Essay by Dr Illya Ness
Thinkers’ Corner features theoretical essays on everything from politics to the paranormal, science to religion, crime to love, offering a different way of thinking best described as Rational Holism.
Modern society has a problem with eccentricity. It doesn’t seem to fit any more. Today we have to be ordered, like cogs in a machine. The problem with this is real genius has always gone hand in hand with eccentricity.
Maybe that’s why our culture is so sterile today. And without the stimulus the genius used to provide, sterile order leaves us without meaning. Could this be why so many seem to have problems today, with drugs, crime and depression?
It all seems insane to me. But of course, eccentricity and insanity are closely allied and have a purpose. Today a schizophrenic is simply mad. Yet just look at the old style shaman, hearing voices, orchestrating hysterical ritual. Maybe schizophrenia itself used to have purpose, providing culture and wellbeing in a tribe.
Madness, you see, has always been devised by the knowledge structure in order to alienate types of behaviour deemed inappropriate – such as the genius of the eccentric to stir up culture and stimulate us above normal social control.
This gives us a hint of what may lie behind madness, for while society may like this form of order, the inner person does not. Hence, in order to survive the strictures of society we all create a social mask, an outside persona which people think is the real you. When in reality the real you is a cauldron of inner turmoil as you fail to feel totally as one with your society.
The social self – the mask – drives us mad, with psychological problems arising because of its conformity. Maybe we need to realize this and, for true psychological health, be allowed to vent our need for deviance now and again – just as the hysterical shaman allowed.
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