What is sanity?

For the last few days, this seems to be the topic of conversation that has cropped up between friends and family. Is it the case that we’re all vaguely insane, or is there a label for every personality digression under the sun now?

Personally, I’ve always had the theory that we’re all vaguely insane in our heads, though what we let to the surface is where the distinction, how these thoughts translate into words, work and actions. We’ve all got quirks and obsessions; some phobias, others OCD, etc. For example, I’m obsessed with splitting hairs if I see a split ends, or I’m weirded out by grated cheese. I wonder how much of these things do we keep inside, and how much should we.

One thing I learned about today was the Rosenhan Experiment where healthy pseudopatients pretended to display symptoms of schizophrenia to be admitted to various psychiatric hospitals, then acted normally. Doctors couldn’t tell who the pseudopatients were, and they were diagnosed with schizophrenia in remission. Second time the experiment was repeated, doctors identified many sane people, yet this time, no fake patients were admitted.

I’d quite like to look a bit more into it all… Gillian Wearing’s Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say is the first thing that has sprung to mind. I’d like to see the whole series, instead of the few you get when you can find with google images.

This has been a totally mishmashed post, but I’m going to stop rambling and leave with the trailer for Englar Alheimsins, or Angels of the Universe in English. It’s a great book and film by Icelandic author Einar Már Guðmundsson. It’s semi-fictional, strongly based around his brother’s time in Klepp, a mental hospital in Iceland. Unfortunately, I saw the final scene before the rest of the film in a museum, which I totally regret. What I will say about it is this: the Sigur Rós song in that scene, Death Announcements and Funeral Arrangements is a very literal title, as it’s an arrangement of a tune that was played during these announcements on the radio. It made me appreciate the song on a totally different level. Seriously though, if you get a chance, read this book.

Anyway, apologies for the rather badly written post, I’m off to bed to sleep off this hangover.

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