What is crazy?

Is having a purple face crazy? Not if everyone has a purple face around you. Is killing yourself crazy? It might not be when you can save thousands of people by doing that. Is being clumsy crazy? Not if you have a physical disorder. By itself you can’t define what crazy is. Crazy always needs a reference to something else. Usually, this “something else” is something you compare the behavior with; the average person, your peers, your community, your class, etcetera. So crazy is deviation from a norm. For example, having pink hair is considered crazy across the society because on average, most people have brown, black, or blond hair. However, in a sub-society of punks, pink hair loses it craziness because in this community, there might be many more people with different hair colors (like pink), other than the typical ones. This norm you take is arbitrary, you can compare your own behavior or physique to anyone you like. In this blog I will dive into the crazy within (sub) society, bubbling, the pro’s and the cons of crazy. However, I will not focus on anything “crazy” by itself, because that just doesn’t exist. Crazy is a relative statement. I hope you enjoy this blog!

The normal distributions in society
Usually, when you take signatures of a group of people, like their sizes of noses, loudness of voice, insecurity, or length op people, a group of people is distributed in a Normal distribution. Lets take length as an example (because its a familiar one). A few people in our society are very small, lots of people are average sized, and a few people are very tall. The picture below shows this typical normal distribution also known as a bell-curve. Tall people (above 180cm) will feel very crazy in this society, because they are with only a few. They will be stared at, and might even laughed at.

So a tall person, might search for other tall people to talk about his problems. Suppose there is a community where all the tall people come together. Suddenly, a new sub-community is created consisting of only tall people. Therefore, a new normal distribution forms (the tall-community) within the normal distribution of the whole society. Probably, only people higher than 180cm feel the need to become part of it, but not lots of them. Many of the tall people would be around 190cm, and there are still only a few people over the 200cm. You can see the new community enlarged in the picture below.

Becoming the new crazy
At first, all the tall people will be happy in the new community. No small people are staring at them anymore. But you might have noticed that the small community also has a normal distribution. So within this community, new sub-rules an cultures will be created. People from 190cm will consider the 180cm people to be small, and the 200cm people still remain tall. The people from 180cm will suddenly feel small in their new environment, how weird! Depending on the exact distribution and group size, people might have the tendency to form new communities within the community like; small-large people, or large-large people. But that’s just crazy. Either way, it is probable that searching for communities when you have a crazy thing, does not necessarily makes you feel better, you might still be an outsider in this community. But it probably will.

This phenomenon of finding sub communities with like-minded or physically similar people is called bubbling. If we look all across the internet, we can find the weirdest things and feel ourselves at home within it. Bubbling in a sub-community feels great because we feel less crazy, accepted, and normal again. However, we lose the contact with (the larger) society. You could wonder whether you want to be connected with society, but you have to know that your new reality (when living inside sub communities) is skewed.

Why crazy is considered bad
Crazy by itself is not bad, crazy is just a deviation from the norm. It is different than average, it is unlikely and rare. But by itself not bad. However, people have evolved over millions of years and are group animals. We live together and do the same things. Many people just do their things the normal way without thinking it could be done differently. When suddenly people deviate from the normal, this poses a risk to the normal people. Deviating from the normal signifies that you loosen from the group, and that your behavior might cause risks to yourself or to the group. As a response, normal people might try to correct you and pull you back to the normal. Even though, many people don’t really have a real reason for doing so. From a competitive perspective, some people might try to correct you or even exclude you from their group to avoid personal loss.
On the other side, being crazy can have many benefits because you are think differently. This might save you here!

Crazy & creativity
Crazy often resonates with creativity. When you are different, you think different. You have a different perspective of things and belong to the few special ones. But it might be hard to transfer your thoughts to normal people, mainly because you think differently, this blog might help you to think from someone else’s perspective. Deviating from the norm signifies a thin line between resistance and admiration. Acting too crazy feels for normal people like you are being random, reckless, or thoughtless because it seems that you have no real thoughts behind your actions. But if you manage to take people all across your line of reasoning towards your weird behavior, they might understand and admire you. For example, people might despise many goth-people. But once you hear the backstory of many of them, people are likely to change their minds about them. Either way, this is a constant struggle between the crazy ones and the normal ones.

Complexity of craziness
I have to say that I simplified craziness very much over this blogpost. Craziness is often an accumulation of several layers that are considered crazy. It is often not just one thing, because if you have only crazy thing, you have many other layers to compensate with. Just having pink hair does not make you a crazy creative person. But it is often the case that normal people don’t just dye their hair pink. More on these multi-layered systems could be found in this blog.

I believe that everyone has at least one layer, one little thing that is a bit crazy relative to the norm. But there are different ways to cope with craziness; finding similar people, or staying within society and embrace your specialty. It is great to embrace your craziness and use it to evolve yourself, to make yourself special. However, we shouldn’t deny the risks of craziness.

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