I was reading through Idiot Brain by neuroscientist Dean Burnett. In the last chapter, on page 301, the next to last page of the book, Burnett said an interesting thing.
Pay attention. This is important. (I added the links.)
Our brains determine what's real or not based on our experiences, and if we grow up in a context where objectively impossible things are seen as normal, then our brains conclude they are normal, and judge everything else accordingly. Even people not brought up in [a] more extreme belief system are susceptible—the "just world" bias described in Chapter 7 is incredibly common, and often leads to conclusions, beliefs and assumptions about people experiencing hardships that aren't correct.
This is why unrealistic beliefs are classed as delusions only if they're not consistent with the person's existing belief system and views. The experience of a devout evangelist from the American Bible Belt saying he can hear the voice of God is not considered a delusion. An agnostic trainee accountant from Sunderland saying she can hear the voice of God? Yes, she'll probably be classed as delusional.
With a presumably normally functioning brain, delusional beliefs are not considered pathological. Only in a brain which has gone haywire in some way are delusional beliefs considered pathological.
Thus Burnett's book ends where the Flatland model begins, for delusional is delusional independent of brain state.
In fact, I would argue that the agnostic trainee is saner than the evangelist in the sense that at least she has an excuse for her atypical departure from reality in this case; apparently something has gone wrong in her mind.
From outside Flatland, and in so far as any of us have the capacity to get there, the human condition is pathological (i.e., humans routinely have belief systems which depart from reality to various extents and effects).
So whenever I use the words "crazy" or "insane" (or some such) on this blog, that's the sense of those words which I intend.
My friend Krystyna's mother died shortly before 2:00 AM on Thanksgiving Day. I had mentioned her the other day.
Feel free to post irrelevant or silly context-free YouTube videos in response to this post.
Have a nice weekend.