Social Question

poisonedantidote's avatar

In your own personal opinion, do you think I am insane?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21549 points ) January 12th, 2013

This is posted in the social section so there can be some humor, but I am mainly looking for serious answers here for once, so I ask that you please keep your main answer mostly serious, as I could use the clarity.

As some of you no doubt have noticed, I can be very extreme in some of my views. When expressing these views, a lot of people disagree with me.

I am used to people disagreeing with me, people have disagreed with me on all kind of things. Normally, I will start off thinking the person debating me is wrong, and will then perhaps start to see some valid points in their counter arguments, and in some cases, I may even come around to their way of thinking completely.

However, regarding my more extreme views, when people have debated me on it, I have failed to see any validity in their counter arguments on the matter.

It seems strange to me, that so many people, who I regard as sane and intelligent, totally disagree with me, on something that is so extreme, and that I would not see any validity in their counter arguments to my views. Specially, when these people seem to be arguing and making points, that most of the population make.

I have to ask myself, if it is possible that my views could be so extremely different, to so many other peoples views, without me being someone who is insane or not thinking right.

I am asking this question on this site, because I have only doubted my sanity while debating fellow members on this site, and always regarding my more extreme views.

I am not asking if I am normal. I know my arguments are not normal or popular, and I know they are not always totally logical, I am asking if I am insane.

When you see me making arguments, such as prisons should be abolished, governments should be disbanded, police should be challenged, and so on. What does that make you think about my mental health?

Do you see me as immature? angry? excentric? wrong? or do you perhaps see me polishing my rifle at the top of the clock tower?

From what you know of me from my time here and our interaction, do you think I’m probably insane at all?

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35 Answers

SABOTEUR's avatar

Reminds me of a saying I’m particularly fond of:

The difference between me and you is, I know I’m crazy.

(I’m very serious.)

Kropotkin's avatar

“A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.”

Diagnosing someone as insane has been used as a means of suppressing political dissent, and still is in places like China. A lot of supposed disorders are also little more than things that fall outside of normative behaviour.

I think there is a general hostility to atypical opinions, especially things that challenge or dissent from the mainstream, even in our so-called liberal democracies where free speech and tolerance is supposed to reign.

But what do I know? I’m also a nut who thinks prisons should be abolished, government disbanded, and police challenged. Actually, anti-authoritarian personalities are often diagnosed with some sort of psychiatric disorder.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Draw a circle.

Imagine that circle represents “Truth”.

Now fill that circle with people looking in different directions.

Everyone’s perspective is different because they look at and accept different aspects of the same Truth.

But it’s all Truth.

It just depends on what you choose to see and accept.

flutherother's avatar

The fact that you ask this question is a clear sign of sanity. Thinking that the police should be locked up and the prisoners set free is an extreme view but it is as valid as anyone else’s view. In certain circumstances a majority would agree with you. The important thing is to remain in control of your feelings and not let your feelings control you.

Pachy's avatar

Some people seek attention and muster self-worth by automatically taking extreme positions—knowing these views will incite. I don’t know you, but I’ve known several people like that.

bookish1's avatar

I don’t think that being an anarchist makes you insane. Idealistic and unrealistic, perhaps, but it’s better than being a Stalinist… I do think that anarchy can be an immature position, but not always. I have a lot of sympathy with anarchy, but I had to part ways with it because it occurred to me that people will not just be good in the way you envision simply because you fervently want them to be.

Remember that sanity is not statistical. There’s nothing wrong with being unable to assimilate into a sick world…

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room I have been known to do that, but only with things I’m not serious about.

I’ll come back read all the answers again properly int he morning, I’m quite tired now.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@poisonedantidote You know the difference between insane people and sane people? Insane people never question their sanity. They think they’re fine. You have some different views, but that’s fine. If we were all alike life would be boring.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t believe even you could live in the world you describe, I think you are unrealistic, not that there’s anything wrong with that! :-)

Shippy's avatar

I think you are reactive to what is happening around you, in your country, or culture. A lot of things I have posted, have seemed crazy by some people. Then I have explained further as to what brought me to this train of thought. (I am for example thinking of your post regards the police as an example).

