For over 35 years, Enid Vien has been a student of Humanity. Her searches have taken her through many philosophical, religious, and metaphysical pathways to the melding of method and magic that so characterizes her work today. She likes to call herself a pragmatic philosopher.
The following chapter from her book, Scars on the Soul is © 2001 by Enid Vien. For reprint rights, please contact
From Chiropractic we get the idea that before we study sickness we should study health. We should know the idea operating condition of a vehicle before we attempt to fix it, certainly we should know the ideal condition for ourselves.
We have assumed that sickness is entirely physical in nature, and in working from this viewpoint much as been accomplished in the way of treating maladies, yet we now have new and terrifying diseases to study, such as AIDS. We still live on a planet riddled with warmongering maniacs who cannot be given two aspirin and told to check back in two weeks. As I write, people are killing each other in Bosnia, Iraq still is attempting to cover up its work in developing nuclear warheads, and Irish rebels are bombing randomly with no concern for civilian life. These are just a few of the violent and unproductive sicknesses of the modern age. This is really a spiritual sickness. A person must be terribly scarred to wish to harm others so drastically.
We live in a society that does not believe a murderer is insane if he can premeditate his crime. This nonsense. Murderers are obviously insane, regardless of their ability to think, they are deranged. Murder is not a healthy act. A healthy person can dislike or disagree with you without killing you. The burning of LA last year was not a healthy sign either, when a city is burning, one must assume that society itself has become ill. Rioting and looting randomly are a symptom that these citizens are not doing well and could not reach their oppressors to destroy them even if they could identify them, so they went mad with rage, destroying everything in sight. Rage is not healthy when it has no outlet or relief from the injustice that caused it.
We live on a planet where the highly civilized nations have developed technology which can and will be utilized by the unsophisticated nations which are barely out of the law of the jungle stage. This is a highly unstable state of affairs.
A sane society has as its goal stability and prosperity for its citizens. All of its citizens.
We have been very lax in defining health and sanity. We have legal and clinical definitions but they do not always agree and this area is fraught with confusion due to no useful, comprehensive guidelines from which to evaluate.
Health: A state of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. A "well being." A person whose body, mind and spirit are in accord.
Sanity: A state of mental well being. Capable of perceiving cause and effect. Able to get along with others, can agree or disagree without violence. Stable of mood and action. Can differentiate.
Unhealthy: Predisposed towards malfunctions. Not well. Weak of spirit. Unstable of mood and action.
Insanity: Incapable of perceiving cause and effect. Unstable of mood and action. Cannot tolerate any other viewpoint. Cannot differentiate.
These are very broad definitions and of course, all are by degree. None of us are totally well or totally sane all the time, but are somewhere in between. The point where a person goes utterly mad is the point where he or she can no longer tell the difference between one set of circumstances or another to such a degree that a past or imaginary scene is superimposed over what is actually occurring in the environment. The scars on his soul have overwhelmed his perception and reason. At this point the person has crossed the line where it is safe for other people to be around him. Drugs can induce temporary madness also, especially hallucinogens.
As individuals have varying amounts of life force (dynamis) a weaker being might appear to be no danger to those around him, but the misjudgments he makes due to the superimposed reality will be harmful, whereas a stronger being, with a great quantity of life force, can have the strength of ten and no-one will mistake that for safe when he is in the throes of a psychotic rage.
The common factor is the belief that reality is so dangerous that the person must fight those around him for his very survival, it may be actual fighting or covert, hidden acts against those close by.
As a sane person does not commit harmful acts willfully, and thinks of the effects his acts will cause, one could define insanity as the desire and will to harm others. A sane person does not wish to harm others, but rather to improve situations and conditions for all concerned. An insane person wishes to do damage to others because his psychic scars are so intense that he sees others as dangerous to him. The difference is one of motive. Due to the unhappy fact that we all have moments of insanity where we want to hurt someone, it has been hard for us to see this. But a short lived fit of anger is not the same as a long term, often hidden desire to see others fail or suffer. The madman is operating on a pattern of hatred which is not temporary. The same person usually does not act on his ill wishes or find a way to deal with situations that cause minimal destruction.
A sane person does not operate on a spiteful motive for long, and tends not to act out the impulses to destroy or harm, returning to a more normal frame of mind easily because he or she has no real desire to harm others. Also the same can predict the consequences of their actions.
If you are worried about your sanity as you read this, it is a positive sign, indicating that you can recover from your spiritual doldrums, the truly insane do not consider or believe that they could be wrong, this makes it very difficult for them to improve or recover.
It has been considered for a long time that insanity is a derangement of the mind, but it is really the derangement of the spirit, the soul. After a being has accumulated enough soul scars he becomes less and less able to correctly perceive and assess the world around him. He is afraid of the psychic pain and madly attempting to avoid more of it. The wounds have consumed his reason.