Human beings for millennia have not been able to agree upon a satisfactory definition of sanity or insanity.
We say, "well, murder is irrational and should be censured." But murder is completely justified in times of war. "Well, OK, but you shouldn't kill someone on the street." Yeah, but what if that guy attacks you first? Then we begin to make finer and finer distinctions, and soon we have a legal code so complicated no one can figure it out.
Measuring sanity or insanity by judging the validity of conduct or behavior is inadequate. In a free will universe, ALL thought and conduct is allowed, therefore, evaluating behavior is futile. It can be observed, however, that all insane or irrational people feel bad.
Sane or rational behavior always occurs when a genuine feeling of well-being is present. That is because well-being is an innate property of consciousness itself, and results in clear thinking and emotional integrity. To understand this, just remember a time you felt good. Coherence in thought and feeling always accompany positive emotion -- defined as emotion above the negative line in the Scale of Emotion . Therefore, well-being is the best measure of rational thought and action.
Neurosis is irrational behavior.
Psychosis is wildly irrational and sometimes destructive, behavior.
But what is irrational behavior and why is it irrational? We do not claim that behavior is irrational because it goes against the commonly accepted range or mode of allowed or lawful conduct. We do not base irrational behavior, either, on whether it agrees with morals, ethics, or religious beliefs, for these codes of conduct are often defined by individuals or groups with an agenda. In a universe of free will, there can never be unanimous agreement on any yardstick of measurement.
We merely observe that in all irrational or insane persons, there is a focus upon that which is not wanted. Let me explain.
A person who has a disagreeable life is not a happy camper. This person has many things in his experience which he would rather change; but for one reason or other, cannot. The focus of his thoughts and actions are on fighting the unwanted condition, instead of creating the wanted condition. This occurs because the unwanted condition is right in your face, so you cant help but pay attention to it! However, the more attention is paid to something, the greater it becomes in a persons experience (what you resist persists). This is a consequence of the operation of the Law of Attraction and the Law of Vibration. One naturally become more and more frustrated when one works harder and harder and continually fails.
An unhappy person is not necessarily an irrational or insane person. However, a predominant focus upon uncomfortable things will eventually produce action based upon those predominant thought patterns.
For example, a person may hate the fact that he never gets promoted in his job. Say he works as a clerk in a department store, but three others have been promoted to section manager ahead of him. If he focuses his thoughts and feelings predominantly upon his resentment, then eventually he will find a reason for his lack of advancement. More than likely this reason will have nothing to do with his own thought or conduct, because no one wants to believe that they are not good enough. So he focuses on the obvious reason, his unreasonable boss, who has passed him over.
At first, he is just grumpy. He complains to the boss, lightly at first, then more strongly. He becomes angry, bad-mouths the boss to all of his coworkers. We say this guy is just a sourpuss and let it go at that. We say that if he just placed his attention on getting a promotion, rather than fighting against those whom he believes are blocking him, he would be better off.
But if his thoughts predominately go to fighting his boss, he will begin to act neurotically.
A neurosis is just a predominant focus upon that which is not wanted. This leads to action based upon those thoughts, and so we say this person exhibits neurotic or irrational behavior. If, however, the predominant thought becomes exclusive thought, now we have the condition of psychosis.
Psychosis is exclusive attention to that which is not wanted.
From these simple principles, we can make sense of the idea of sanity or insanity.
Sanity always corresponds with feeling good. Insanity always corresponds with feeling bad.
Anything which encourages a good feeling can be considered sane. Anything that encourages a bad feeling can be considered irrational.
Therefore, punishment is irrational.
Punishment is itself a doubly irrational activity, for its application, by definition, causes a bad feeling within the offender; and its purpose being to place the offenders attention even more on the thing that is not wanted.
For example, a guy goes to jail for knifing someone. This places his attention even more on the unwanted condition that caused the offending action in the first place. The offending action is irrational, but the remedy is even worse! Punishment is a guarantor of even more irrational behavior.
Treatment which suppresses the cognitive function is a little better, but still not very effective. Drugging someone to prevent his or her attention to the unwanted condition can never lead to a cure, only to the suppression of symptoms.
What is sane or insane can largely be determined by how good or bad a person feels. It requires an intimate knowledge of the scale of emotion/vibration. For example, one might say that a psychotic murderer kills because it makes him feel good. But that is an illusion. If you accurately identify a murderers position on the scale of emotion/vibration, it will always be in the negative range (this tells you at once of the basic goodness of human nature). The maverick is not necessarily irrational because he or she flouts societys customs. Irrationality only occurs on the lower end of the emotional scale. If one were to accurately place people on this scale, one could discover common modes of behavior. A person in grief, for example, will exhibit different conduct than someone in anger or fear.
Irrationality cannot be determined solely by observing behavior, for all sorts of what society considers irrational activities can result from simply 'different' thoughts. Exclusive attention to a subject isnt necessarily bad, in fact, it can result in genius. Look at Mozart, for example, or Bill Gates. The determining factor in insanity is the attention to something unwanted, instead of the creation of something wanted. If we were to psychoanalyze our murderer, we might eventually come to the conclusion that he hates people because his dad beat him during childhood. Well, so what? That doesnt get anywhere. It doesnt go far enough. What is it that person really wants? If you accept an answer like I murder because I like it, you haven't even reached first base, because the desire to murder is an invcrsion of a true, positive desire.
Accurately placing a persons position on the scale of emotion is the only reliable determinant of sanity or insanity. Mostly our society says, screw the murderer. Put him in jail and let him rot, or kill him. Well, thats one way I suppose. But its irrational!
The nutty happy guy is no harm to anyone. He's just different! He might be a goofy "performance artist" haranguing people on some street corner, but this will be a minor irritation to society.
Happiness = rationality and means connection to source, the spirit within. The task is to find out what the person really wants. One can judge the validity of any desire by again referring to the scale of emotion. ("I like to hurt people" is not a true desire, but an inverted one, and is somewhere in the anger-pain range of the scale.) Even a twisted murderer is an incarnated spirit, and that spirit is divine. It is possible to raise anyone up the scale of emotion, but we don't do that. Our society regards human beings like widgets: if one is defective, throw it away. I don't have to tell you that this way of thinking is very low on the scale!
Lets stop pretending that punishing people is a good thing. Punishment is irrational and psychotic, and leads to exacerbation of the condition that is being punished. It leads to a hardening of attitudes, always somewhere within the negative (irrational) end of the emotional scale. That's why prison creates hardened criminals, and almost never leads to rehabilitation.
Drugging people is more benign, but ineffective in effecting a real cure. Sometimes it must be used as a last resort, but I think we can do better than that!
Sanity or insanity is directly linked to how a person feels. Educating a person to focus on desires, instead of fighting adversaries, can lead to an avoidance of irrational behavior. If we did that from childhood, our society would be a lot higher on the scale of emotion/vibration, and there would be much less crime. Society as a whole would be a lot happier, and more productive as well. Knowledge of the scale of emotion/vibration is essential to good parenting, schooling, and counseling. Without it, we simply judge the validity of behavior by some artificial standard.