Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sanity: Interpersonal vs. Intrapersonal (Article)

It is rarely debated, discussed, or even addressed, but we all have our own conceptualized views of what we believe deem an individual psychologically sane. We have implanted in our mindset a litmus test for sanity, which usually includes different mannerisms, voiced opinions, and self-control in public space. Most individuals who fail our litmus test are immediately labeled as crazy. But in reality, is that assessment accurate? Can we abruptly come to a judgment surrounding a person’s sanity based on superficial reasoning? The fact of the matter is that the character we write off as crazy or insane is in touch with their emotions on a level that they can not control. The issues that rage on an intrapersonal level are then transmitted to interpersonal relationships, which are then greeted with disdain and disgust. Do they express the very thoughts that manifest themselves within your own intrapersonal relationships? The answer is yes, and can begin to be understood by examining the relationship between interpersonal relationships and intrapersonal relationships, how they dispute one another, and how they complement one another in order to create a personality that is either accepted or cast away to the fiery pits of the social totem pole.

Intrapersonal relationships refer to those that occur within the individual mind and within your own intellect. They involve the ways we problem solve and relate to ourselves, as well as the way we interpret events and ideas. Before your personality is conveyed in a visual sense, it grapples with the subconscious intrapersonal issues that plague your mind. Your subconscious mind harbors a bountiful amount of thoughts and ideas that never surface during interpersonal relationships. Interpersonal relationships refer to those that occur between individuals. Your interpersonal is the visual finale and manifestation of your intrapersonal relationships. During an intrapersonal conversation, you may contemplate murdering another individual, but you rationalize that it would not be very logical to do so. Since you have already conquered that thought raging on an intrapersonal level, it never surfaces to become an interpersonal issue, and you are perceived as and classified as a normally functioning sane individual. Coming to fully identify with interpersonal relationships is the key. Once that is accomplished, the most crazy and insane individual will have the ability to come across as being normal to a susceptible society.

A serial killer is one of the main individuals we classify as insane. Examining the mind of a serial killer however, will lead one to come to the realization that sanity is a figment of your reality. As we explore the lives of famous serial killers Jeffery Dahmer and Ted Bundy, it is evident that before one knew of the acts they had committed, these individuals would be deemed as normal and sane. Not to mention, that these individuals had come to understand interpersonal relationships to the best of ones ability. Their only problem was attempting to satisfy subconscious thoughts with conscious decisions. Dahmer and Bundy made similar remarks in interviews that occurred after their convictions. It started as attempting to satisfy their subconscious, and turned into an addiction. Both of these murderers participated in rape, dismemberment, cannibalism, and a whole host of things that would make a sane individual cringe in their seats. Calling it an addiction however, gives us a whole new way to analyze their cases. Would we consider a heroin addict sane or mentally stable? If they are not high on the drug, and you have never seen them high on the drug, the answer could possibly be yes. That makes their cases very similar to those of Dahmer and Bundy, seeing how all of the people closest to them perceived them as normal, because of the simple fact that they never saw them in the act of their killings. Translation, they never saw them high on their drug. The thing that separates me and you from a Ted Bundy is not a matter of an insane/sane label, but it is rather the fact that Bundy decided to try his subconscious drug of choice, and became addicted. You can not always use your intrapersonal and subconscious thoughts during interpersonal dealings. That was their main downfall; it was not a matter of sanity. Many people would classify them as emotionless, but their downfall more accurately reflects greed or a lack of compassion. Calling them emotionless would be far from a truthful statement. They were in touch with their emotions just as much as a musician, artist, poet or performer is. The only difference is the fact that their way of being in touch with their emotions harmed innocent people. They simply had no other outlet to harbor or differentiate their emotional thoughts, which resulted in them manifesting themselves in reality.

There are many people in our society today who claim to be the Messiah, the second coming of Jesus Christ, or a prophet with a word from the Lord, but we are very abrupt to write them off as imitators with crazy mindsets and motives. In our society, people who hear voices in their head are said to be crazy, but the same individuals who place this label on others, are people who read and believe every word of biblical scriptures. The Bible is full of numerous accounts when prophetic figures received a word from the Lord, and were sent to spread it to the masses. In these biblical accounts, many of the prophets were greeted with scorn, torment, disrespect, derision, and ridicule. They were considered insane. What was once considered insane is what we as a society now view as the absolute truth. Jesus was called insane. Jesus faced so much torment and distress, primarily because people lacked faith in his mental stability. It was something different. We are often quick to write off things that are different or against the social norm as crazy. My belief is that if Jesus were to return tomorrow, many believers would be unconvinced. Many Christians would fall back into the same mindset that plagued the grounds where Jesus once walked. They would fall into the mindset of disbelief and ignorance, just as the masses did as accounted in numerous biblical scriptures. Often times, we must realize that our conceptualized view of sanity is situational. The same Christian that speaks down on the culture which ridiculed Jesus Christ could be the same Christian that cracked the whip on the back of the divine one given the proper historical context. If Jesus were to come back as a human being today, I believe that people would write him off as crazy, and history would repeat. Was Jesus insane, or was he misunderstood? Once again, sanity is a figment in our reality, simply because it is so situational and is based on different cultural norms which are ever changing.

