Chapter 1: Ask a Question Close to Home
Go and watch any madman. People are always afraid of watching a madman because, suddenly, watching a madman you realize your own madness also. Immediately it happens because you can see at the most the difference is of degrees. He has gone a little ahead of you, but you are also following, you are also standing in the same queue.
William James once went to a madhouse, came back, became very sad, covered himself with a blanket. The wife could not understand. She said. “Why are you looking so sad?” He was a happy man.
He said, “I have been to the madhouse. Suddenly the thought occurred that between these people and me there seems to be not much difference. There is a difference, but not much. And sometimes I have also crossed the boundary. Sometimes in anger, sometimes in lust, sometimes in anxiety, depression. I have also crossed the boundary. The only difference seems to be that they are stuck and they cannot come back and I am still a little flexible and I can come back. But who knows? Someday the flexibility may be lost. Watching those madmen in the madhouse I became aware that they are my future. Hence. I am very much depressed. Because the way I am moving, sooner or later I will overreach them.”
Just watch yourself, and go and watch a madman the madman goes on talking alone. You are also talking. You talk invisibly, not so loud, but if somebody watches you rightly he can see the movement of your lips. Even if the lips are not moving, you are talking inside. A madman talks a little louder; you talk a little less loudly. The difference is of quantity. Who knows? Any day you can talk loudly. Just stand by the side of the road and watch people coming from the office or going to the office. Many of them, you will feel, are talking inside, making gestures.
Even people who are trying to help you - psychoanalysts, therapists - they are also in the same boat. In fact more psychoanalysts become mad than do people of any other profession. No other profession can compete with psychoanalysts in going mad. It may be because living in close quarters with mad people, by and by, they also become unafraid of being mad; by and by the gap is bridged.
I was reading an anecdote:
One man was attending his local doctor for an examination. “Tell me. Do you get spots before the eyes?” asked the doctor.
“Frequent headaches?” asked the doctor.
“Yes.” said the patient.
“Pains in the back?” Yes, sir.
“So do I,” declared the doctor. “I wonder what the heck it can be.”
The doctor and the patient, they are all in the same boat. Nobody knows what the heck it can be.