People seem to have always been fascinated by the definitions and existential implications of sanity and insanity. The following are generally accepted definitions and synonyms of these interesting and controversial terms after which there are additional ideas on the subject. Perhaps consider this...
There is no art without the observer
and no observer without art,
for art is mind and mind is art...
According to the English (U.S.) Thesaurus, some synonyms for the word sanity are: good sense; wisdom; reason; understanding; common sense; sense; judgment; etc. In an encyclopedia there are definitions such as: "The condition of being mentally healthy and able to make rational decisions based on common sense, reasonableness, and predictability. The term is ultimately, derived from the Latin word sanus, meaning whole or sound."
Synonyms for insanity are: madness; lunacy; psychosis; mental illness; etc. An encyclopedia says: "Disorder characterized by disturbances in a person's thoughts, emotions, or behaviour. The term mental illness can refer to a wide variety of disorders, ranging from those that cause mild distress to those that severely impair a person's ability to function. Mental health professionals sometimes use the terms psychiatric disorder or psychopathology to refer to mental illness."
With the currently accepted classifications of the two very opposite terms we can start contemplating their true meaning and validity. First of all, the nature or conditions in which definitions or views concerning human behaviour and everyday social phenomena are formed reside in the mental sphere of the social norm. In other words, the criteria imposed on the acceptance of a view or definition is whether or not the majority percentile of people discussing a definition agrees with it, while the latter is wholly dependant on the observation of behaviour and character of most people in a current social context. In short, the norm determines what is viewed as "Normal" and those falling outside of this norm are considered to be "Abnormal." Thus we can see that there can never be an absolute or fixed definition of anything, as times and human conditions are perpetually subjected to change.
In times of war whether civil or international the definition of a suitable or useful person changes instantaneously: people who were previously seen as hostile or over aggressive are now considered as invaluable assets in their ability to defend their country and in not being scared to kill another human being for the greater purpose. Similarly, those people who are sensitive, law abiding and considerate human beings are now seen as being a weakness and possibly a danger to the safety of their country.
Isn't this a perfect example of "Normality" and "Abnormality" swapping sides? Because now in the condition of war those who were previously labeled as being "Normal" are unable to function in a useful way and evidently the former "Abnormal" ones are now the determining factor in achieving victory for society.
Moreover, "Abnormality" or mental illness is almost always viewed in a negative sense. Consider the case of artists, scientists, inventors, philosophers and the like. These people are seen as weird and dysfunctional in a social context and yes, maybe they are a bit different than normal people, but have you ever thought about the vital importance of these people in the world? After all, they are the people responsible for the advance, improvement and formulation of novel forms of thought, trends, arts, etc. Simply put, a world without them would not have been remotely related to what it is here and now. No technology, science, art, literacy, entertainment and many other things would have existed if it was not for them.
It has been said that a mad man is unaware of his madness and that he perceives his imagination or hallucinations as being entirely real. So, how can anyone really know whether or not he or she is sane or insane? How do I know if I am not just imagining everything around me? Even if I consult a psychiatrist and ask for his validation of my perceptions, it can still be just my mind playing tricks on me...Think about that one!