Before Kahlil Gibran could ask him, “How are you feeling in this madhouse?” he asked Kahlil Gibran, “Tell me something about the madhouse which is outside. You are coming directly from the big madhouse you call the world. Tell me something about that big madhouse; what is happening there?”
Kahlil Gibran was shocked. He said, “Do you think I am coming from the madhouse? Then where do you think you are?”
The friend said, “I am with the very few sane people left in the world. We are protected by a big wall. We are taken care of by the doctors and nurses, because only so few people are left. The whole world has gone mad; we are the only hope. Otherwise who cares? We are so much taken care of – that is proof enough.
“It will be good,” he whispered in Kahlil Gibran’s ear, “that you also pretend to be mad and enter this place. This is a great place. Everybody is minding his own business; nobody is interfering with anybody else.
“There are only a few people here – about fifteen. They all live their own life. They respect each other, so much so that they will not even say ‘Good morning’ – just not to interfere in your life. They will not say hello. Everybody is doing his own thing, whatever he wants to do. Nobody asks questions like ‘Why are you doing that?’ It is none of anybody’s business. The person is solely responsible for his own work.
“When somebody is talking, nobody asks ‘With whom are you talking?’ It is accepted that nobody talks with anybody else. Even in the outside world everybody is talking with himself; the other is just an excuse. Here people are very honest and sincere. They don’t need any excuse. They talk alone and they answer for both sides. They are authentic. They simply say the truth.
“I love this place. And you come soon – before you get mad like the whole world. It is dangerous to live there.”
Kahlil Gibran went home thinking, “Perhaps he is right, because the world seems to be in a mess.”
The madhouse looked saner, more silent. People were doing all kinds of things alone. Somebody was smiling, somebody was laughing, but there was no need for any excuse to smile. You want to smile, you smile. In the outside world first you have to find some excuse to laugh. You cannot laugh without an excuse; otherwise you will be thought mad.
In his diary, he writes: That night I could not sleep. That mad friend disturbed me so much that I started suspecting…who knows, he may be right and we may be wrong? And he was so certain.
Mad people are always very certain. And mad people never suspect that they may be mad – that is not part of madness. Only sane people can get into the anxiety that perhaps they are sane or perhaps they are not sane.