Quote of the Day

Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

The madman's explanation of a thing is always complete, and often in a purely rational sense satisfactory. Or, to speak more strictly, the insane explanation, if not conclusive, is at least unanswerable; this may be observed specially in the two or three commonest kinds of madness. If a man says (for instance) that men have a conspiracy against him, you cannot dispute it except by saying that all the men deny that they are conspirators; which is exactly what conspirators would do. His explanation covers the facts as much as yours. Or if a man says that he is the rightful King of England, it is no complete answer to say that the existing authorities call him mad; for if he were King of England that might be the wisest thing for the existing authorities to do. Or if a man says that he is Jesus Christ, it is no answer to tell him that the world denies his divinity; for the world denied Christ's.

Nevertheless he is wrong.
—G.K. Chesterton (hat tip: Sydney Carton, commenting at Ace of Spades. Also notice the YouTube video that got the whole discussion started.)

(Is everyone else getting as bored with this QotD thing as me?

Sheesh, you work a real job for a change, and your brain just shuts off. On the bright side, next year I go back to school for my PhD…)


Quote of the Day

The relative, diminishing hardships of everyday existence, together with more extensive academic instruction, has laid a foundation of knowledge for most people that is less tested by experience and affirmed more by internal feelings and passions. More people may be better educated these days, but they are also more insulated and more naive.
—Richard Reay, letter to the Wall Street Journal, published 6 August 2003.