MEDIUM, October 16, 2019
“You are only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” — Robin Williams
In the late twentieth century, a writer named Emil Cioran was invited to speak in Zurich. He was introduced with much reverence and compared to some of the greatest existentialist philosophers in history like Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer.
Upon hearing this lofty praise, Cioran remarked, “But, I’m only a joker.”
Cioran’s literature reveals exuberant beauty through devotion to truth and authenticity. His words are devastatingly dark and full of bleak aphorisms like, “The problem with suicide, is that it’s always too late.”
His titles speak for themselves:
On The Heights of Despair
Syllogisms of Bitterness
The Trouble with Being Born
He was profoundly conscious of isolation within urban spaces and commented on civilization’s inability to surmount the reality of loneliness. “Only the village idiot, thinks they belong.”
“Every life,” Cioran wrote, “is utterly peculiar, and wholly unimportant.”
Cioran said that all of civilization was merely a distraction from the truth. “By clinging to reality you’re denying the reality of the situation.” — The Joker
A Killing Joke
On December 22nd, 1984 Bernard Goetz boarded a downtown 2 train in Manhattan. Goetz had been mugged on the subway three years before and had purchased an unlicensed weapon for self-defense. After seeing him board, four African-American teenagers signaled each other and surrounded him. One of them said, “give me five dollars.”
Bernie Goetz immediately shot all four men.
“That’s how far the world is from where I am, just one bad day.” — The Joker
Goetz went about his business, and, when he was ready, turned himself in.
The Oxford English dictionary defines sanity as the ability to think and behave in a normal rational manner. The word comes from the Latin sanitas or sanus meaning healthy.
“You’re only as healthy as you feel.” — Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver
“I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve.” — The Joker
“Madness need not be all breakdown, it may also be breakthrough.” — R.D. Lang
“The Joker’s a special case…In fact, we’re not even sure if he can be properly defined as insane…It’s quite possible we may actually be looking at some kind of super-sanity here….He can only cope with that chaotic barrage of input by going with the flow. That’s why some days he’s a mischievous clown, others a psychopathic killer. He creates himself each day. He sees himself as the Lord of Misrule, and the world as a theatre of the absurd.” — Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
A jury found Bernie Goetz not guilty of all charges except carrying an unlicensed weapon.
“So when you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit.” — The Joker [+]