The Language of the Unfamiliar and the Inner World

Many people are probably afraid to ask this question of me, “what is it like to go mad?”  I think I can answer this question with an analogy.

I saw a road sign that said “This way to the land of the unfamiliar.” So I took that path, the road not at all  travelled by, by anyone I knew, or who knew me.

As I walked down the road, less and less of the surroundings seemed familiar to me.  But some of it looked the same as the land of the familiar world that I came from.

By the time I reached the land of the unfamiliar, the world looked new and different, nothing looked familiar.  And I felt a new feeling, one that surprised me. I felt that this was my home.

And then I opened my eyes, and discovered that I was still in the land of the familiar.  Everything looked the same.  But my perception of it was different.  The perception made everything look unfamiliar, like my inner world had become.  The tragedy is that I no longer spoke the language of the familiar in the same way, because my speech sounded a lot less familiar because of my altered perception.

I guess the moral of this story is that without learning psychology, or the language of the inner world, or “the land of the unfamiliar,” you cannot speak to the inhabitants of that strange and different landscape, nor can you tell people what you are seeing in terms that they can understand.  Without a scientific vocabulary, you may feel at home, but you will lose all contact with the reality of family and friends.  I think if you explore the inner worlds and choose to leave familiar territory, you need to take with you a guidebook to that landscape, and learn the native language, so that you will be equipped to tell the stories from that fabled land of the inner world.