My blog introduces Bea Turvey as a mad woman which presupposes that not everyone is mad. Talking to a colleague the other day he mentioned the manner in which he read silently (rather, the inner workings of his brain) and he had always imagined that everyone did exactly the same thing because he couldn’t see into their heads. There were a group of children somewhere at sometime (I don’t remember the particulars of the case) who had been in pain for their whole lives. A kindly nurse one day introduced them to the marvels of pain killers and they were pain-free for the first time. Up until then they had assumed that everyone suffered as they did. I mentioned in a previous blog how I had never realised people ate animals, had assumed everyone ate the same food that I did.
So, maybe I am wrong to assume that not everyone is slightly skewed in their mental meanderings. I mean, how do we gauge normal? Is there a standard somewhere? And how do we know that the person who decides what is normal is not themselves out-of-balance? I have been pondering this all night and have come to one conclusion only (it was a very short thought-process as I was quite tired): madness is surely a condition that prevents us from interacting with the other members of our community in a sensible, reasonable and considerate manner. But in the grey light of a Monday morning I realise that doesn’t necessarily apply as thieves are none of these things yet they are not necessarily mad.
More research is required but I can understand now how easy it has become for psychiatrists to make such a fantastic living in the west. If there is no conclusive starting point to assess madness, no scale, then we all start at the same point and from there we can only get madder if we think about it long enough.
I’m off to find some aspirin and chocolate.