People sometimes play practical jokes on someone by having everyone in a group pretend not to notice something obvious — an unusual sound, for instance. When the target of the joke mentions the sound — a drum beating or a horn blowing or something else — others seem oblivious and nonchalant, acting more and more as though they believe the person who hears the sound is joking — or maybe hearing things that aren’t there.
For much of my adult life, I’ve had a vague sense that almost everybody in the world is playing such a practical joke on me. I’ve halfway expected someone to finally laugh and say, “OK, we’ve been pulling your leg. Did you almost believe we were all crazy? Or did you think you were crazy?”
And that’s just it. I have a horrible sense that the world around me is fundamentally insane — or else I’m insane. Because if what I perceive of the world is real and accurate, the world is fundamentally nuts. But if the world is sane and rational, I must be insane to perceive it as making so little sense.
I’ve never really harbored any suspicions that I was the unknowing center of something like “The Truman Show,” but I’ve often thought that such a bizarre thing would explain a lot — because the world as I experience it makes no sense, unless everybody is putting me on.
You see, I have a strong need for the world to make sense — and little about this world seems sane to me. So am I crazy? Or is the world as irrational as I perceive it to be?