The Thin Line

Banya Saw
3 min readOct 28, 2021


When it comes to choosing between two alternatives, I am on familiar grounds. Somehow or the other I almost always end up with the wrong one! What conclusion can I possibly draw from this? Does it in any way imply that my mental faculty is so poor as to be unable to distinguish the circle from the square? Or, to be more elementary, have I got such a faculty in the first place?

Am I insane? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind or not, that is the question. To get down to the task of finding an answer to this, one would have to tackle with yet another question: “What is insanity?”

“Insanity” according to the dictionary is ” unsoundness or derangement of mind especially without recognition of one’s own illness. Insanity is rather a social and legal than a medical term, and implies mental disorder resulting in inability to manage one’s affairs and perform one’s social duties”.

So there it is. The boundary line between sanity and insanity is rather obscure, rather vague. It is a very, very thin line, if I may say so. The blurred confines of sanity merge with the unobtrusive landmarks of insanity so unperceptively that one is unaware of one’s own mental situation.

Whatever adjectives we might hurl against the idea — preposterous, presumptuous, ridiculous, fantastic — it is a fact that we all are insane to a certain extent in our own peculiar ways. Well, at least I am insane. There certainly is no doubt about it. I’ll be the first to confess. And I give my full assurance that it won’t mellow into a retracted confession. One doesn’t have to look far for concrete examples.

The cold logic of the anti-cigarette viewpoint is a medical fact nowadays. Yet, how many of us sane, sober and sound people have ever thought seriously of seeing the last of those puffs?

The dark side of drinks, both the moral and the medical aspects, we very well know. Yet, how many of us sane, sober and sound people have ever given serious thought to seeing the last of that jolly good fellow Bacchus? (Parting is such sweet sorrow that we shall say goodnight till it be morrow?) The most some decisive souls might do is to have Burgundy on the barge instead of whiskey at the wharf! Social drinking? Happy-go-lucky ideals? Call it what you may. I prefer to call it insanity.

Let me go a little further into this loony labyrinth.

So we call ourselves adults. “Sane, sober and sound” adults at that. Still ,how many of us can say boldly and brazenly that we can manage our own affairs and perform the unending stream of social obligations? And if we cannot, can we, without a single shred of doubt, say that this inability is not the result of a mental disorder? We never can be certain, you know, for the simple reason that we all are definitely not Freuds, Jungs and Adlers.

So where does all this baloney business lead to? Why, to the obvious fact that I am dragging everyone else into my domain of delirium.

“Come into my parlour”, said the spider to the fly!



Banya Saw

Born in 1940 when my country was still under British rule. Graduated from Rangoon University with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law in 1963 and 1966.