Chapter 6: Madmen and Devotees
The first question:
What’s the difference between a madman and a devotee?
Not much, and yet, much. Both are mad, but their madness has a totally different quality to it. The center of madness is different. The madman is mad from the head, the devotee is mad from the heart.
The madman is mad because of a failure. His logic failed; he could not go on with the head anymore, any longer. There comes a point for the logical mind where breakdown is a must because logic goes well up to a certain limit, then suddenly it is no longer real. Then it is no longer true to reality.
Life is illogical. It is wild. In life, contradictions are not contradictions but complementaries. Life does not believe in the division of either-or, life believes in both. The day becomes night, the night becomes day. They meet and merge, boundaries are not clear. Everything is overlapping everything else: you are overlapping into your beloved, your beloved is overlapping into you. Your child is still a part of you and yet he is independent - boundaries are blurred.
Logic makes clear-cut boundaries. For clarity, it dissects life into two, into a duality. Clarity is achieved, but aliveness is lost. At the cost of aliveness logic achieves clarity.
So if you are a mediocre mind, you may never go mad. That means you are just lukewarm, logical, and much that is illogical goes on existing in you side by side. But if you are really logical, then the ultimate result can only be madness. The more logical you are the more you will be intolerant of anything illogical. And life is illogical, so by and by you will become intolerant of life itself. You will become more and more closed. You will deny life, you will not deny logic. Then finally you break down. This is the failure of logic.
Almost all the great philosophers who are logical go mad. If they don’t go mad they are not great philosophers. Nietzsche went mad, Bertrand Russell never went mad. He is not such a great philosopher; he is, in a way, mediocre. He goes on living with his common sense - he is a commonsensical philosopher. He does not move to the very extreme. Nietzsche moved to the very extreme and of course, then there is the abyss.
Madness is the failure of the head, and in life there are millions of situations where suddenly, the head is irrelevant.
I was reading an anecdote:
A woman telephoned the builder of her new house to complain about the vibrations that shook the structure when a train passed by three streets away.
“Ridiculous!” he told her. “I will be along to check it.”