Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Norway news:  Breivik declared insane.

Anders Breivik was the mass murderer who planted a truck bomb and then shot up a bunch of children after years of careful planning.  It seems to me - noting that I too have been called insane on many occasions - that Breivik's crimes are a good candidate for the death penalty, but this post is about the nature of insanity.  Thanks to being declared insane, Breivik will spend his life under the guidance of psychiatrists rather than prison wardens.

Breivik had wanted his country to discuss the implications of open borders and culture, but instead Norway will be absorbed in the discussion of the concept of insanity.  The insanity of the psychiatric profession is one candidate being discussed already, but also the belief of the far left that any one who has an opinion that deviates significantly from their own is necessarily insane.  There is the possibility that insanity is a mental disease that has multiplied in the modern era.  But then again, maybe an unwarranted broadening of the definition of insanity has simply drawn so many people into the net that we are all deluding ourselves that we are really descended from the Addams Family.

My philosophy of insanity starts with cats.  Cats are all insane, yet between them they have no such notion of insanity.  Whether they treat each other with respect or disdain is thus not effected by whether they hold the opinion that the other cat is insane.  Humans likewise should consider that we are all more or less equally insane, thus removing insanity as a factor in our consideration of the relative merits of one human compared to another.  An insane philosopher would then proclaim, "If my theory of insanity were embraced, all mankind would live in harmony".  I don't believe such, but it would certainly allow for more serious discussions if there was less discussion of insanity.


Delirious said...

I think the problem with using the insanity plea is that there is a difference between "mentally ill", and "insane". How can a psychiatrist be sure the person has crossed the line?

When I was a missionary in Taiwan I met a lot of mentally ill people. At the time, I thought maybe the pollution caused it. As an adult, who is exposed to more people, I realize that there are just as many, if not more mentally ill people in the states, but because we are spread out more, we don't see them as much. If we lived in apartments like in Taiwan, I'm sure we would come in contact with many, many crazy people.

Vid said...

I never got why we allow pleading innocent for reason of insanity. Even if they're mad as a hatter, they still committed the crime! It seems like it's just that we feel guilty about killing someone who "can't help it".

Looney said...

@Delirious, I remember that they would keep those who weren't mentally capable of functioning in society in institutions when I was young. That still seems more humane to me than what we do today.

@Vid, I am with you on that.

Rummuser said...

Looking at the whole incident, I do not think that any sane person could have done what he did. There is that perverted logic there.

Looney said...

Rummuser, I am reminded of a quote from Cicero that almost all the great evil in the world was backed by great intelligence. Do you have any thoughts on what distinguishes sane from insane?