We’ve always had difficulty defining insanity. The range of human expression, both verbal and behavioural, is too broad to merit simple dividing lines. Was Hitler insane? Do all geniuses need some insanity for inspiration? Are all religious mystics insane? Mohammed claimed to have ridden his horse Buraq on a midnight jaunt from Mecca to Jeruselam to heaven and back. Is this insane?
Psychatrists in the late nineteenth century used to flock to the Salpêtrière Asylum in Paris to study the latest theories on the identification and treatment of the insane. Now, in the early twenty first century, we can observe it all from our armchairs. I was struck forcibly by this yesterday when I came across the following YouTube video (what else?). The story, briefly, is that a woman called Tricia Walsh-Smith posted a video detailing her feelings about her soon-to-be-ex husband. Whatever the merits of her posting the original video – and it is sure to create heated debate on both sides – she just about stayed within the lines of sanity.
Soon enough, however, the responses came, including this gem from a poster called Obsidian468. Man, is this guy pissed or what? He has it all: the staring eyes, the unkempt appearance, the strange pauses, the vitriol, the hate-filled language, the mono-obsession, and misogynistic ranting. He is a case-study in the early onset of insanity. Barely clinging to normality, this guy, I predict, will be the next mass murderer. Chilling.