I kick the subject of mental illness around a lot in this venue due to my career as a clinician which has given me a perspective to “sniff out” madness pretty readily. Oh, we are all “mad” to some degree but then there are times when one’s madness goes beyond the pale and then the Shakespearean question is relevant, “What’s mad but to be anything else but mad.” There are times when the ordinary madness of day to day life approaches the pale and threatens to go beyond it and enter the realm of “nothing else but mad.”
Trump is demonstrating this. Here and in my other blogs I have noted often of his need to isolate himself in a private world, to cut off any criticism from those who see the world differently than he does, best illustrated with his hatred of, “fake news.” But now as his “fake news,” known by most of us as “reality,” continues to tighten its noose on him, he is taking even more desperate moves. The news about the non-disclosure agreements with his advisers and now the “cleaning house” with his staff and cabinet reveal a heightened need to cut off feedback from the outside. Like Hamlet, overwhelmed with the duress of everyday life, expressed a desire to, “flee to a nutshell and there be the king of infinite spaces,” revealing Shakespeare’s knowledge of the human need to occasionally want a complete escape, even that of lunacy.