Some of my examples would include people saying, well get therapy for this or that. Can’t afford to do so right now. Doesn’t mean there is no therapy in Africa, of course there is and some dam good therapists. It’s just not what I can actually do right now.

In its simplest terms to be insane is to lose touch with reality. But I questions with who’s reality? There are so many variables in each question. So many acquired frames of reference to each persons stance on an issue.

Anger can also slant or skew a view. I doubt you are insane and if you were for the most part drugs keep nutters living on the street. So it’s all OK

tinyfaery's avatar

Sane people might think they are crazy, but crazy people think they are becoming more and more sane.

burntbonez's avatar

I think your views are strange, but you are far from insane. Almost by definition, an insane person couldn’t be able to participate in fluther, because when you are insane, it is really hard to organize your thoughts, and hard to express yourself, either in speech or in writing. Your words, even if many disagree with them, make sense.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, I don’t think you are insane.

I think you do not think of the consequences of some of your suggestions. You seem to believe that the way to correct what you see is wrong is to destroy it or get rid of it, without having a clear idea of what the results would be.

There’s nothing insane about wanting change.

ETpro's avatar

I don’t know which of your opinions you consider to be extreme. Like you, I have strong opinions, and in some cases these run counter to much of the culture around me. I will consider the “normal” view, but not adopt it simply by weight of how many people hold it to be true.

Virtually everyone once agreed that the world was flat. They “knew” that the Sun, the Moon, the planets (the ones that they could see without a telescope), and the stars were all set in a great dome called the heavens. They were certain that the dome of the heavens revolved around the geocentric earth. The Bible says it is so.

They all agreed that disease was the result of witchcraft or demonic possession. Then after that, they were convinced illness came from bad humors in the blood, and cutting the sick one with a dirty barber’s razor would let the noisome bad humors drip out.

They agreed everything was made of earth, wind, fire and water. Later still, they agreed all was made of atoms, the indivisible, ultimate building block of matter.

So if I have strong evidence to support my beliefs, I only abandon them when someone shows me where my evidence is wrong or there is other, more compelling evidence that I need to take into account. Truth isn’t decided by the number of votes a given idea gets, it exists outside of human thought. So good cultures are driven by the growing body of facts we know, not by dogma and ideology.

Now for the humor you said was OK. This NSFW rant by dark comedian, George Carlin, lists a long litany of people he jokingly says “ought to be killed”. Note that many—most—are on his shit list because they are just average Joes or Janes, picking their beliefs by what’s popular in their cultural niche rather than what reason dictates. I think I’m sane and the bleep bleep idiots Carlin thinks we could do better without are either insane or so insipid as to be indiscernible from the insane. That they think the same of me on those rare occasions when my presence and considered beliefs disturbs their torporal stupor enough that they dare to think concerns me not at all. If you’re going to stick with your beliefs, and not be driven insane by each new public opinion poll our corporate masters push, I recommend you develop the same thick skin. :-)

livelaughlove21's avatar

Insane? No. Then again, I’m not a mental health professional, so how am I to know for sure?

Your views are definitely extreme and, if you ask me, incredibly unrealistic. Like I said in the other question, I couldn’t wrap my head around what you were saying because I could see no possible way your ideas would work. That, however, is just another opinion. I’d say we’ll never know if abolishing prisons, police, and government would work because it will never happen, so it’s a moot point.

You’re allowed to hold any opinion you’d like, and it doesn’t make you insane. It might make you wrong (who knows?), but you’re also allowed to be wrong.

You should just expect to continue to boggle people’s minds with your comments. :)

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve seen insane—at least when it is under control. Actually, I’m not sure what insane is. I think it means you completely unable to cope with life, and in addition, you are a danger to others.

You do not seem to have a problem coping with life. I mean, not any more so than most people. Your thinking seems fairly orderly. You can express yourself well. Perhaps you arguments are not popular, but that is not a criteria for insanity. Or if it is, then there are a lot of others here who are insance, because there are plenty of people who take unpopular positions at time, including me.

