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I'm Not Mad, Doctor, It's the Rest of the World

by Robert D Dangoor(more info)

listed in holistic psychotherapy, originally published in issue 174 - September 2010

A doctor prescribes some pills for me. "Take those," he says, "and you will feel much better."

I tell him there is nothing wrong with me; it's the rest of the world that is mad.

So, what does 'mad' mean?  One dictionary definition is 'mentally deranged' while another has it as 'insane.'

Therefore, if so many every day incidences in the world are considered to be 'normal,' wouldn't it be better for me to be 'mad?'  When a man indecently assaults a defenceless child, in all probability that will affect the rest of that child's life. Is that normal? And when a senior citizen is murdered by a teenage drug addict for £5... is that normal?

In the wider world, when a country goes to war - not for democracy, but for oil - is that normal, too?

man falling off the world

There is a saying, 'Being born is an accident; death is inevitable'. But some people kill themselves because they cannot bear to be alive. Not only that, but more and more religious and political fanatics are strapping bombs to their bodies with the intention of detonating them in a crowded place so that they can take other lives as well as their own. What is normal about that?

On a personal level, one couple may decide to abort their baby while another couple are paying out thousands of pounds for someone else's baby, or for fertility treatment which may or may not be successful.

On a practical basis, when someone spends £5 on a packet of cigarettes, he usually becomes even more nervous. And an habitual drinker tries to cheer himself up by drinking more alcohol, but it only serves to make him even more depressed. One in four people suffer from depression at some stage of their life.

Depression, and especially manic depression, is caused by mood swings. Every day, we all react to others like the swing of a pendulum. If you ask for something, you either get a positive answer or a negative one. You must say 'please' when you ask, and to get it, you have to please. Sometimes, but not always, the request is governed by money. And so is the reaction. If you ask someone for something, they will not necessarily agree, and this is a defence mechanism.

A shop assistant may deal with hundreds of people in the course of a day and she cannot react positively to all of them. Sometimes, the other person does nothing wrong, but may still provoke a negative response. But they would rather be negative than not noticed at all.

If a job needs to be done, it can depend as much on the least important as on the boss. And, if someone serves you in the shop every day, they will only respect you if you are not dependent on them... if you can walk away and come back another day.

There is a very old saying: 'Don't mix business with pleasure' and how true this is, because if you become friendly with someone who is working for you, you are disclosing a weakness and they may take advantage of that. Someone who is physically or mentally stronger than another person may also react in a negative way. Someone who thinks he is strong and attacks a person who is weak, is not strong at all. He is in fact very weak. A truly strong person does not need to openly demonstrate the fact; he certainly does not need to attack the weak. The pendulum swings wildly only when the balance or the rhythm is disturbed.

These encounters are often between strangers or little-known acquaintances. It is different with a friend. If you ask advice from a friend, he will not usually tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear, even though he may seem disloyal. When a friend points out that you have a fault, does he do it to annoy you, or to help you to become a better person?  You know the saying, 'A friend in need is a friend indeed'.

In everyday relationships, the pendulum oscillates between love and hate, sometimes in a sarcastic way, showing jealousy of one person by another. In a survey carried out on LBC Radio, when listeners were asked whether love was entwined with hate, 62% said yes.

On a personal level, do you trust your friend, or a stranger who knows nothing about you? Better the Devil you know... but he cuts deeper. Your friend knows your weaknesses and if he is jealous of your money, or whatever, he could easily take advantage of your confidence in him. Again, to the swing of the pendulum, there is only one thing better than to put someone down and that is to bring down to the floor someone who is at the top. This especially happens in the media.

Although hate can be entwined with love, there is goodness in everyone. But you have to bring out the goodness from the bad. The entertainment industry such as sport, music, theatre and film, brings immense pleasure to the average person and so one can forget about the more serious side of life for a while, thus making the contradictions of human nature much more bearable.


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About Robert D Dangoor

Robert D Dangoor has been writing aphorisms for over 37 years but he has now written 10 articles on the different aspects of human nature that we come across in every day life. All these can be viewed at

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