I believe it was Albert Einstein that once said 'insanity is the definition of doing the same action over and over and expecting a different result'. As I sit here this morning drinking a delicious Tearo coffee with two dogs at my feet, I’m thinking back on this past week feeling like it was a week of pure insanity. But that’s the blessing of a good Saturday morning - it can detach you from the week you just killed (or the week that just killed you). And I also 'get it', in so much that I can comprehend it’s also just one mere blip on the radar. So while I do understand my small insane week doesn't really impact anybody other than me, I've been thinking that our collective insanity goes way beyond a simple work week.
I’m in the midst of reading Loving Frank and just finished The Diary of Anne Frank. Both incredible stories in their own right. One is set in 1909, the other in 1944 and when you’re reading both you feel remarkably connected to the moment, the year and the mind of the main storyteller, Mamah and Anne (respectively). More importantly, both books feel like the setting could have been 2009 because the actions within both are happening in lives around me today.
In 1909, imaging a woman leaving her husband and kids to find a real love is astounding to me. I feel so close to Mamah's headspace because I too have often wondered the difference between sacrifice and selfishness. We all continue to try to search for a love within ourselves, or an even greater love beyond our own mind – but why? Why do so many of us never stop searching or wondering? Trying to choose between settling, society and selfishness - do these choices mean we end up sabotaging our own lives and those lives around us? And in fact living a repeat behaviour from 1909 to 2009.
There is a page in Anne Frank’s diary (pg 277 to be exact), and the first time I read it I felt the strongest lump in my throat. Not only because it’s incredibly poetic, written from the point of view of a 15-year girl on the insanity of war, but it felt like it could have been written today about the war we’ve been fighting for the last eight years. It's almost as though, nothing changes and overall, do we really get any further ahead? I've traveled to parts of the world where signs of war remain, and I stood there thinking "what would have changed in history if war didn’t have to be the outcome? Was it necessary?”. But in the very real and honest words of Anne Frank: "I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone, are guilty of the war. Oh no, the little man is just as guilty, otherwise the peoples of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There's in people simply an urge to destroy, an urge to kill, to murder and rage, until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated, and grown will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again."
If you think about it, although we evolve, we continue to repeat our actions, technology is added to our lives but at the core we are the all the same in so many ways. And how much really does change because we do re-enact war, love affairs and our actions. As the most intelligent species on the planet, kind of makes you wonder if we’re all just insane.