We’re not crazy. We’re batshit crazy. There’s no doubt about it. The best among us know it and have quietly acknowledged their craziness, while the rest live in denial. Personally, I’ve acknowledged this – and that there’s a finite time before my craziness gets out of hand.
How fucked up would it be if you found yourself in the washroom, realizing you’ve been in there for the last five-ten minutes, but the last thing you remember was being in the living room knitting. “Wait, how long have I been here? How did I get here?” Rarely, and I mean rarely, do we acknowledge that we’ve arrived somewhere (mentally) without intent. In fact, we do the opposite. We validate to ourselves and to others. We rationalize and fake logic. We claim to have choice and control over our minds. “There’s a reason why I’m here, feeling this way. Let me explain.” No, no need to explain. You’re crazy, and that’s the only explanation.
This is our brain, all day long. We jump from one thought to another, with no intent, strategy, or conscious permission given to our broken operating system. We simply find ourselves in places both physically and emotionally. Sometimes good places – sometimes shitty.
How about that time your significant other really pissed you off – in your dreams. Of course, you just had to take it out on her in real life? Or perhaps the time you were looking for a lost item, turning your house inside out, only to remember it’s in your pocket.
Then there’s the constant-non-stop dialogue we have with ourselves.
We talk to ourselves as if we’re talking to an audience – or another person. “Hey, what do you feel like eating?” “Great question. How about pizza?”. The only real difference between the clinically insane and the quietly-insane is that the latter have conversations in their head.
– Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
And can we please admit that our memories are broken? Scientists know that our memories are always changing, and at worst, we accept new ones out of thin air. “I swear I lent you twenty bucks. Are you sure, I didn’t?” In another example, a study of people were told that they got sick eating egg salad when they were young. The false memory was accepted, which altered the groups behavior to avoid egg salad.
Have you ever experienced this: You’re speaking to someone close to you, and almost out of nowhere, the conversation turns ugly.
– Mark Twain
You may have unknowingly said an innocent word that triggered an emotional response, which now has caused the person to berate you out of anger. You can’t believe the shit you’re hearing, while the other person continuously misinterprets your sentences. Everything you say seems to be wrong or just plain insulting. Perhaps this person is crazy, at least momentarily. But most likely, you both are.
Words are powerful when heard and seen. Even when they are masked among other non-sensical words, our subconscious minds pick them up and are affected. “Our results suggest that the amygdala is automatically involved in the coding of a semantic dimension of words, threat, regardless of their category, frequency, or length.” – The National Academy of Sciences
One of my favourite interview questions I like to ask is, “Out of five, what is your perception of reality?” Anyone answering 2.5 or above is not only crazy, they’re not getting hired. Let’s face it. We do not experience full reality, we perceive it. Our hearing is limited, our sense of smell is inferior, we only see a fraction of the colours in the light spectrum (10% of men are color-blind and humans just recently evolved to see the colour blue!), and our perception changes completely based on environmental conditions from the weather (see SAD) to the bacteria in our stomach (listen to microbiome at 14:00 and scholarly articles on the subject).
– Tim Ferriss, Are We Really 10% Human and 90% Bacteria? Exploring The Microbiome
Need more proof? Take some time and watch What The Bleep Do We Know?! Down The Rabbit Hole.
I’ve been meditating daily (finally) for the last three months. Regardless of the intent, which is always the same (clear the mind, focus on breathing), there are days I’m able to do this with some success, and days where my mind is just completely scattered with noise. Just randomness. Memories I’ve forgotten for decades, Nicholas Cage, dinner plans, multiple realities of the future, and of course, reliving the past. None of which I wanted. None of which I asked for. All of which my broken mind dished out, taking me away from the precious Now.
― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
I love meditation. Especially when I’m able to turn off the noise. These moments of reflection and attempts to quiet the mind have given me ample evidence that I don’t have as much control over my mind as I’d like to think. I may be in a complete blissful state during meditation – and then, just suddenly out of nowhere, I realize I’ve been thinking about dijon mustard for the last two minutes. “What the fuck? At what point did I get here? At what point did I give myself permission, and knowingly made a transition from Nirvana to Dijon?”
Honestly, I can’t tell you. But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that has experienced this.
Most of us will never fully grasp the dangers and absurdity of Dijon. Many of us will commit to our thoughts, rationalize our beliefs, and let our minds run wild. Alas, there is another way to experience life; a much more sane one. It is an existence in which our soul is not held captive to our broken operating systems. It’s not easy at first; admitting that our jealousy is unfounded, or that our anger is irrational but rather just us experiencing hangry. But it’s worth it. It will save us time, money, relationships, and keep our blood pressure low. Acknowledging our crazy is the first step to self awareness.