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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Insanity page.

In an insane society the only the sane seem insane.

Attributed to Spock in the Martin Mull movie Serial. --Gbleem 01:35, 8 December 2006 (UTC)Reply

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results


I've been searching on finding an earlier source on this and I found 3 possible ones. I did find this in Google Books but it's the material isn't from 1925, it's much more recent.

Next is this. This book is clearly from 1993, however a similar book was published by the same author in Feb. 1980 called Step Two: A Promise of Hope ISBN 9990108498. This, however isn't the same book and unless a copy can be found it's too early to say this is the first written record.

Last is this. It's a Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Volume 62 from 1966. In it is the phrase "insanity has been defined as doing things the same way and expecting different results." Could somebody find this in a library (possibly University of California's) and confirm it please? - Stillwaterising 18:09, 24 February 2010 (UTC)Reply

The last one, 1966 Transactions, doesn't seem to pan out either. Like the New Yorker reference it seems to actually contain recent information. - Stillwaterising 18:16, 24 February 2010 (UTC)Reply
Transactions volume 62 is from 1988 not 1966. Our subject page recently contained a reference to vol 71 with a date of 1975, but that date is wrong (vol 71 is from 30 years later). I moved that to unsourced section (because it says "has been defined") but it should really be removed. David Couch 15:52, 29 September 2010 (UTC)Reply
I share your frustration with bibliographic errors at GoogleBooks. I have been reporting errors (click "Provide Feedback" at the foot of the book overview page), but they are slow to make corrections. (Imagine the size of their backlog!) I really don't understand why they no longer consider displaying publication information (e.g. obverse title page, etc.) in snippet/limited previews a fair use and a service to anyone with rights to the work. It was much easier to verify when they provided a "copyright" link directly to the page image, but now they frequently will not display the page at all. ~ Ningauble 16:16, 26 February 2010 (UTC)Reply
This page has some interesting speculation about the origin of the phrase, with a lot of people remembering the the phrase being widely used in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings going way back, though I suppose it's possible they only picked it up after reading it in Rita Mae Brown's 1983 book Sudden Death which seems to be the earliest confirmed written version. Too bad google books only features the 1992 edition of The Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlet Step 2: A Promise of Hope, and the original 1980 edition of the book ISBN 9990108498 seems to be impossible to find when I enter the ISBN on BookFinder or would be a lead worth following up on! I wonder if it might be possible to get the 1980 edition with an inter-library loan? Hypnosifl 16:02, 24 August 2010 (UTC)Reply


Published sources should be provided before moving these back into the article
  • Sanity is basically an act. Insanity, is dropping the act.
    • Nana Lee
  • I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
  • Madness is like the Emergency Exit.You can just step outside and close the Door on all those Bad Things that happened.You can lock Them all away Forever
  • Madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push.
  • An egoist can be won over by being respected, a crazy person can be won over by allowing him to behave in an insane manner and a wise person can be won over by truth.
  • GP: Maybe you are just crazy.
    M2: Indeed! But do not reject these teachings as false because I am crazy. The reason that I am crazy is because they are true.
  • the West, the insane are so many that they are put in an asylum, in China the insane are so unusual that we worship them.
  • Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your children.
  • It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination.
    • Henry Kissinger, in a statement at a National Security Council meeting in 1975.
  • To lie, of course, is to engender insanity.
  • A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.
  • The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance called 'faith.'
  • The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.
  • The world of madness is a lot bigger than the world of sane.
  • You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy.
  • Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.
  • To clear the mind of its noise then to lose the mind altogether. This is meditation. (Of course some would call this insanity).
    • Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D.
  • You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.
  • One long-past innocent day, in my prefolly youth, I came upon a statement in an undistinguished textbook on psychiatry that, as when Kant read Hume, woke me forever from my garden-of-eden slumber. "The psychotic does not merely think he sees four blue bivalves with floppy wings wandering up the wall; he does see them. An hallucination is not, strictly speaking, manufactured in the brain; it is received by the brain, like any 'real' sense datum, and the patient act in response to this to-him-very-real perception of reality in as logical a way as we do to our sense data. In any way to suppose he only 'thinks he sees it' is to misunderstand totally the experience of psychosis."