What is sanity? Fairly important question in this “mad, mad world”. The “cross of reality” suggests a remedy and corrective for our individual and collective insanities as well.
Human beings can “fly off the handle” in one of four ways. In his essay Farewell to Descartes Rosenstock-Huessy touched upon some of those ways, particularly the dualism of Ego and It or subject and object. But it also applies to the other polarity of time as past and future, in the form of conservative of liberal orientations.
Real human beings correspond to the cross of reality, which is a mandala form. Somueone who is 100% conservative is a fascist. Someone who is 100% revolutionary is a Stalinist. Someone who is 100% object is an “It” — the “masses”. And someone who is 100% egoistic individualist is a pathological narcissist.
These are really caricatures of human beings. A real human being lives in all four directions, and sanity is simply the constant rebalancing of those dimensions. A human being is multiform; consciousness is multi-dimensional; and that multi-formity is fourfold in nature.
Many of us end up as caricatures when we over-exaggerate one of the time or space fronts of the cross of reality. We call someone like that “unbalanced”. That’s what insanity is. Sanity is living out the cross of reality from the vital centre. Every day we are rebalancing our time and space fronts. Too much of one, not enough of the other drives human beings mad. A real and sound human being has the freedom to circulate through all four fronts of the cross of reality, because a real human being is a being of thinking, feeling, willing, and sensing — the four functions of consciousness.
What is called “equanimity” is the balance, or the harmoniousness. Equanimity is perhaps just another term for “integral consciousness”. The human form is not a pyramd, it is a mandala. Equanimity and integral consciousness are just other words for “sanity”.
Homo sapiens, homo faber, homo oeconomicus, etc… are just so many caricatures and exaggerations. They aren’t descriptions. They’re prescriptions and proscriptions. Homo grammaticus or “the speaking animal” is perhaps more accurate and inclusive, but even that has limitations. Sometimes we are silent when we should speak. And sometimes we speak when we should be silent. Sometimes we are reasonable and oftentimes not. Sometimes we are economical and sometimes not. Sometimes we’re inventive and sometimes quite dumb. Sometimes wise, sometimes foolish. Sometimes we “go with the flow” and sometimes we “take our stand”. We are creatures of time, and can be as variable as time itself. To be trapped in one image or self-image is narcissism.
No one is the caricature that society, education, propaganda, advertising, parents, neighbours, even friends, etc all too often try to make us into. I call that “black magic”. We’re natural shape-shifters and polymorphs and naturally elastic and fluid. Being inherently multiform and diverse has survival value. You can “turn on a dime”, as they say. Some might confuse that with “inconstancy” or as being an “unreliable element”, but if you know the cross of reality you also know better than they that constancy and “staying the course” can also be a one-way ticket to Hell.
Feel free to circulate. Too much introspection, too much extrospection, too much retrospection, or too much prospection can be bad for your health and your sanity, or in Rosenstock’s terms subjectivity, objectivity, trajectivity, and prejectivity.