Meditation on Insanity
On Werner Herzog's "Signs of Life" (1968)
If our civilization existed in a state of order, if we woke up every day sure that none of our loved ones had fallen victim to disease or violence, if hatred and battle did not preoccupy us, if we had a satisfying explanation for our minds and the cosmos, then he who acts reasonably could be called sane.
But that is not the case. We owe our existence to a violent ball of gas, and to the extent that we understand it, we have harnessed that force for war. Every day is another roll of the existential dice, and the house always wins, eventually. Despite this, we have created delirious fantasies like the protocinematic paintings of Chauvet Cave, the 10,000 windmills of Lasithi Plateau, the Internet, and the International Space Station. Can anyone grasp how the human superorganism draws order from chaos? Even if he grasps it, would he not revolt, mourning his individuality?
Perhaps in our world, only he who loses his mind because he feels more than he could possibly express, who runs for the mountains in exile, who shoots fireworks at the sun in futile defiance of the gods and man, who meets absurdity with absurdity and violence with violence, can be considered clinically sane. Perhaps insanity is a sign of life.