Sunday, December 18, 2011

crazy mashup

Is there a fine line between crazy and genius?  Do we all consider ourselves borderline genius but just a little crazy?  Apparantly the conversation is alive
and well on Twitter. 

i tweeted a simple, innocent ferret tweet 
      "genius is sometimes mistaken for crazy"

First out of the box? @AngelDevil116 who said: "C I told u SamyTurnbull I am (expletive)  genius

meanwhile, back on the timeline, 17 people retweeted the simple comment!!

(i've taken the time to type hyperlinks to their twitter accounts, so please follow at least one of them!!  they are probably a tad less crazy than myself) 

and @BridgetWinter tweeted: “I've Seen It”

and still: @TheFoolFunnel : It's the same thing

Then entered the dilemma, like any good story, we have to be put in an impossible situation, to wit: @JamesRapsonMS "The other problem is when crazy is mistaken for genius..." and in a tweet reminiscent of the 70's song, that was actually sung by a dog, @endlessraines "That's what I keep trying to tell them, I'm an GENIUS!  They'reComingToTakeMeAway  ha ha"
While @ugotatweet analysed it thus: " Maybe you have to be what others call crazy to be a genius."
It continued through Sunday morning, when @DiHard11 commented that "crazy is mistaken for genius."   

And, in a sly summing up: RT  @BobBRichS "Many thinking I'm a genius and I've thought them crazy. I considered I'd be rather arrogant if I tried to prove them wrong."   

Bob, my paw in friendship, that was as smoove a move as I coulda' done myself!!

William Safire was always an etymologist at heart; rather than call himself a “wordsmith”  he would relish the history of a word. He would explain a word's origins to prove foundation for the modern usage. Crazy has it's origins spelled with a “K” or Karsa meaning to shatter” ( Old Norse ) or to break. Which lead to a “break down in mental health” . An alternate explanation is: English speakers were using pot in reference to the skull at least by the 15th century. The metaphor of a cracked pot referring to someone who is out of their mind started later, beginning with cracked brain and ending up simply as cracked in modern English. Crazy, derived from the verb craze, took on the same meaning sometime in the 17th century.

Now, “crazy” has become complimentary in modern slang. “That concert was crazy good” doesn't even seem to have any of the mental health issues of previous generational usage.

My tweet then “genius is sometimes mistaken for crazy” has none of the response by the younger generation, and has been taken entirely in it's historical context of a “mental health” condition. Which belies the point entirely that it is a politically incorrect way of referring to one's mental stability.

We no longer say, “Aunt Sally is crazy” we say, “Aunt Sally is dysfunctional” or “Aunt Sally is mentally challenged” or if we are being delicate: “Aunt Sally has had a nervous breakdown”...

Now that we have that word cleared of our systems, let's examine Genius a moment. The word carries a connotation of exceptionalism: Even using a source as weak as Wikipedia which states: Genius is something or someone embodying exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of unprecedented insight.

So we come full circle do we not? Crazy can in fact be genius, and genius can in fact be Crazy. It is the savant who is slightly autistic that can remember every number in the phone book, complete with address, and middle initial. It is the Copernicus or Gallileo who is considered “mad” when they propose the world is round. Gen. Stonewall Jackson was considered one of the greatest military thinkers of all time; yet extremely eccentric, and yes, crazy in his personal mannerisms. History provides us with many examples of genius thinkers who used their genius for ill, and were thus considered crazy geniuses, like Hitler, Alexander, or Nero.

Such is life, I have imagined it thus, in a shout to Forrest Gump, or some such colloquialism from my early ferrethood: “Crazy is as Crazy Does”

Which of course means nothing at all.


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sam writes useless drivel on just about any subject, and is working on his thesis so he can become certifiably crazy


  1. Crazy is as Crazy Does, huh? That finale got me to thinking. Actually, the entire essay got me to thinking, as apparently your orig. tweet did as well. I think it is a pretty established pattern that the powers that be decry people as "loony" or "crazy" when society doesn't agree with their ideas. Pres Candidate Ron Paul comes to mind. What better way to brush off new concepts, new ways of doing things, than to call the messenger crazy? ( I am not trying to start a political conversation about Paul, he was just close at hand, so to speak ).

    As to Tweeters James Rapson, UgotaTweet and DiHard and others that crazy is mistaken for genius, I have less opinion on that phenomena. It seems to explain away alot of odd behavior by claiming that good original thinking is in fact just the ramblings of delusional people.

    You are one sly little critter, I'll give you that, Sam.

    I Tweet at @ProNetworkBuild

  2. Life is shifting. And that requires thinking outside the box, and because it isn't exactly what everybody else was thinking... we give it the non-pc-label 'crazy.' And if you have money they say instead eccentric.

    Genius... eccentric.


  3. Genius is crazy that survives. It is also a group consensus. But the good thing is when you are genius or crazy you don't care what the group consensus is. Because you are the eye of the storm.

  4. I think if I had to choose one, I'd take crazy over genius...less is expected and there's less of a chance of someone coming to you for answers. So, bring on the cats and the hermit lifestyle.


  5. I've known quite a few people who were considered to be 'eccentric' and I've often wondered if eccentric was just a nicer way of saying crazy. Is it?


  6. This topic is quite personal to me. Twenty-two years ago this month, I lost my first husband to mental illness. I will spare you, and me, the details. He was also a genius with an IQ somewhere in the 160 range. There was nowhere his mind couldn't go.

    I have known many actual geniuses in my life, and with exactly one exception, they all struggle with mental illness, as in the ability to maintain an emotionally and intellectually functional existence in this 3D plane of awareness.

