18th March 2011
Post with 4 notes
- Reason is how we live our lives.
- We spend our lives attempting to be “normal,” attempting to “think the right way,” attempting to “be reasonable.” But to what end? Society tells us that it is acceptable to think a certain way about things, lest we be scoffed at and be labeled irrational. Being reasonable beings is certainly the hallmark of our species, so why should we fight it? We should celebrate it, embrace it. After all, it is through the process of reason that mankind has accomplished wondrous feats in philosophy, science, and mathematics, to name a few.
- Then process of reason is a predictable one. It is comforting. You base your conclusions upon premises and arrive at an answer. The answer makes sense. Just about anyone would agree that it makes sense. It’s the right thing to do. We can breathe a sigh of relief. I’m sick, so I can skip work. I just go paid, so I can buy that new car. I have an A, so I can afford to procrastinate on this assignment. All is good in the world. As we all too often figure out, though, things that are comforting are rarely satisfying.
- There are moments in one’s life when one is struck inexplicably by a moment of genius. When one’s thoughts are so consumed with an idea, so entrenched with its perceived validity, so impassioned with its possibilities that literally nothing else in the world matters. Think of a basketball player who is “in the zone,” or “unconscious.” He hoists shots towards the basket without considering form, follow-through, or fundamentals. They go in, seemingly by magic. This is madness, and it applies to all forms of expertise.
- In a sense, madness is the reward we receive both from dedication to craft and the gift of our talents. Guitarist Eric Johnson described his Grammy-award winning instrumental track “Cliffs of Dover:”
- “I don’t even know if I can take credit for writing ‘Cliffs of Dover’ … it was just there for me one day … literally wrote in five minutes … kind of a gift from a higher place that all of us are eligible for. We just have to listen for it and be available to receive it.”
- Talent and dedication, two seemingly contradictory concepts, seem to merge as the formula to attain the genius that is madness. Eric Johnson spent his entire life pursuing his talents, and he was rewarded, seemingly from above. In this sense madness is something we can strive for, something we can hope to attain.
- The notion of “conventional wisdom” dilutes the potential power that madness can have. No knowledge is permanent. Ask Isaac Newton, who infuriated the church with his scientific inquiries. Ask Albert Einstein, who shifted Classical Physics (coincidentally developed by Newton) downward with his Theory of Relativity. We must inexorably, permanently, strive for something more. Madness is how.
- In this sense, madness is our gift. Indeed, reason may guide the ship, but passion must always power it. After all, sober sense is merely that: Sober. Plain. Subdued. No one may know why we are here, what we are for, and where we will go after our lives are done with, but we cannot methodically drift through life doing what others would think is reasonable or acceptable. We aren’t them. We’re individuals. We have individual talents. The synergy of our collective manifested talents can never be neglected.The world will only be what it can possibly be if we consider the power of madness.
- Socrates, himself a man of reason, said it best:
So, according to the evidence provided by our ancestors, madness is a nobler thing than sober sense. Sober sense is merely human…whereas madness comes from God.