Perverting Pascal (on Mabel’s Madness)
Addendum to Is Mabel Longhetti Crazy
Fortuitously, I came across the following quote from Pascal’s Pensées tonight, only a few days after my recent viewing of Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence. Though Pascal’s original intention must be perverted to make it so, it nicely summarizes the world of Cassavetes’ film, in which the only truly sane person is deemed mad:
Men are so necessarily mad that it would be another twist of madness not to be mad. (§31)
The madness of the world, seen most prominently in Margaret, permeates everything, infuses it so thoroughly, that to escape from the madness, as Mabel does, is to be mad, to need to be locked away. It is a further twist of madness: the non-mad cannot function in a mad world, and so are mad, insofar as inability to function is a sign of madness.
With due apologies to Pascal, who would not doubt be horrified by the tremendous violence perpetrated against him in this brief post.