Stress and anxiety are things anyone and everyone has to deal with. The mental stresses and pressures placed upon the typical human being by modern civilization is a price that must be paid to live within the social strata we have now. It is understandable for people to have to bear with stress and pressure, to need to develop the mental tools to adapt to their culture and working environment, but for some, the burden is too great to bear. The human mind is a sensitive instrument, a computer program that has algorithms and protocols that can be stretched to a breaking point. The average person either has the capacity to deal with the stress and anxiety inherent to the modern world, but others are not so lucky. It has been suggested that, more than any era on record, the world we live in today has a sizable percentage of the population that is incurably mad.
Indeed, the stress and anxiety being pressed upon people can stretch less adapted minds to the breaking point. Apart from conforming to social norms, one also has to deal with the culture of work, the demands placed upon one’s gender, the social duties one has, and the conflicting need to fit in while retaining one’s individuality at the same time. This incredible amount of stress and anxiety, when combined with some personalities or mentalities, can result in someone that has embraced madness. In many ways, being utterly insane is a way to escape the stress and anxiety that society, work, and culture press upon a person. It is an unusual sight, but it is not impossible to see someone who has become so stressed out by events in his life that he can find himself having a complex philosophical debate with a stop sign.
As was once said by the comic book character The Joker, all it really takes for someone to go crazy was one “really bad day.” Unfortunately, when one takes everything into context and considers the thousands of layers that one has to navigate on a daily basis, the possibility of at least one person in the world having that “really bad day” is relatively high. There is no specific combination that can lead to this, nor is there any specific personality profile that is more prone to just snapping. The fact is, this is all based heavily on circumstance and luck. For some, it will only take a single event in that person’s life to make a difference, to cause a significant enough change that his mind can no longer handle the strain. For others, it would take him being served divorce papers, losing his job, learning he has cancer, being robbed blind in the middle of the street, and learning his youngest daughter just died for him to “lose it.”
The modern era, according to some analysts, is structured with so many complications and duties for a single individual that going completely insane is not that far-fetched. However, it is distinctly possible that insanity is a long-term development. People in the workplace or within some social circles may be slowly developing insanity in some form or another, but lack that single, defining moment to trigger the nervous breakdown. The emergence of insanity does not always have to be instantaneous, as the degradation of one’s “sanity” can be a slow process that can last a lifetime, requiring only a single event to open the proverbial door to the psychological point of no return.
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