Folks: We have been struggling about politics and euthanasia and other deadly subjects, and some you who have responded seem to be struggling with the same dilemma that Mr. Thompson has experienced – to understand our sanity. With Mr. Thompson’s permission, I thought it appropriate, to share his recent letter, which I hope you will find instructive.
Dear Mr. Spence,
As you know, I have long ago come to grips with my own insanity. I am, indeed, insane.
I recognize that some of what I have reported came to me in dreams, and some claim dreams are not real – that when you are dancing with Marilyn Monroe and feeling all heady and fuzzy in certain ways, and then you watch her walk over that grate in the street and her skirt blows up, that such sights and feelings are less real than when the President Bush comes on TV and says we should charge into Iraq to kill all those people over there who are terrorizing us by threatening that they will shut off our oil, and who thereby require our help in becoming democratic by being bombed. What I am trying to say is that it is hard sometimes to distinguish between what is real and what is not.
I know the experts claim that the definition of insanity is that state in which a person cannot tell the difference between reality and dreams, or, as the psychologists like to call such dreams, “hallucinations.” But we understand that those who feel drawn to examine into our hallucinations and who try to tell us what is real and what is not, are only reflecting upon their own perilous journey that keeps popping them in and out of reality like Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Tender White Popcorn in the microwave. So to that extent, I may be totally sane, since, although I cannot be sure about what is real and what is not, I do know that if you know that you do not know what is real and what is not, and if you know that what is not real may be real, then, reality is like beauty – it is in the eye of the beholder – which startling revelation was first provided us in 1878 by Margaret Wolfe Hungerford in her book, Molly Bawn. Ms. Hungerford had just cause to believe that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” because she was, according to an overwhelming majority of those eyes beholding her, thought to be devastatingly ugly while she thought herself quite magnificently beautiful.
Mr. Spence, I want you to know that I have struggled so hard to recognize what is and what is not real that my brain has turned to tapioca pudding. I have dreamed both forward and backward, from the bottom to the top and vice versa. I have turned my dreams inside out and examined them carefully in my dream decoder, upon which I have a patent pending, and I have looked at the various critical issues in my life squarely in the eye with a massive assortment of glasses – my 250 strength reading glasses, my 3-D glasses, my rose colored glasses as well as innumerable brands of nationally advertised sunglasses, all in a good faith attempt to determine what is or is not real.
Therefore, since I am not able to determine absolutely what’s up and not up, I have, from time to time in my discussions with you just made it up. This is especially the case when I was popping in and out of reality or un-reality like Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Tender White Popcorn in the microwave oven. Some of the facts and incidents I have told you may be more or less fiction. But I am not confident which are and which are not. In the end, it makes little difference since the stranger things are the more likely they are to be true.
And remember that Freud himself must have been crazy, because how can a person, for instance, expound with authority about the taste of chocolate ice cream without having ever tasted chocolate ice cream, any more than a person can write about insanity without having experienced its hellish depths and its heavenly heights as well? Therefore, if Freud is to be taken seriously we must conclude that he was seriously insane.
And some say that Van Gogh, who chopped off an ear, was insane (which logically would render him only slightly out of balance since he chopped off only one, not two.) And Friedrich Nietzsche was clearly insane. According to his biographers, he had his greatest gestalts after the ravages of syphilis had chomped away at his frontal lobes, which is to say that we celebrate the philosophy and teaching of a man who was being strapped into bed at night in a mental hospital and who had to eat their tasteless food which, in itself, is cause for severe mental distress if not irreversible trauma, and which, therefore, renders the sanity of both Nietzsche as well as his biographers subject to serious doubt.
God, Himself or Herself, as the case may be, is not much better off because He or She has all that power and intelligence and yet does not know the difference between right and wrong — that it is wrong to let people suffer when He or She has the power to make us all deliriously happy, that He or She could, if He or She chose, let every man actually see with his own two naked eyes Marilyn Monroe, in the flesh, standing over that grate. And, as any lawyer knows, and I am a lawyer, the definition of insanity in the law is that the said subject – sometimes called the respondent – does not know the difference between right and wrong – a test best known as McNaughton’s Rule, current in most states today. Therefore, God is also insane because God obviously does not know the difference between right and wrong, which makes me feel all the more close to God.
And so, Mr. Spence, I leave it to you to determine what is real and what is not, what is right and what is not, and who, therefore is insane, and who is not. And like Orville Redenbacher always concluded his pitch, I conclude mine: “I thank you for your support.”
Argus Joseph Thompson, Insane