“I think, Uncle Salvatore, it is not difficult to behave like a madman, because the boundary between insanity and sanity is like thin paper.”
“Yes. The border between sanity and insanity is not based on the quality of abnormal behavior, but rather on the quantity of behavioral abnormalities. In other words, everyone has a certain amount of garbage inside. Madmen have more garbage than those with a normal mind. Neurotics are halfway between sanity and insanity, for they have a lot of garbage inside, but it is not enough to make them cross over the border to madness.”
“You say, Uncle Salvatore, that the state of the human mind depends on the quantity of garbage inside. Can you give me an example for me to understand better?”
“Yes, of course. For example, fear is an emotion that can be considered garbage. If you don’t have much fear inside, nothing bad happens. But if fear is excessive, it becomes pathological and turns into anxiety or panic attacks.”
“Give me one more example, please. This is really interesting.”
“The same happens with regard to paranoia. It is just a question of quantity. Let’s take a suspicious person as an example. Being distrustful is normal, but when mistrust becomes bigger and bigger, it turns into the belief that others may harm you and, finally, into paranoia. As you know, I love money. I consider it God’s blessing. If love for money is not excessive, it is called thriftiness. If greed for money is excessive, it is called miserliness and it is pathological.”
“I don’t think so, Uncle Salvatore.”
“Go ahead!”
“I think the causes of mental diseases lie not only in the amount of garbage inside but also in the quality of the brain. In fact, mental disease often comes from a sick or damaged brain, regardless of the garbage inside.”
“Yes, you are right, a sound brain as well as the chemical processes inside the human body are important, but, this is the point, body, brain, and mind are connected. Therefore, if you reduce the quantity of garbage inside your mind, also your brain will benefit from it, and the body’s chemical processes will work better.”
“According to you, Uncle Salvatore, what causes fear, anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia?”
“Sometimes we can’t control those states. It happens because there is a substratum under the mental condition. What is the basis of neurosis? Can you answer, Benedetto?”
“I think the substratum is our past failures, the emotions we have suppressed over the years, trauma, and, above all, our difficult relationships with others.”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

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