The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

The Free Spirit Award

All The Fujosji Unite of All The Fujosji Unite was kind enough to nominate this blog for the Free Spirit Award a month after the nomination for the Creative Blogger Award came in, and being the lazy writer that I am, it’s taken a month and some for me to actually draft this one. In comparison to the other blog awards, the Free Spirit Award is rather more free: the rules stipulate that one merely needs to include the logo, which is quite nice-looking and doesn’t clash with this blog’s design, write a short composition about a topic provided (mine’s “insanity”), and subsequently, nominate a number of other blogs as recipients.

FreeSpirit

  • Similar to the Creative Blogger Award, I’ve no objection with the Free Spirit Award’s design.

As my topic is insanity, we begin first by setting out some definitions. Here, I am forcibly reminded of Boorse’s definition of health, which gave health as a much-maligned concept characterised by “freedom from disease”, wherein disease is defined by some sort of “statistical normality of function” that results in a below-normal performance amongst its species. My classmates universally despise that paper because of the possibility of logical faults. My favourite counterexample, paraphrased, supposes that there exists a species where a sufficiently large number of its members are sightless. Then, suppose that a single member has a defect such that it has sight. By Boorse’s definition, this individual would be diseased, even if the individual were completely unaffected. When applied to concepts of normality, abnormal behaviour is the key defining concept behind insanity, although the complexities of the human brain (and our relatively poor characterisation of the relationship between neurological physiology and behaviour) means that I’m definitely in no position to write about such a topic, at least, not without citations and a fair bit of time. For the purposes of the Free Spirit Award, I’ll apply Merriam-Webster’s second definition of insanity and apply it to consider the human spirit: that humans struggle with such force and continue existing in the contradiction that is life might be viewed by an external observer as insanity; knowing that our time is limited, why would anyone direct so much effort into anything? Such an action might be seen as foolish by the aforementioned observer, but it is this spirit that, for better or worse, gives weight to human existence.

This argument forms the basis for what drives me: life is inherently meaningless, so it’s up to the individual to figure out their place in the world, and ultimately, purpose is driven by how one applies their skill to benefit others. Consequently, when I hear about insanity, I also cannot help but think back to some of the most unfortunate news events of 2015, pertaining to the two separate terrorist attacks in Paris, the various mass shootings in the United States and the Syrian Refugee Crisis: these separate events arise as a consequence of people reaching the wrong conclusions about purpose and turn their efforts against humanity to cause harm. From my perspective, lacking understanding about how they think, the perpetrators are insane; their actions are irrational and do not follow from any logical thought process. These actions are the opposite of what it means to be human, although for them, society might be seen as insane for so determinedly resisting their efforts to damage it. That the number of people willing to do good outnumbers the number of people insisting on causing destruction and chaos is consequently a reassuring thought, although I myself do find myself, perhaps irrationally, wishing for a world where cooperation and understanding triumphs over blind acceptance of misguided ideals. When all of these elements are taken together, insanity might ironically be one of the more appropriate descriptors of human nature; when people remark that they fear insanity, they are frightened by the unknowns within themselves and others. While it’s unrealistic to eliminate these thoughts, it is possible to channel these things for good, and as such, insanity is a double-edged sword that drives people to do great good, as well as perpetrate acts of appealing terror.

In short, my view of insanity is that it’s an integral part of who we, as people, are, and rather than trying to fight it or run from it, people should find the means to understand or even embrace this unknown: fear stems from a lack of understanding of something, and people inherently fear the things that cannot be controlled. With the arrival of a new year, it’s an opportunity for exploration, discovery and progress, so I’ve spun the topic of insanity and taken it on a somewhat unusual tangent to discuss human nature, as well as to express my optimism for the start of another new year. I’m not too sure if this is the answer that All The Fujosji Unite is looking for, but admittedly, it was definitely an interesting exercise to look back on 2015 and tie that in with notions of what constitutes insanity. As with the Creative Blogger Award, I’ve nominated all of the pertinent blogs (five in total) in an older post. The blogs I have nominated fall into one of two categories: either they simply have pro content or else are new, and I’m looking to motivate their authors to continue writing (two bloggers I know in person eventually stopped from a lack of motivation).

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