    I believe the word "crazy" is actually a very accurate description of the mental state. Cracked pot. Unable to hold water. This is why.

    People need boxes to cope with this 3D existence. Our parents put us in boxes, for better or worse, when we are young. If we are lucky, they teach us that our box is not the only box, and they give us mechanisms for dealing with new thoughts and experiences in this universe of literally infinite thoughts and experiences.

    As adults, we construct our own boxes in the form of religion, political beliefs, and conformity or non-conformity to social norms. (Non-conformity is a type of box, as well.) Usually, these boxes are quite similar if not identical to the boxes we were born into. We create and accept codes and belief systems that allow us to deal with the demands of 24/7 here on material Earth so that we might remain in this existence as long as we choose to or are able.

    When someone's mind can go literally anywhere, new awarenesses are constantly poking holes in their boxes, or cracking their pots, if you will. It's so much harder to construct the boundaries necessary to a "successful" sojourn in this 3D reality when the mind, itself, has no boundaries, and all boundaries are experienced as false. At some point, we must all decide what we believe and what our boxes will be, or like the water in the pot, we will drain out beyond retrieving. Thus, the connection between "genius" and "crazy."

    Thank you for your thoughtful post, Sammy. I hope you're getting lots of snuggles and pop tarts in your box. Things are good here in mine. :)

  7. Oops. I tweet at @piperbayard. Going now to follow all those folks, because everyone knows that ferrets have the best friends. :)

  8. everytime i ~wigge~ Piper Bayard and so a flippy spinny move, the pet human will think i am crazy.... "look at dat crazy sam" but it is masking the fact that i am plotting to pilfer the socks.

    sometimes, as Fallen Angel says, it is best to be thought crazy, because there are no responsibilities.

    thanks for the honest heartfelt response.

    and thanks to everyone else who stopped by, send a friend or two by, we'll have a pot on the stove, and brew up some tea.

    Col Sam Clemons

  9. To quote another song, from 1980, not the '70's:

    "You may be right
    I may be crazy
    But it just might be a lunatic you're looking for..."

    I agree w/ Piper Bayard: people use boxes to help them contain and make sense of their existence. Those who readily fit into boxes are "normal." Those outside the boxes often get labelled "genius" or "crazy" or "President" or "in-law."

    Perhaps "crazy" is what results when "genius" ceases to be life-enriching and becomes damaging or dangerous. Truth be told, perhaps that's also when "President" and "in-law" results as well...

    Sometimes, the best you can do is find a fuzzy sock somewhere and snuggle up till it all blows over. :D

  10. To be a true genius means you have to be crazy because a genius is far from what is the "norm". You can't be a genius and march to the same drum beat as the rest of the crowd. Great article.


  11. @bajunajewelry on Twitter
    Lets paint our roofs white and turn asphalt white to cool the planet.
    Maybe we can capture those arctic methane plumes and use them instead of propane.
    Can't we place generators under roads and bridges so the weight of the cars make electricity?
    Instead of slaughtering and burning all those chickens with H5N1 how about figuring out a safe way to make pet food or fertilizer so they won't go to waste.
    Why not find out how to eat those wild pigs safely instead of making them rot?
    Maybe invasive carp can taste good instead of eating so much fish from the ocean? We could save the good fish of the waterways at the same time.
    I'm sure these things are crazy because they won't make anyone much money. They'd be genius if they did.

  12. Crazy and Genius...two sides to the same coin, flipped in the air...and depending which side the coin lands on determines what dominates.

    I know what I am saying Sam, because working with the mentally ill, I see various combinations of those two words every single day.

    Thoughtful post and the comments are always worth a read here. :D

    I Twitter @jonesbabie

  13. Sam I am not certain all genius are "crazy" or vice versa. I don't want to be "normal" whatever the heck that is...
    Being exceptional makes a person walk outside the lanes.
    Happy New Year

  14. I aspire/inspire/perspire to 'average', 'ordinary' uh 'even' most of the time. The times I might hit above that by either my own standards or in the eyes of others makes me feel that little bit o extra 'pretty good'. That's genius enough for me.
    * * *
    Ah, my personal crazy when it happens is usually that g-ma oldladyitis bat sh*t crazy. I consider it to be of particularly above average merit ~ cuz when it happens there's usually a process of a particular communication or message I seem to be receiving & then imparting on. It may be a message for me & sometimes it's a message for others. I'm particularly gentle & self forgiving to myself for this uh bat sh*t crazy. That's genius enough for me.
    * * *
    Perhaps echoing other comments ~ every genius IQ person I have ever met in person had huge amounts of overwhelming intelligence in which when combined with creative vision could (& sometimes did) add so much good to the world.

    One particular person was he genius ~ oh yes ~ was he also crazy ~ oh yes ~ he became crazy with the power he held & used it to manipulate & influence people not for their betterment ~ but for the uh 'pleasure'? it gave him to do so. It took 'average' me a number of years to figure him & exactly what he was doing out. Thankfully, he wasn't also a 'sociopathic' or 'psychopathic' actual killer. Had he been, I wouldn't be around right now. I know this sounds like a television show. It could have been. Who knows, someday it might be. Many of you already know how 'skeery' this is when it happens in 'real life'.

    This person & their genius and this same person and their crazy was too much for me!
    * * *
    My 'twist-ups' would be to say "One person's crazy may be another person's genius" & "One person's genius may be another person's crazy" ~ uh or 'something like that'???
    * * *
    Luv to you Sammy! I'm so grateful to be blessed as in 'ordinary' :) ~ I'm @grammakaye on twitter.