What is Sanity?

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Just about any ordinary person can slip into madness, In fact, all it may take to trigger the process is a special kind of blow to one’s self-image to push someone over the edge of sanity.Why and how normal people go mad, by Jennifer Daw, American Psychological Association


by Renan Javier


Beirut Lebanon

by Ahmad Al Charif, Beirut Lebanon

What is sanity, and how do we come to label someone as sane, vs insane? A dictionary defines the word sanity as “sound of mind”, and/or “sound of judgment”. How very interesting, that the very definition of the word sane, could be so open to interpretation.
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Butterfly by Verdewell

How do we really decide if someone is in possession of soundness of mind and judgement? There does exist obvious cases. For instance, a person committing heinous acts of violence, against others or themselves, does not match the criteria, therefore must be insane, correct?As I write this article, media stations are saturated with news of wars in so many different countries, I find it difficult to keep up, so I gave up trying. These are major conflicts, that in essence, and no matter how hard politicians try to dress it up to be, are all about power, and money. What else do people fight about, really?

These politicians, these individual human beings make statements, argue about making a stand for what they believe is right, and of course on the other end you will find an opposing force, equally as stubborn and with the same brutal amount of conviction.These people, in the name of patriotism, law, ethics, religion, morals, values, and so on and so forth, create conflicts. They develop weapons, and create soldiers. They send them to war, to kill and destroy, no… to vanquish the enemy.

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Who is the enemy, really? Other people, much like ourselves, with conviction, and a solid cause. Because every person’s cause, is righteous to them. And the idea of compromise is unthinkable, because of pride and glory. This would be fine, except that real people are being sent off to their horrific deaths.

Everyday. And all for what? Really, nobody truly knows…Politicians have become experts at stirring up emotions, and off to war we go. Killing an enemy that is exactly like us, only with a different perspective than ours. When does it end, Or how? Most importantly, can it? As humans, are we sound of mind and judgement, if we continue doing what we have been doing throughout history, but expecting a different result?

Has this idea of conquering the enemy, with brutal force, harvested any true peace, that withstood the test of time? Or are we simply stacking up bodies, in an overpopulated planet?In the days of the Romans, people killed each other, while others watched in pleasure and cheered on. Back then it was normal, but now that same act would be deemed outrageous, bordering insanity. So are the things we do today really that sane?  Or are our great great grandchildren, hundreds of years from now, going to look back at us and wonder what in God’s name were we doing?

black butterflyWhere do we draw the line? Sanity is much more difficult to define, than any dictionary could provide. It is about knowing full well who you are, and staying true to that. Its about learning to give full value to all there is to your existence. To your dreams, but above all, to your soul. And your soul does not want people senselessly dying.

I hereby relinquish my sanity for today. I will relinquish my sanity everyday, for as long as I live.

If sanity is to be blind, and self-centered. If it means I have to put my needs, before that of everyone else. If sanity requires that I become a mindless drone, blind to the voice of reason, answering only to the endless needs of a corrupted society and not the mind, then I would much rather be labeled insane, and live happily ever after.


I believe that to be the only sane thing to do.

Ahmad Al Charif

this is… The Neighborhood, created by Kendall F. Person 


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  1. The borderline of defining what sanity is and what not is depends on the society-law and its ethical values, where every action of human could be involve justifying the borderline. However, it is more necessary to remember the true words of Michael Foucault. Perhaps he correctly said in his book “Madness & Civilization” that “Madness, in its wild, untamable words, proclaims its own meaning; in its chimeras, it utters its secret truth.” When we treated a man insane, we have to remember that this man perhaps has some point of his insanity and it should be considered before marking him insane.


  2. This was a thought-provoking read. Thanks for the sharing your thoughts! We do need more people to question the norms.
    I am most probably very uneducated in this regard, but I think that we can’t just choose one way and say that this is the right one. I myself am a big fan of insanity, as you defined it. But at the same time, I cannot just disregard that even ‘sane’ people are equally important. Not all politicians want war and not all ‘sane’ people are self-centered. It takes all kinds of people to maintain the balance. As long as we don’t take our beliefs and ways of lives to an extreme, we are all good. But then, this is just me. 🙂
    Keep sharing!

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  4. So, hey Kendall, this is a good question, but I have spent thirty years on it. I have written a chapter on psychology in not a blog but a page on my website, up in the menu at the top of the screen, under psychology, the second subsection, Notes toward a philosophic psychology. It is serious Philosophy of psychology, a section of the philosophy of science that I seem to have invented- I am not kidding. Few will be able to read it, but then these cannot read Jung, Plato, Aristotle, Bible, Freud, Leo Strauss, Al Farabi etc either, so I do not take their disregard too seriously, at least until they also try to read these, the greatest writers on the topic.

