Insanity4 mins 641 4 mins 641
He was just 5 years old when he watched his father getting escorted to an asylum. His father, a decent middle-class man, snapped one fine day and started laughing madly. No one knew why but everyone agreed he had lost it.
Imagine losing one’s father to insanity at such a tender age. I guess that moment defined his destiny. Every choice he took from that day onwards was an attempt to get his father back. One of those choices was studying neuroscience. That’s where I befriended him.
During our final year, he wrote a dissertation on insanity and hypothesized that insanity is nothing but your brain getting caught in a loop. Your brain keeps giving the same command again and again and again. And if we figured out a way to break that loop, we might be able to cure insanity. His theory, although logical, was criticized by many and declared impossible.
He tried very hard to get sufficient funding for research and experimentation of this theory but in vain. He couldn’t manage a single institute, government or private, to fund him. Finally he gave up. Or that’s what I thought when he disappeared.
Many years passed and everyone, including me, started forgetting him and his cure for insanity. But then one day, he resurfaced in an article titled “INSANITY CURED??” It was about an experimental machine which might be able to cure insanity by figuring out the dominant frequency loop in the brain and countering it. It was the same machine Punit’s had theorized so many years ago.
I tracked him down somehow and congratulated him. That’s when I found out that he was going to conduct the first round of testing in our city. Because of lack of consent and other usual issues in scientific testing, Punit had decided to conduct the first test on his own father, whose consent form he himself could sign.
I was invited to this test as a friend and as one of the representatives of the neuroscience society. Going over his research, I had to admit that it was impressive and I thought his machine might just work.
On the day of testing, his father was walked into a chamber where he was made to lie down on a stretcher which slid into a ‘MRI’ like giant machine. His hands, legs and head were tied down just to make sure he stays still while the machine does its business.
Punit made sure that everything was exactly where it belonged and we didn’t expect anything less. After all the subject was his own father. After checking everything twice, Punit came out of the chamber and gave the necessary commands on his computer to start the test. The machine was first supposed to register the dominant command loop transmitting through his neurons and then transmit a counter-command.
But the machine didn’t register anything.
After checking and rechecking multiple times and trying again and again, Punit still couldn’t get his machine to register the dominant command loop.
Everybody decided that the machine didn’t work and started leaving. But I stayed, I don’t know why. When everyone, including his assistant left disappointed, Punit was still busy figuring out what was wrong with his machine. I was the only one left and had half a mind to leave but instead I offered to help if I could.
He requested me to start the machine when he asks and he himself lied down in the subjects place. I wasn’t very sure of this, but he smiled and reassured that its quiet safe and he is very much sane for the machine to work anyways. He just wanted to check if things were functioning properly.
Once he was settled in, he asked me to start the machine which I hesitantly did. A few seconds passed and to my shock the machine caught a dominant frequency loop running through Punit’s brain and before I could figure out what to do, it started countering it. Before I could understand what was happening the machine stopped.
I ran into the observation chamber and slid Punit out. He seemed alright. A little shocked, but alright. He stared blankly at me and then his surroundings. Then slowly he started giggling and then laughing uncontrollably. Just like his father, he kept on laughing like he had just understood a hilarious joke.
The next day’s newspaper reported that the machine didn’t work and failure drove Punit into insanity. And almost all of the neuroscience community agreed. Everyone…except me.
I think the machine did cure insanity, real insanity, not the one we consider to be.
The machine worked.