Sanity does not exist. We use sanity in order to justify our own actions as what is normal and acceptable. We use the term insane in order to cast away individuals who do not follow our model of what is considered to be sociologically normal for interpersonal dealings. What often occurs is that the manifestation of intrapersonal thoughts to an interpersonal level, often frightens the witnessing individual, because his/her subconscious reflects the conscious acts portrayed in the reality of the insane personage. It is almost as if the insane individual is able to tap into the emotions that the sane individual has strategically left absent from their interpersonal dealings. Just remember, before you wish to judge sanity, think about what you are judging. Are you judging to justify you own actions? If your ingenuous answer to that question is yes, then re-evaluate your intrapersonal. A proper examination will unveil who the actual crazy one is.


  1. A good essay.

    The question is, is it possible to live a live of sanity and Grace in the midst of a "culture" that is totally unconscious, and essentially psychotic.

    The author is also a remarkable Artist. Even all of his writings a full of an extraordinary poetic sensibility--and communication.

    The purpose of His Art is to Reveal the Truth prior to the dreadful sanity that our normal left-brained thinking mind proposes as "real"

    Plus please check out the extraordinary essay On REALITY accessible via this webpage.

  2. It seems to me that rather than a crazy person being "in touch with emotions that they can't control", a better way of characterizing how most people see "crazy" is a consistent failure to react rationally to enviromental cues, whether because of a flaw in perception of those cues (for instance in the case of persons who experience hallucinations), or a flaw in character as a response to those cues (e.g. a sociopath's lack of empathy/compassion/whathaveyou.)

    The difference between the heroin addict and the murderers that you have listed is that the latter did not require artificial means to achieve their high, but rather it was a consequence of their already atypical brain chemistry.

    The heroin addict prior to the drug's effects would not, all things being equal, have acted in a socially destructive manner and only does so after the drug is taken. the murderer acts in a socially destructive manner prior to the effects of the drug at all.

    Comparatively, the person who is hallucinating when they eat mushrooms (ie, only with the aid of something external) is categorically different from the person who hallucinates as a matter of course. the latter we can deem insane, whereas the former, if they are insane, is only so temporarily, as a result of something that is not intrinsic to their being.

    The danger with the argument that you're making is that it robs us of the ability to help those who consistently misreact to environmental and social cues, so that they do not hurt themselves or others.

  3. Carnife... you stated that, "The heroin addict prior to the drug's effects would not, all things being equal, have acted in a socially destructive manner and only does so after the drug is taken. the murderer acts in a socially destructive manner prior to the effects of the drug at all."

    Your assessment of my addict/murderer comparison is accurate, but possibly misdirected. Yes, it is true that the heroin addict would not act in a destructive manner prior to the injection of the drug. However, my comparison was to more accurately depict the addictive aspect of both acts. You stated that an insane individual (such as the murderers listed) does not require artificial means to achieve their high. This assessment I would once again deem accurate.

    However, let us look at the situation from a different angle. Even though the drug addict uses artificial and external substances to acquire his/her high, they still have made the initial decision to partake in the consumption of the drug using a sober mind. My argument is this. Does not the murderer make the decision to murder using a sober mind? Both of their actions would be labeled as irrational to the "sane" individual. So what is really the difference? You stated that the murderer's actions were "consequence of their already atypical brain chemistry." Is this to say there is no atypical brain chemistry justifying the choices of the drug addict? If that is the case, then what really separates one who tries drugs, and one who tries murder?

    My argument is that psychologically, the only difference is the fact that the murderer is not compassionate towards the well-being of society. Their actions are more outwardly destructive, while the drug addict's actions are intended to be more self-destructive.

    To quote your final statement, you stated that, "The danger with the argument that you're making is that it robs us of the ability to help those who consistently miss-react to environmental and social cues, so that they do not hurt themselves or others." My argument was not made to provide justification to those individuals who consistently miss-react to the cues of their environment and society. My argument was made to help understand the motives, so that we can better understand the minds of those who act irrationally and ignore environmental cues. By better understanding them, we can indeed help them. In turn, we can stop them from harming others or harming themselves.

  4. Haha I have thought this myself before. There is only one problem with your essay- you are basically justifying the ruthless actions of serial killers..