This article by Justin Garson has been published by Mad in America. It begins:
“What is madness? Is it merely a colloquial term for ‘mental illness,’ one that is alternatively reviled and reclaimed? Is it merely the lack of reason? Or is madness a distinctive style of reasoning in its own right? Is it a distinctive mode of living and acting in the world, one with equal value to our exalted image of sanity?
For that matter, what is sanity? Is sanity the towering ideal we should all strive for? Is madness merely a failure to live up to such a noble ideal? Or could madness be an alternative ideal?
We can take the question one step further. Is madness ever superior to sanity? Does madness contain the potential for insights and experiences that many of us are locked out of?
Here, I’m going to describe one alternative vision of madness, a vision I’ve encountered in my historical research and that has the potential to subvert our commonsense notions of reason and unreason.
Of course, to say that madness may have its benefits does not mean it is always useful or pleasant. Nor does it mean that the mad have no right to seek resources for managing their experiences. If it is a gift, it is, indeed, a dangerous gift, as activist Jonah Bossewitch, among others, has explored …”
You can read more from here.