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Buster Benson

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What is your definition of crazy?
gray haired professor
This has been bothering me a little, maybe because I've been noticing more and more crazy people lately. In particular, there's this one bus stop on the way to work where lately its seems like the crazy people are always bending over and mooning people. Today the crazy mooner was holding shards of glass and I wondered if he was evil killer crazy but it turns out he was just cleaning the sidewalk crazy.

I use the word crazy pretty liberally, maybe too liberally for some peoples' taste (other words I use liberally are manic, depressed, alcoholic, lost soul, and definitely), but there are definitely (haha) multiple tiers of craziness. Where do you draw the line between good/fun crazy and mental illness crazy?


In particular, is being crazy a quality of the person alone, or does it have to take into consideration the environment that the person is in as well? The legal definition of crazy has to do with knowing the difference between "right" and "wrong" and knowing the consequences of your behavior. But which of us believes in absolute right and wrong, and which of us really know the consequences of our behaviors?


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i am too crazy right now to define levels of crazy, sorry.

if it's good/fun crazy does that really mean it is craziness? maybe you're just a good/fun person. I use the word crazy a lot but I am also one whobristles, as I think you know, at the overuse of words like alcoholic and bipolar, or anorexic, or whatever. "slightly bipolar" drives me, uh, crazy. I guess the thing is that crazy is sort of a meaningless term, while alcoholism and bipolarism are serious diseases. It sort of belittles the people who actually suffer from these things when someone says glibly they are an alcoholic because they like to go to parties and they are bipolar because they feel moody. In my opinion anyway. These terms hold some kind of strange glamour for people when in reality mental illness is nothing of the sort.

The legal definition of "craziness" might be flawed but it is probably adequet. I think you have a good idea of what consquence physics and natural law usually dictate if you were to jump off a roof, even if intellectually you think that the world is just a computer interface and it could be possible for you to jump off a roof into a pile of cotton candy if you so manifest intent it or whatever. Right? Whereas a crazy person would not have any idea that there was any other possibility besides cotton candy. Maybe the sane know how to straddle the world between crazy and not crazy and know how to travel back and forth, while the mentally ill just get stuck on one side.

crazy is a mental illness as well, don't you think? craziness (maybe more often referred to as insanity) has legal and medical value. in any case, there are certainly crazy people that have things worse off than i do and they probably don't like that we label ourselves both with the same label gun stickers. and if it drives them MORE crazy... all the worse.

i agree about the strange glamour. but i think most of the time it is used in a self-deprecating manner... does that make it more acceptable at all? one of life's greatest pleasures (for me at least) is the misuse of words. words are like little baby ducks that you can kick around and they never get hurt, and will always let you pet them again.

but there is this social ecosystem where extremes are cool, to a point. where is that point? i personally think it has to do with being self-sabotaging... even if you believe you can jump off the roof into cotton candy that isn't really there, it's not crazy until you either do it, or you annoy all of your friends to the point that they friend dump you when you actually want to keep them as friends.

no, I think "crazy" has no medical or legal value...what is crazy? it doesn't mean anything. crazy can be a party that went all night and crazy can be someone who hears voices and crazy can be a plate of nachos that's really really big. I actually think it should be the other way--we can label ourselves as crazy but it shouldn't be used to label those who are actually mentally ill. It's kind of like retarded--that doesn't really mean anything anymore, it's just sort of derogative nowadays. Maybe someday you will be able to order a plate of Mondo Retardo Nachos at Azteca.

The careless misuse of words drives me crazy (!) (ha) but we've had this conversation 80 billion times already. I think the words DO get hurt when you kick them--they lose their meaning. They might come back for more pets but they are all lumpy and wrong.

I think the line has to do with self-sabatoge, to the point of actual danger anyway, and also putting other people in harm's way and not caring about it.

okay, you're right about crazy. i was thinking of it as a synonym of insane, which seems equally misused and confusing. the party can be insane, the voice-hearer can be insane, and the plate of nachos can be insane. but that word is less fun for me... it has too much of a mountain dew commercial tone to it. but that one definitely is used in medical and legal contexts. and i actually think retarded has fully switched sides, now it can only be used when you AREN'T referring to the mental illness aspect.

words don't get hurt when you misuse them. otherwise our language would've died centuries ago. the beauty of words is that they can't be hurt... they change and sometimes move into slang or adopt their opposite meanings or whatever, but they are always shiny and new. sort of like fashion. words and fashion don't get hurt, they get misused, and then occasionally adopt their misuses as official uses, discarding the old usages. and over their lifetimes they tell a story about how the world was changing.

Well, I'm not saying language can't evolve but I do wish people were not so careless with words sometimes. Words have meanings and some of them have deep cultural roots. Carelessness isn't necessarily misuse but I feel like people are getting so sloppy with language and it makes me sad. Our vocabulary is shrinking and nobody even knows grammar anymore. SRSLY.

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