Life was taking its vengeance on me, and that vengeance consisted merely in coming back, nothing more. Every case of madness involves something coming back. People who are possessed are not possessed by something that just comes but instead by something that comes back. Sometimes life comes back. If in me everything crumbled before that power, it is not because that power was itself necessarily an overwhelming one: it in fact had only to come, since it had already become too full-flowing a force to be controlled or contained - when it appeared it overran everything. And then, like after a flood, there floated a wardrobe, a person, a loose window, three suitcases. And that seemed like Hell to me, that destruction of layers and layers of human archaeology.
Humans, as a rule, don't like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead. But the definition of mad, on Earth, seems to be very unclear and inconsistent. What is perfectly sane in one era turns out to be insane in another. The earliest humans walked around naked with no problem. Certain humans, in humid rainforests mainly, still do so. So, we must conclude that madness is sometimes a question of time, and sometimes of postcode. Basically, the key rule is, if you want to appear sane on Earth you have to be in the right place, wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and only stepping on the right kind of grass.
In college, educated women (I found out) were frigid; active women (I knew) were neurotic; women (we all knew) were timid, incapable, dependent, nurturing, passive, intuitive, emotional, unintelligent, obedient, and beautiful. You can always get dressed up and go to a party. Woman is the gateway to another world; Woman is the earth-mother; Woman is the eternal siren; Woman is purity; Woman is carnality; Woman has intuition; Woman is the life-force; Woman is selfless love. "I am the gateway to another world," (said I, looking in the mirror) "I am the earth-mother; I am the eternal siren; I am purity," (Jeez, new pimples) "I am carnality; I have intuition; I am the life-force; I am selfless love." (Somehow it sounds different in the first person, doesn't it?)Honey (said the mirror, scandalised) Are you out of your fucking mind?I AM HONEYI AM RASPBERRY JAMI AM A VERY GOOD LAYI AM A GOOD DATEI AM A GOOD WIFEI AM GOING CRAZYEverything was peaches and cream.
For a torture to be effective, the pain has to be spread out; it has to come at regular intervals, with no end in sight. The water falls , drop after drop after drop, like the second hand of a watch, carving up time. The shock of each individual drop is insignificant, but the sensation is impossible to ignore. At first, one might manage to think about other things, but after five hours, after ten hours, it becomes unendurable. The repeated stimulation excites the nerves to a point where they literally explode, and every sensation in the body is absorbed into that one spot on the forehead---indeed, you come to feel that you are nothing but a forehead, into which a fine needle is being forced millimeter by millimeter. You can’t sleep or even speak, hypnotized by a suffering that is greater than any mere pain. In general, the victim goes mad before a day has passed.
But at some point it becomes obvious that, ultimately, the adventure of faith is the most sensible thing to do, and in fact the only thing worth doing. As Sam says toward the end of The Two Towers, no one remembers the tales in which the characters give up and turn back. Great and heroic deeds remain undone if no one leaps into the dark to do them. That's true when it comes to faith, too. You can't play a meaningful role in the great story by playing it safe. Once you hit the road, there is no going back to life as it was before. When Jesus asks His disciples if they will leave him to, Peter says, "Lord to whom will we go?" (verse 68). It's either walk with Jesus, unsafe as it seems sometimes, or go home.