In any case, you may have more hidden support than you know about. Sometimes people let the guy who is out front on the issue take the heat, when they don’t want to take on that particular battle. You’re doing just fine. Please don’t worry.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Crazy maybe but not necessarily insane.

jonsblond's avatar

No. I think the majority of Fluther is insane. :P

You’re cool.

ninjacolin's avatar

Got links to some discussions you think you were really vocal about your insane ideas of crazitude?

If my guess is right that I’m fairly normal.. then you probably just sound about as crazy as I seem to you. If you think something is a good idea that really isn’t, you don’t happen to have the luxury of ALSO being able to tell how bad and short sighted of an idea it is.

So.. good luck, I guess. :) To all of us, really.

ninjacolin's avatar

Also, I hereby promise to try to help you see things my way if it makes you feel better. :)

Bellatrix's avatar

I’m not a psychiatrist or psychologist so I can’t say whether you are sane or insane. You have different views of the world, that doesn’t make you crazy. You are what I would call an ‘outlier’ in some areas so am I, I don’t believe that makes you insane either. Are you closed minded? Possibly.

Pachy's avatar

I don’t think you’re insane. I think you’re bright and articulate and are trying to understand yourself better by seeking input from others. Kudos.

Bill1939's avatar

Outliers are sane, usually. Were it not for explorers of alternate thought, we would live as those two millennia ago. (Some still do.) Some think they want to (or at least return to the good old ‘fifties). It is like one is left-handed or something other than Christian living in a rural Midwest community. We, you and I, poisonedantidote, are different from the usual. It is a blessing and a curse. But it is not insanity.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I thought you were insane for moving off the Island. All the tourist websites make it sound like heaven. ;-)

fremen_warrior's avatar

Asking a serious question in social?

You must be crazy!

ninjacolin's avatar

So I read your contrasting posts about pedophiles vs cops and I’ll answer your question from above.. @poisonedantidote asked: “Do you see me as immature? angry? excentric? wrong? or do you perhaps see me polishing my rifle at the top of the clock tower?”

In this one matter, I see you as “racist against cops” or another term maybe “police-phobic”… you are fallaciously over-generalizing and over-attributing evil unto an entire profession when global evidence does not support your conclusions. It’s like someone who absolutely hates and mistrusts bakers or corporate executives or postal workers or airline stewards.

There are many white people in america who share the same kind of hatred and expectation of evil toward black people. There are also black people in america who have experienced terrible things at the hands of whites who no longer trust or have anything good to say about white people. There are people who can get so mad at their enemy that they think it fit to harm their enemy’s innocent family or friends out of spite for the enemy himself.

Do you see where I’m getting at?

You’re associating the term “evil” with “all police”. You’re considering the occupation of “policeman” an indecency in the same way that being a pedophile is an indecency.

You speak of police abusing their powers as if you and the people you love don’t abuse their powers respectively every day. You seem to imagine them being the worst possible form of evil. As if people only become police when they are evil in their heart. As if accepting police duty is itself the test for whether or not you are a truly evil and retribution-deserving person.

Police aren’t evil. Some people are. Some people who are evil become police officers. There just isn’t anything ACTUALLY infectiously evil about the profession itself. When you become a cop, you don’t necessarily become evil. The world just isn’t that magical.

You’re racist or xenophobic against against cops.

In the philosophy world you are committing several fallacies but I’ll pick this one out specially: Hasty generalization, or converse fallacy of accident

Your conclusion comes from this: “Every cop I’ve experienced has been evil. Therefore all cops must be evil.” But your experience is not the only experience in the world. Others have only had positive experiences with cops. So, you have to include their conclusions into your final answer. It must become: “Some cops we have experienced has been evil. Some cops we have experienced have been good. Therefore some cops must be evil but some cops must be good.”

Corruption is a legitimate concern however. It is very possible that in Spain (if that is where you live) or at least in your area of the city, there is a higher percentage of bad cops hanging around than in other communities.

