Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What does it mean to be Crazy?

No doubt everyone thought Gustave Eiffel was crazy when he conceived and constructed an open-frame tower of iron. The design was audacious to a point where the public was shocked and disgusted. One letter from a member of the Parisian arts community was quoted as such, "And during twenty years we shall see... stretching out like a black blot the odious shadow of the odious column built up of riveted iron plates.”(Wikipedia). Yet this very structure, the Eiffel Tower, is now one of the most famous and most-loved monuments. By the way, I'm always amused by the vile language used by art critics with regards to controversial movements like Fauvism, which goes to show how something shocking and unpleasant often becomes acceptable or even celebrated many years after. In other words, something that seems crazy often turns out to be genius on hindsight.

Craziness is usually a matter of social acceptability. The crazy are those whose ideas defy conventional thought. My relatives might think I'm crazy for desiring to pursue fashion design, but that's because they've never encountered such a case in their social sphere. Perhaps, in another sense, craziness is knowing the dangers involved, but daring to face them for the potential benefit. It's like taking a gamble- the risks might be greater, but you stand to win more. The sane might know better than to lurch into the unknown, but for the crazy, the prospect of infinite gain outweighs all other considerations.

Before this gets too foggy, let me provide an eloquent quote from Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho:

"Anyone who lives in her own world is crazy... you have Einstein, saying that there was no time or space, just a combination of the two. Or Columbus, insisting that on the other side of the world lay not an abyss but a continent... or (this is my favourite) the Beatles, who created an entirely different sort of music and dressed like people from another time. Those people- and thousands of others- all lived in their own world (and are crazy, presumably)."
--- Zedka

Veronika's reaction tickled me- "This madwoman talks a lot of sense", she thought.

Finally, I really like what Mari said when the she left the Villete (the lunatic asylum):

"... the danger of an adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort."

Only a crazy person would think that way.

1 comment:

Susie Bubble said...

It's funny how ppl throw the word crazy around so much like people want to give off a unique point about themselves when crazy in its truest meaning is something else altogether...