We’ll never survive, unless we get a little crazy

We’ll never survive, unless we get a little crazy
12th January 2023 Tim Malnick
A seal underwater

So, I was going to write this fantastic blog.

Let me tell you all about it.

It was about how we need to be crazy. How a healthy dose of insanity is entirely necessary in a world that is increasingly unhinged, less and less in touch with the real, but still in constant denial.

I had many thoughts and ideas to share with you.


Rethinking our ideas about normal

About R.D Laing and his anti-psychiatry movement. His seminal reframing of ideas of normal and mad.

The story of Laing’s colleague Joe Berke, who noticed a young patient happily dancing and singing in their own world. And noticed their mother who was freaking out, hysterically, about this strange, dancing child.

How Joe Berke wondered, as the child was admitted into a mental institution and the drugs administered, who was actually crazy – the happy dancing child lost in a world of great meaning to them, if unfathomable to others, or the hysterical, shrieking parent. How he wondered about how power and insanity are tied up together. The one who has power to say what is normal, also gets to say who and what is not. (And thus, gets to pretend that they are not also mad.)

I wanted to share more about my own madness. And how hard I have tried to hide it. How much psychic energy I have used to try to appear as normal; to fit into a world that has always seemed to me to be rather insane. (I think it leaks out … I think folk do suspect I am a little odd sometimes ).

And how, secretly, on good days at least, I love my particular craziness. How it brings and offers so much.

And how I love your craziness. When I glimpse it, and when you let me glimpse it. And when I can help you glimpse it. How exciting that is for us both. How much new life comes from such moments.


Splitting the world removes our wholeness

I wanted to write about a deep group process I was privileged to share with colleagues who are clinical psychologists in the mental health system. How they wanted to understand the frustrating, hidden power dynamics in the hospitals they worked in. To understand why the senior consultant psychologist unconsciously marginalised and diminished patients’ realities, while trying to ‘treat’ them.

And how we realised, after some time, and with absolute astonishment, that the senior consultants were actually quite insane. And that they don’t like to reveal, or even know, their own insanity. How we saw directly that treating other humans instrumentally, with clipboards, on strict timescales, and with an expert, detached professionality that denies one’s own vulnerabilities, uncertainties, fears and confusion, is literally crazy. And also, very understandable, and extremely widespread. What a huge relief it was to drop the professional mask that also suffocates.

I was going to write about how readily we split the world into those who are ‘normal’ and those who we (or someone) have decided are not. How when we persecute or feel sorry for those who are not, we perpetuate a painful, unnecessary split inside each of us. A split that denies us all our full humanity, and access to our unique creativity, wisdom and potential for transformation.

I was going to write about how we need to find, honour and include our individual craziness in order to manifest new possibilities for society, relationship and life that is whole. And fundamentally healthy.


Finding wisdom in the strangest parts of self

I was going to talk about Chogyam Trungpa’s beautiful, provocative ideas of Crazy Wisdom, and the idea appearing in many traditions of Divine Madness. How true sanity arising from the depths of insight into the nature of things, will often appear disturbing and provocative to much of the world.

And about Arnie Mindell’s suggestion that our growth and wholeness will always come from what he calls our ‘secondary processes’ which are always wrapped up in the weirder, more unpredictable, more disturbing parts of ourselves.

I would have quoted screenwriter Walter Bernstein who said of Woody Allen,

“He’s made his lunacy work for him. It takes a special kind of genius to successfully use your insanity.”

I had many thoughts.

Maybe one day I will write them. And maybe they will be helpful to you.

To get in the mood, I listened to one of my favourite songs.


Unless we get a little crazy

It’s called Crazy.

By Seal. A man, with the same name as a marine mammal. (How wonderfully crazy is that?)

The first few bars made me feel excited, tearful, hopeful, sad, energised, inspired all at once.

And then they made me sob.

How embarrassing. And crazy. This was during work hours! WORK HOURS!!

Sometimes other people say things much better than you can. Especially when they sing them.

Here is the song.

To me it is meaningful that the performance I’ve linked to on You Tube is Seal performing his song ‘Crazy’ at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 2012. And that there are all these important people in posh clothes, and they love it, and kind of want to dance, but also seem constrained and restricted at the same time.


Somewhere we know that the way to peace and health is through our insanity.

And that means our insanity is also wisdom.

Let me say that again. Our insanity is wisdom.

Your insanity is your wisdom.

I guess mine is too. Maybe it was ok to sob and dance when really I definitely should have been doing my emails and invoicing. (WORK HOURS!!)


Finding the gift in our strangest parts

So, the question for today.

What is the one part of you, the inner voice, the impulse, the potential, the glimmer, that you are most afraid of because you quickly judge it as ‘crazy’, ‘mad’, ‘insane.’

With permission to indeed be crazy, as mad as a box of frogs if you like, what happens to your energy and experience when you allow that part, that impulse or idea, to be more fully present in you?

Notice. Beyond your judgement, what does this part bring to your actual embodied experience?

Could you use a little more of that in your life right now?

Could we all? Could humanity?

What part of your own craziness could you bring into the world today, for the benefit of us all?

To quote my marine mammalian singer friend Seal

“We’re never going to survive, unless, we get a little crazy”…

(And even if we do, it is going to be tremendously boring)

Your wisdom is crazy. Your insanity is wisdom.

Let us bow to them both.

And then, perhaps turn the music up, and dance.