Paradox25's avatar

Personally I don’t feel we’re all that different, but pressures due to societal norms tend to force us to feel ‘good’ about being perceived in a certain light rather than feeling good about being ourselves, along with expressing it. You’re strong with expressing your views because you legitimately are passionate about how you feel. I can be very strong in expressing my views too, of which I know some are drastically different than yours.

Who really is anyone else to consider one ‘insane’ based on their viewpoints alone? How many logically sound people disagree with one another? I would answer my latter question by saying many.

flutherother's avatar

@ninjacolin Disliking the police isn’t the same as disliking black people or disliking Mexicans. Police are ordinary people carrying out a role in society and obeying orders. It is legitimate to consider this role repressive and corrupt and if you feel this way you may well feel angry at those who choose to do it. This isn’t the same as racism.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Thanks for all the answers, I will be reading over them closely the next couple of day.

I just wanted to make sure that I had not pushed my mind to insanity, as I do actually actively work on trying to see things different. I was starting to wonder if I was heading for a life as the crazy guy who yells things at passing cars.

ninjacolin's avatar

@flutherother racism and homophobia and sexism and antisemitism and this new thing I’m calling police-phobia (or maybe just “occupation-phobia” for lack of a more eloquent expression) all share the same cause: ignorance. aka. Fallacy. aka. Invalid and Unsound conclusion forming about a grouping of people.

@poisonedantidote, you don’t have to be insane to make that kind of mistake. lol, I don’t think anyone thinks you might be insane. haha. That’s a very strong word. I can see how being opinionated can feel that way though. Rather than say: “I must be insane” I guess simply try: “I don’t get how these two things aren’t the same.” Which is what you did in that thread I was referring to. And if people can’t convince you one day, they might convince you the next. Sometimes it takes years of study and experience to overcome a strongly held set of beliefs. Even if you’re entirely wrong (which I happen to think you are) about the evil of all cops, you may not find out for 2 months or even longer. But it’s a very sane thing to require extra time to wrap your head around a foreign concept.

On the other hand, if you really do think you might have a foreign point that others have not thoroughly considered, then you can imagine it might take some time and effort before they are converted over to your way of thinking. But it doesn’t make them insane for not understanding the hidden truths you have access to. It just makes them ignorant. And of course, the world has had many paradigm shifts over the years as others made clear earlier in this thread. So, it’s possible that others disagree with you only because you haven’t communicated your concerns clearly enough for others to be able to relate to them.

flutherother's avatar

@ninjacolin It depends on the police and who is giving them their orders. It is not unknown for police to be racist, homophobic, sexist or anti semitic.

ninjacolin's avatar

it’s not unknown for police to be black, gay, male/female, or jewish either.. right?
I think there’s some mis-communication going on here somehow.

flutherother's avatar

@ninjacolin Right, but their blackness, gayness, gender or ethnicity is less important than the uniform they wear while they are acting as policemen. Would you agree?

YARNLADY's avatar

Here is the same question another user asked a few months age, for the same reasons you have asked. You might be interested in the responses.

ninjacolin's avatar

@flutherother :( I don’t know where you’re going with that question. “important” how?

The role of a policewoman is to execute established law. Simply by not apprehending an innocent passerby, they are performing their duty. Similarly, by apprehending a suspect they are performing their duty. Your white blood cells operate in the same fashion in order to assist the body in its overall goals.

As humans, the people advising the officers as well as the officers themselves are subject to making mistakes, being deluded, and being wrong. This is why laws are reviewed in courts and often changed, removed, amended and/or new laws are brought into effect and also why officers are policed for their behavior, given training, performance reviews, fired, newly hired, sued, etc.

The system knows it can fail and it has provisions in place to help itself learn to do better. law is organic.

Yes, police as an institution in America before slavery ended was a racist institution. But today’s modern police institutions (at least in the west) are not inherently racist, sexist, or what have you. There are individuals who are and who taint the pool, of course, just as there may be such people in your own family. But the system itself isn’t out to get people. The system itself is benign. And if not benign entirely, it’s certainly come a long way. The direction of the system is definitely benign-ward if not progress-ward.

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