Sanity Sanity, as it is often defined, is the condition in which one is considered mentally sound. This, stems questions relating to what is mentality, and of course, what is healthy? Many believe that the human mind is subjugated into several distinctive sections; the sensual, affection, moral, intellectual, and spiritual elements. In every department there exists a power that rules the predispositions of the mind, which we know as reason. To maintain sanity through reason, two things are required. First, the harmonious working of all the elements of mind, and second, the ability to analyse and differentiate between the separate components.
It can thus be argued that sanity is an equal development of all man’s mental faculties. Wherever one or other is deficient, there is insanity, or unsoundness. Though it may not be immediately apparent, unless it manifests itself in some extreme. Sanity is also commonly recognized as the capacity to anticipate and appraise the effect of one’s actions.
And again this too raises similar doubts concerning the definition of reality and responsibility, for to anticipate one must be aware of ones surroundings and be able to somewhat accurately predict, and assess an outcome. It is often argued that whether or not “reality” is real, or whether it is in fact, a dream or delusion, a sane man believes that the world around him and the people in it are real. Thus reality is not a constant as such, but is relevant to the time at hand. Again, this affects responsibility, in that no sane man starts burning London in the belief that his servant will soon wake him for breakfast. The fact that, at any given moment, there is no completely tangible evidence that I am not in a dream is immaterial [to a sane person]. Further, responsibility can also be explained through practicality.
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A sane man believes that this world not only exists, but also matters. Therefore sanity leads a man to believe that there is an obligation upon us to interest ourselves in this vision or panorama of life. And sane men believe that there is such a thing as a self, or ego, which is continuous. Thus responsibility and reality are concurrent in us, and cannot be disposed of without disposing of oneself, which under the terms of the previous supposition is undesirable. Thus it can be argued that most sane men believe, that they have a power of choice and responsibility for action.
There is also another possibility relating to perception. It is possible that the sane perceive what is actually “there.” Their sensations are attuned to reality. The insane however, do not perceive the same reality, nor perhaps, do they express their experiences or thoughts in the same format. Thus for some, madness is not a sickness, but simply a “misplacement.” There are obviously numerous counter-arguments against this, and it seems impossible to prove or disprove the theory, unlikely though it may be. Sanity can also be described as the dedication to discovering and acting according to a principle of discoverable truth. This has no repercussions, such as the last two definitions, in that there is no mention of responsibility or “reality,” as such.
This separates conscience from reason, and simply states that to be considered sane, ones actions must be based upon something that is ultimately regarded as “true.” And so another uncertainty arises; “What is truth?” Truth can be defined as the correspondence of a pictorial or symbolic representation to the thing being represented. Thus the question can be reworded as “What is it that is said to be true?” And so a circle is formed in that the subject must rationalize their “true value” in order to be considered sane, yet must arguably be considered sane to rationalize. Another issue, concerning sanity involves the question of rationality, and logistics. Is it possible to be insane, and yet still form rational arguments? Some might think so, though many definitions of sanity (and thus insanity, being the opposite) preclude such an act. If we cannot for see consequences, or do not perceive what is considered reality, or even do not base our actions on a fact of life, then logical thought is impossible. There is also the possibility that insanity is simply an emotional state, in which case rationality is entirely possible, just unlikely.
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In conclusion, no matter what you think sanity is, for the most part, sanity is a comparative measure, which is designed to separate the socially unfit from functional members of society. In day-to-day life, this explanation will suffice. Whilst people are incapable of being unswervingly rational, they can be considered sane by comparison to those who are completely inept at rationalisation.