Article submitted for Winter 2010 edition of Impact Times Magazine
Never would I have considered the word insanity, in any shape, form or fashion pertained to me or anyone I knew. I pictured straight-jackets and padded-walls. However, I’ve discovered insanity runs amuck. Having heard the infamous quote from Albert Einstein about the definition of insanity meaning doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results, it’s only recently I received the revelation of that fundamental truth.
While watching an episode of Wipe Out with my family, I remarked how ‘insane’ these people must be to put themselves, their bodies and their sanity through such a daunting obstacle course. But, in the middle of that statement, I realized these contestants were not insane at all. They embarked on an exciting and dangerous, yet new-fangled adventure. That doesn’t fit in any circumstance under the definition of insanity. It may fit under the guise of extreme, crazy or even stupid behavior, but not insane.
Since receiving this revelation, I’ve noticed just how insane the world really behaves. I see insanity at work, insanity at church, insanity on the radio, television and big screen. I’ve run into insanity in my family, friends and with people whom I fellowship. I’ve even met some insane writers, and how it that possible? Before I received the revelation of the meaning of insanity, I thought all writers were a bit insane, but now I understand that creating an original work of art is anything but insane. However, the pattern of behavior many people perform, hinges on the line of insanity in many of the decisions they make every day. Here are a few examples to show what I’m talking about.
I have a friend who is a terrible flirt. She flirts with all men, no matter their status or success. Being the center of attention takes the highest priority in a social atmosphere. This is habitual for her, yet it never ceases to surprise her that she is inappropriately propositioned by men or finds herself in trouble. The insanity of the situation is that without a shift or change in her behavior, she continually expects a different outcome from the men.
In the political arena, we ‘the people’ are insane. We watch our political leaders do something year after year (they have voting records), all the while promising what our itching ears want to hear, yet we EXPECT them to act and vote differently than they have been all along, just because they said they would. Who’s the truly insane – the politician or the people expecting them to do something they’ve never done before? We forget… if it acts like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck… IT’S A DUCK! Yet, we expect our ducks to magically turn into swans, and make excuses when it’s pointed out our swans are really ducks. Who says magic is make-believe and miracles don’t exist?
With this new revelation of insanity, I’ve gained a sense of liberty; freedom from false expectations. I used to get disappointed in people because they didn’t live up to my level of standards, or I didn’t live up to someone else’s level of expectations for me. Now, I measure a person by their own rulers. If they have short rulers, that’s not my responsibility. I’d be ‘insane’ to expect them to behave to the standards of my own ruler. Some have bigger rulers than me, filled with more responsibilities and capabilities. Some have smaller rulers, smaller expectations; smaller life goals. I’m happier. I might be crazy, but at least I’m not insane.