That we are living an insane life

That we are living an insane life

That we are living an insane life is not just a comparison or exaggeration, but the plainest statement of a fact.

Recently I happened to visit two large establishments for the mentally deranged, and the impression I received was that I saw establishments built by mentally deranged people suffering from one common epidemic form of lunacy, for patients suffering from different forms of lunacy which do not resemble the common epidemic form. All these different forms of lunacy are subdivided by those who are afflicted by the one epidemic form of lunacy into many different classes, sections and classifications, which all disagree and even contradict each other. Each psychiater has his own definition of all sorts of psychoneurosis, mania, paranoia, all sorts of vesania, catatonia, psychopathia, degenerativa, and what not. In general, as one learned author states, for the majority of cases of psychosis the pathognomonic and anatomopathologic substratum (sic) has not yet been found, and therefore no exact subdivision is possible. The existing subdivisions, however, serve no other purpose than to be memorised by students who will repeat at the examinations the very words they heard from their professors, and gain diplomas which will subsequently enable them to get appointments with salaries exceeding twenty, thirty or fifty times the wages of a labourer who is doing unquestionably useful work necessary to everybody.

There is but one clear and intelligible classification of lunatics, that which is followed in hospitals and which defines the manner in which they are to be handled.

This classification is as follows:

1. The Restless (they used to be called ‘The Violent’)

2. The Semi-Restless

3. The Quiet

4. Those undergoing Probation.

This classification is fully applicable to the vast majority of citizens afflicted by the lunacy of the so-called culture of our times.
On Insanity
Leo Tolstoy



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