The Madness Industry

“Maybe it was the trying so hard to be normal that was making everyone so afraid they were going crazy”. That was the line that hit me from Jon Ronson’s latest book, “The Psychopath Test”, the light reading I took with me on holiday. Ronson embarks on a quest to understand the madness industry. He initially falls into the trap of thinking people will slot neatly into one of two camps, sanity or insanity. This is a game the media and society in general loves to play. Usually the person playing the game is the benchmark, anything out of the ordinary is classed as weird. Weird quickly moves to crazy if a person steps outside of what we define as acceptable.

In the book Ronson gets to interview some interesting characters, and you are drawn in to deciding whether they are mad or not. Ronson does this himself using the psychopath test devised by Bob Hare. The book ends with no conclusion and you don’t leave with a warm glow. What it does confirm again for me though is that we all have a bit of madness and goodness within us. No one is totally a saint or a sinner. Equally what the madness industry sometimes prescribes drugs for, is nothing close to madness but simply eccentric ¬†attributes that stand out from the norm. I would conclude by saying, “bring on the eccentrics!”

You might want to read Church is Full Of Weirdos.

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