Madness: An Appeal to Accept Superiority of Reason in Daily Life

Operational definitions are fun. Well, okay, they aren’t. But they can be. The term basically means you will define how a word might be used in a study. For instance, as a psychology major  in one class we had to get together in groups and decide what “hunger” meant in case we wanted to study how huger affected something, such as concentration. One group decided it meant you hadn’t eaten your last scheduled meal, another decided three days of no food. I would not want to “eat only when hungry” in that group.

When I was in college, I had the joy of taking Freshman Composition with a smart-ass who encouraged smart-assery. He didn’t like to be called Dr. Raynor and encouraged us to call him Ernie or Professor Raynor, so I called him Dr. Ernie. He did his duty and made sure we had an operational definition assignment, and said we were free to use whatever word or definition we wished. I dusted off my mad social scientist hat.

Now I present you the results, and I encourage you to play around with your own definitions, because this was a blast. Part of the assignment was that the first and last sentence would serve as the intro and conclusion, starting with a general concept that is narrowed down once, and then again. The last sentence mirrors it.


An Appeal to Accept Superiority of Reason in Daily Life

 Madness, a near-continuous flash of insight and superior reason, is often sadly mistaken for simple genius.  Consider the worthy goals of the legendary Dr. Victor Frankenstein; clearly a pilgrim in his quest to defeat death, held back tragically by the puritan dogma of his time.  While he is a literary figure, he embodies the very essence of madness, the clarity of mind and purpose necessary to achieve this lofty state.  In all obviousness, Dr. Frankenstein transcended simple genius into iconic madness, his reason sharpened to perfection and his inspiration a thing of beauty.  His diligence proved fruitful, yet catastrophic due to the inability of his peers to comprehend the usefulness and value in his creation.

However, one finds it refreshing to see a rise in the acceptance of madness and its inspiration by witnessing the growing popularity of the subculture identified as “steampunk.”  The steampunk movement reveres the ingenuity of the industrial revolution, particularly the inventions of science and the byproducts of the so-called “mad” science.  This veneration is evidenced in preferring to wear the period clothing of the Victorian era, as well as a more classical flavor to the music, video games featuring gadgetry, and literature that depicts the creations of mad scientists.  The popular internet based steampunk comic “Girl Genius,” found at, categorizes mad scientists as “sparks” and places them at the apex of  society.

One can also find how madness is mistaken for genius in a quick glance at the late, great Dr. Albert Einstein.  Upon investigation, one can find how the good doctor held dear the goal of defining reality itself for use in science.  Such powerful knowledge has much potential for bending and breaking the very fabric at the core of existence, we might entirely recreate the laws of “reality” in a manner potentially similar to the aforementioned Dr. Frankenstein.  One finds it tragic that he and the fictional Dr. Frankenstein could never work hand in hand.  Clearly, we must strive to glorify and exalt on high this state superior to simple genius, this flash of insight near-continuous, this madness.

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