I have no idea if this book is any good, but I'd love to get some of my most thoughtful friends together for a discussion of just this article alone!
And just in case you are not even tempted to follow the link, here are a few teaser quotes:
'Sanity does not immediately strike us as a fascinating idea the way madness does,' he says, leaning forward in his chair, his eyes closing in concentration as they will throughout our conversation, 'even as an alternative word to mad, sane is so blank. But, it seems to me that either madness is another word for human nature, and that we are all very strange and life is, as it were, maddening, or, we are capable of actually being something else. Now, what is that something else? That is what I am trying to explore and I think that it is actually very obscure, and neglected.'
. . . we take our sanity for granted, that only when it is dramatically ruptured - by grief, depression, breakdown - do we think about it at all. Like Bill Wyman's famous definition of a great bass player - you would only realise how good he was if he were to stop playing mid-song - sanity is defined mainly though its absence.
'One of the more distracting things about capitalist culture,' he says, with total seriousness, 'is that there is no stupor, no time to vegetate. What I would suggest is more time wasting, less stimulation. We need time to lie fallow like we did in childhood, so we can recuperate. Rather than be constantly told what you want and be pressurised to go after it, I think we would benefit greatly from spells of vaguely restless boredom in which desire can crystallise.'