Wednesday, August 18, 2010

There is only so much Insanity in the world & it's avoidable!

            Now that I have your attention.

Hi wanna be my friend
The Quantity Theory of Insanity by Will Self.
What if there is only a fixed proportion of sanity in any given society at any given time? Regardless of your social outlook, your geographical position, regardless of whether you are a member of the Women's Institute or gay bikers from Mars. But don't panic, you can offset this problem by making sure you have the correct proportion of insane people around you.
This is just one of the stories in Will Self's book, which starts with the story - The North London book of the dead - in which we find that when you die in London, you just move downmarket. We then follow this with - Ward 9, where an art therapist becomes so embroiled in the lives of his patients that he's having sex with them, taking drugs, and there is no dividing line between him & them.
The third story, Understanding the Ur-Bororo, is a tale concerning an Amazonian Tribe that have no real faith or philosophy & are in fact so boring, that they refer to themselves as " The people who you wouldn't like to be cornered by at parties". The Ur-Bororo are strangely suburban in their outlook, in fact if it wasn't for the fact that they live in the rainforest, you could easily imagine them at dinner parties or on the local P.T.A.

                                        Q(Q><[Q]) = Q(Q><[Q])

In the 4th tale we finally get to meet the narrator, as he explains the story of "The Quantity Theory of Insanity", as well as explaining the theory, he goes on to expound on what happened after he went public with this theory.
In case you're wondering about the Q's, that's the formula for the theorem.
"Mono cellular" is the penultimate tale & appears to be about a man who suffers from insomnia or for some reason refuses to sleep. It's...... not clear which is the more accurate description, as his sanity & his ability to clarify what he is going on about diminishes as the story proceeds, although he appears to be waiting for something/someone. But as the time progresses his musing becomes more  problematic & less coherent.

The final tale, Waiting, is narrated by a man who describes his friends descent into madness & obsession with waiting. His mate becomes caught up in some cult that claims to have solved this problem that affects society & that is encapsulated in the phrase - Amazonian ShamanImminent & the Immanent.

The Ur-Bororo have a saying, "However far you travel in this world, you will still occupy the same volume of space".

If The Quantity Theory of Insanity is proven & turns out to have some basis in fact, your best defence against insanity is to carry this book at all times, it will counteract any bedlam you find yourself in. It's a mad dark satire that disturbs at the same time as it makes you laugh.

This hilarious black satire seethes with wonderful weird ideas & bizarre images.

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