Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dark Slide of the Loon

The human brain defines the human, yet it perpetually teeters on the edge of delirium. The factors are multiple - environment, circumstances, personal choice, or a dip (could be planned, could be accidental) in a yucky gene pool. While the fact that the brain is the essence of our existence and yet so fragile is quite disturbing, it's a lot more appalling to think that destroying a part of the brain via lobotomy and permanently altering the person was acceptable practice in the 40s and 50s.

The Urdu word for human being is insaan, for humanity is insaniyat. Attach an e and take away an a, and we have insane and insanity. How's that for teetering? There is a very fine line that separates man from mad (actually just one letter, come to think of it). Dementia is just a slip away from our dimension into a self-built alternate reality and ironically, the people who start wandering that personal alternate reality can be called 'no'mad. If enough personal alternate realities found common ground and a way to cross over and share, the loons shall inherit the earth.

Cracks in our psychological and emotional veneer manifest as quirks and idiosyncracies. If we don't figure out how to fill those cracks, they start propagating and become psychoses, neuroses and eventually full-blown dementia (there's physical/genetic factors to initiate/accelerate the process, of course). With every passing year we lose flexibility and become more brittle, and these cracks start smoking more crack, ready to mislead us to shattering conclusions. Being malleable is tough in this rapidly changing world, but of extreme necessity.

So what did the loon get from the moon? Apparently you can go mad if the moon shone on you while you were asleep, or maybe just with the phase changes of the moon. If the moon can have such a strong effect from a distance, did Neil Armstrong experience heightened lunacy in the lunar sea when he landed on the moon?

Interestingly, the non-human world is a lot crazier - that is why the cuckoo went cuckoo, the nut bolted, the banana slipped/lost a peel/went bananas, kangaroos went hopping mad, chimpanzees went ape, the pressure cooker blew a gasket, the golf ball became de'range'd, the pistol went ballistic, and Willly went wonka! Most of the exciting figures of speech are about negative scenarios - positivity is boring I guess.

There is no dark slide of the loon. Matter of fact, it's all spark. A bright, cheery ascent to a chocolate factory. Willy can attest to that after he is done ordering the Oompa Loompas around.


Manish said...

If you blink in the dark, you can see the moon. And if you sing in the dark, you can hear Moony Tunes.... Chanda Mama door se, poori pakaye gud ke, aap khaye thali main, pankaj ko de payali main.

Avinash Bhatia said...

Hmm ... or maybe the way to reach the sea of tranquility is for the insaan to go insane !