A definition of insanity by Einstein has been so popularized by cinema and television that dictionaries simply cannot keep up. He said, with trademark elegance, that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” But he might have forgotten to add a qualifier: insanity may not be conspicuous if a majority is insane.
Think about the modern consumer who buys and buys and buys, often the same thing but referred to as a newer version that provides the same basic functionality. If a person was looking to fulfill a certain need through a product, the person would not abandon it so readily for a newer version by paying even more if the product fulfilled the need to begin with. The replacement of one product by its newer version or its substitute could only mean that the product was not fulfilling the needs it was supposed to. However, in the modern world of consumerism, that newer version or substitute, is replaced again as quickly or even quicker. Today, it is all about buying the latest version, without a single reflective thought about how it would fulfill the need differently than an older version would.
This repeated buying of products, while expecting them to fulfill a need that similar products before could not, matches very closely with the definition of insanity provided by Einstein. Of course, it is often the case that the products are marketed in such a way as to appear to be fulfilling basic human emotional needs (just think about all the smiling faces and beautiful people in advertisements of products that have no direct link with happiness or sexuality, such as a car) but people seem to fall for the advertisements so consistently and repeatedly that it makes you wonder if the mind is really any competition for the heart, so to speak.
Looking from afar, people in modern times are insane according to Einstein’s definition. It may not seem like it when it is so commonplace and seemingly permanent, but it is definitely a thought worth considering. However, if insane is normal, then who would not want to be insane, for not being insane would make one an outcast?
Take a look at a short film I made about consumerism.