Sep 20

Insanity: Its Real Meaning Is Not What You Think It Is

True or False: Insanity, rather than being the synonym for mental illness that most people seem to think it is, is actually a legal term.

Answer: Kinda True/Kinda False

True, it’s best used as a legal term. It’s not appropriate for use in medical or psychiatric settings. However, many years ago it was acceptable in these realms.

False, because words have a funny way of wheedling their way into common parlance and commanding respect for how people choose to use them versus how they’re “supposed” to be used.

In the definition given below by Merriam-Webster, you’ll find “insanity” to be all three of the following: a mental disorder, a legal status, and a casual way to label something/someone considered “off.”

  1. a deranged state of the mind usually occurring as a specific disorder (as schizophrenia),
  2. such unsoundness of mind or lack of understanding as prevents one from having the mental    capacity required by law to enter into a particular relationship, status, or transaction or as removes one from criminal or civil responsibility,
  3. a: extreme folly or unreasonableness, b: something utterly foolish or unreasonable.

Some Quotes About Insanity

Ray Bradbury: “Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.”

R.D. Laing: “Insanity – a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.”

Nora Ephron: “Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”  

Rita Mae Brown: “The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they’re ok, then it’s you.”

Christopher Moore: “If you think anyone is sane you just don’t know enough about them.”

Sam Levenson: “Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your children.”

Narcotics Anonymous (1981): “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” (This attribution is thanks to Cara Santa Maria, who acknowledges that Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Mark Twain are all wrongly but frequently given credit for this quote.)

Jun 29

Nora Ephron, Heroine Known For Her Humorous Writing

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” Nora Ephron

This is just one of many serious quotes that have been attributed to writer Nora Ephron (1941-2012), who died this week after a secret battle with leukemia.

But Nora Ephron was also known for her sense of humor. And one of her friends has publicly noted that even as Ephron was dying, she was still cracking jokes. Not that she wasn’t also showing sadness. She could do both.

“My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next.”

I don’t know if she was ever in therapy, but she did seem therapy-oriented in some ways. For example, in her first novel, the semi-autobiographical Heartburn (1983), group therapy figured prominently. The movie version, which featured Meryl Streep as lead character Rachel, contained a scene in which she and others get robbed during a session.

Actually, it’s quite possible that in real life Nora Ephron spurned shrinkage in favor of something else. According to the New York Times, she once said about her choice to engage in twice-a-week professional blow-drying of her hair:

“It’s cheaper by far than psychoanalysis and much more uplifting.”

Also on the topic of hair, she had stated:

“…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”

Other Nora Ephron quotes of interest:

Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.

[A successful parent is one] who raises a child who grows up and is able to pay for his or her own psychoanalysis.

When you’re attracted to someone, it just means that your subconscious is attracted to their subconscious, subconsciously. So what we think of as fate is just two neuroses knowing that they are a perfect match.

Sometimes I believe that some people are better at love than others, and sometimes I believe that everyone is faking it.

Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.

You always think that a bolt of lightning is going to strike and your parents will magically change into the people you wish they were, or back into the people they used to be.