-sanes often belong everywhere and nowhere - flitting from one sane-sane reality bubble to another, continually adapting to the different sane-sane realities, all of which seem crazy to them.
Landscape of Change
Few things will stay as they are. Even fewer things will go back to how they were. It's not a comfortable unchanging sane-sane world that we live in.
The crazy-sanes are all explorers, all making their own paths, all inspired by visions of other realities, realities that are saner than many of the crazy "realities" accepted as normal in our present world. The crazy-sane people I know have values and vision that give me hope for a future world that I would like to live in. As I see them, the crazy-sanes are explorers in the Landscape of Change. They are stubborn, persevering pioneers of our future reality. I celebrate and treasure them.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.