The wisdom of an old man
Type of Spiritual Experience
As Edgar Allen Poe said "Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence – whether much that is glorious – whether all that is profound – does not spring from disease of thought – from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. They who dream by day are cognisant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. "
A description of the experience
Wisdom, Madness and Folly - John Custance
About ...three months or so after my arrival in the Hospital, I was lying one afternoon – I can’t remember when; it was after I had begun to get up after breakfast - in the company of an old patient.
As if specially sent by the Powers of the Universe to confirm my train of thought, he began to recite, in a monotonous but rhythmic voice:-
earth, air; fire, water.
I don't remember exactly how many opposites he mentioned, but that gives the general idea. ....I have often heard mental patients refer to them in their delusionary or compulsive trains of thought.