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01/04/2005

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Josh Silverstein

This has nothing to do with your post. please read anyway.

Defining Sanity

My Definition of sanity: The display of adaptive behavior

Insanity is the display of maladaptive behavior. But, who determines which behaviors are maladaptive and which are adaptive?. I could take a bath in molasses instead of in water. Some may call this insane behavior. But why? One may say it is because it does not fit in place within a certain culture’s belief system and therefore is out of its realm. Instead of calling this person insane, I would say that he has stepped outside the boundaries of his society and made his own culture, a culture in which people bathe in molasses instead of in water. Okay, so we agree that this person has acquitted himself of being insane? Well, not yet. He is sane only if it is adaptive for him to step outside of the boundaries of his original culture. From what we know about molasses and its interaction with the human body, I think we can say it’s not maladaptive for one to take a bath and molasses. If he took a bath in molasses under a hornets nest, that might be a different story. If he took a bath in molasses every day instead of bathing in water, that may be maladaptive. What is supposed to officially define the boundaries of society? Written law. So, I guess are example of molasses man is moot because it is not against the law to do so. Laws should be designed to aid each human in his or her pursuit of behaving adaptively. This should mean, anybody who stays within the law will be well off. One may argue that, in reality, some laws actually keep people from acting adaptively (Examples? E-mail me).


Can thoughts be labeled as sane or insane?
I personally think that thoughts are just part of the larger process of behaviors, along with emotions. Thoughts and emotions are intertwined with your bodily movement to determine a behavior. Given this definition, a thought which facilitates a maladaptive action by a person could be labeled as a factor contributing to insanity. If thinking of taking one’s own life leads one to take one’s own life, then, well, you know the answer to this one.

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