    Mr. Al Charif makes some nice points here. Shakespeare’s King Lear addresses the difference between immorality or wickedness and insanity. I spent seven years commenting on it, longer than the shrinks spend studying drugs and neurons. War is indeed usually insane in most cases, oh, except to stop genocide, classocide, and now religiocide, in which cases war is noble, and peaceniks like me look very foolish, stepping over the corpses of children.

    Our psychology has never studied the well ordered soul at all, but gives us this relativism and ecclecticism, after having spoke authoritatively about “disorder,” the maladaptive or maladjusted, the abnormal, etc. Who knows, maybe Hitler was right, and that scientist of his who did all the Nazi experiments, hey, I’m not one to speak against the “mental health professionals.”

    Incidentally, I hold a PhD, have never been “diagnosed,” (though I am occasionally slandered), and the chip on my shoulder is for other people, those you too may be sending to the mill this week. Be careful, and at least present both sides.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “Be careful, and at least present both sides.” The Neighborhood is an all-inclusive forum, all sides, is what I I try to bring. Hence the guests posts. (big smile). Ahmad informed me that he will be here. I like to yield first response to our guests. But as always, appreciate you adding your voice, I am just not sure if it is this forum you are always addressing. However, you should have an email waiting.

      Liked by 2 people

      • No e-mail has come yet. I am addressing the limitations of our psychiatry because they do not ask the questions Ahmad asks. An example is, “What is Bi Polar disorder.” Yet they are ready with all sorts of drugs with unknown long tern effects, and now with antidepressants, drug people after a fifteen minute interview, literally. I have asked, of these public shootings, “Was Jason Dalton on Antidepressant/” No answer comes, because billions of dollars are being made promoting this stuff. Our ignorance of the causes in psychology allows the prescription drug companies a huge opening, but they do this with every drug, for example Viagra, Blood pressure meds, etc, and their profiteering makes Obamacare more difficult and more expensive. Your forum is about mental health week, and the leading public response, for example to the public shootings epidemic, is that we need more mental health professionals “helping” more people like Jason Dalton, who may have been given “Prozak,” (I have heard), known to make people suicidal and “crazy” (I have heard reported). Public Radio, too, will not even report that this is an open question, whether the drug companies and the psych industry are drugging people for their own profit and even causing the epidemic of public shootings, which began when over-prescribing began, and is occurring primarily in the U. S., which is primarily where this over-prescribing is being done. Takingthemaskoff reports that a law change in 1994 allowed drug companies to market directly to the consumer, which is only allowed in the U. S. and New Zealand. The doctors are given kickbacks like free vacations, and try to see to it that each patient is prescribed something. What is your level of pain, from 1-10? Then, whala, we have an Oxy-heroin epidemic. Am I addressing your forum yet? We no longer read the greatest books of the wisest men, and I do address those who read these and take up these questions for the good of our nation and humanity. Is that your forum? I do not say the same things everyone else says. Plato, in his Phaedo, at about 97-99 (I think) addresses the question of cause which divides the pre-Socratics from the Socratics. Our psychology is mostly pre-socratic, talking of genes and neurons as causes and treating maladies with drugs that are diagnosed not on the basis of science but at best common sense, but also fashionable opinion and self interest. My favorite of late is ODD, opositionald disorder, which is what unruly adolescents have. This is not to say that mental disorders are not real: consider King Lear, Lady MacBeth, and Ophelia in Shakespeare’s study of the issue. But it does mean that our psych does not know what it is doing, literally, and rakes in six figure salaries for doing more harm than good. If this does not address your forum, please send it to Ahmad, and invite him to read the first chapter of a new, Socratic-Jungian psychology, for free on the webpage. You may of course have anything here that you want, too, but I do not have the confidence to send anything- have Ahmad visit and recommend some things if he likes them. I am very happy to find a “philosopher” trying to raise and address these questions.


        P.S. I have two comments on suicide on Takingthemaskoff, one of which Mr. Pfeiffer seemed to like quite a bit

        P.S.S. I wrote today to the daughter of Jackie Robinson on baseball in Cuba through the White House website, and you might do this too. He saw what ML King saw, to not respond, only he did this without reading Ghandi and Plato- thought of it on his own! I told her her father was a very great man, and we should have a Cuban team in the Majors. As always, you may print this or not as it fits- MM

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  7. Incredible!
    I just started blogging last week, and it is a pleasure that I came across your blog.
    It has inspired me to publish my first article.
    Thank you 🙂


  8. Actually, like every state a human being or any other creature can be in… I am wondering if it is 100% negative or maybe depends on the point of view…?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Let me see if I can get Ahmad to respond to your inquiry. But 100% of a high mountain on any measure, I would imagine. Thank you for adding your voice. You are appreciated.


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