Just Jot It January: Sane

Here’s another Just Jot It January prompt I really have no idea what to do with.

The prompt for today is: sane. I’ve always thought of the word as meaning ‘normal’, specifically normal mentally. The dictionary says

adjective, saner, sanest.
1. free from mental derangement; having a sound, healthy mind: a sane person.
2. having or showing reason, sound judgment, or good sense: sane advice.

3. sound; healthy.

So,  I understand the definition of the word. Now, how about the way the word is used in reality. I always had a problem with the use of the word ‘normal’, like who gets to decide what is normal? How do they decide that? Who gets to pick who decides?

I have the same issues with the word ‘sane’. Who gets to decide who’s sane? Who gets to decide what’s reasonable? Why do those people get to decide? Who picked them? Are they sane? Who says?

Is all this picking and choosing just a matter of numbers? Of statistics? Of group think? Or is there a real, rational, reliable, repeatable, scientific way to judge sanity? (and/or normality)?

You really ought to watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (with Jack Nicholson), especially if you believe the psychiatrists are the ones who ought to be in charge of deciding who’s sane (and who’s not) and what to do with the ones who aren’t!

I remember having discussions about this kind of thing with my best friend J. We would argue for hours over what makes a society work, what kind of society is best for people, what is good for people, who decides, on what basis, what limits should there be on human freedom?

I was always on the side of the most freedom. I always argued that people (‘normal, “rational” adults’) had an inherent right to choose how best to live their own lives, that nobody else had any right to interfere. That as long as they weren’t objectively hurting anyone else, that they had the right to do whatever they wanted.

Most people, (my friend included) seem to feel like it all comes down to numbers. That if you’re in the minority, then you just have to suck it up and follow all the rules the majority happens to make, no matter how stupid or harmful they may be.

Is that sane?

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