Erasmo Calzadilla

Estar o no estar? Photo: Caridad

Anyone who seriously reflects on madness and the insane cannot avoid feeling unrest.  How can you be sure you don’t belong to those catagories?  Once I became concerned about this and began making inquiries.

The first people who I spoke with about this matter looked at me somewhat strange, a little as if they wanted to have me admitted; that’s why I stopped asking normal people and began directing my inquiries toward my friends.  They tried to calm me down with their own particular approaches, though none of them suffered these same fears.

One of them, a professional psychologist, told me: “The very fact that you’re posing that question to yourself is already proof that you’re not sick.  The mentally ill don’t go around questioning themselves about such things.”

That answer calmed me, momentarily, but then I realized that this proof of my sanity could be lumped together with my madness; in other words, that proof as well as my friend the psychologist could well be common elements of my delirium.

Then came along one of my traveling buddies, a user of hallucinogenic mushrooms, who alleviated me somewhat by explaining: “I went through that and I don’t believe that it’s possible to get out of it if those are deliriums or if reality itself cannot be distinguished.  In either of those cases we should act in the best possible way.”

“Sure!  What choice do I have,” I answered, “It’s not much advice that you’re offering, but I guess I’ll have to accept it.”

Recently I explained my problem to another friend who responded: “Crazy people don’t think rationally.  If you’re rational in your analyses then there’s no way you can be crazy.”  But the truth is, if I’m in such a state, I can be calling rationality whatever suits me most.  That didn’t help me out much either.

Actually my fears have waned with the passing of time.  I’ve learned how to live with my lingering misgivings, though writing this entry has rekindled a little bit of my nervousness.

2 thoughts on “Reality?

  • Erasmo, the more I read of your diaries, the more you seem like a character out of Bolano’s “The Savage Detectives!”

  • It seems like you’ve weathered your “Cartesian Crisis,” but is it “cogito, ergo sum,” or the reverse, as Sartre seems to say?

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