*A short question to hold you over while I craft the next post (sorry that it has been so long, my brain has been pretty pre-occupied).*
Sufjan Stevens recently released an album based off the work of an artist by the name of Royal Roberston. Royal was a poor man, who was crazy and made art. He has paranoid schizophrenia and became quite delusional as he progressed. This caused his wife to leave him, after he continually accused her of cheating on him and being unfaithful. After she left he dedicated almost all of his time to making his art. They were very unappealing pictures of the future, many looked like comics, picturing flying cars and the end of the world. They all had scripture and other writings on the sides and showed his obsession with numerology. He was painting visions he saw, as he believed he was a prophet of G-d. He frequently recieved “dreams” of the end of the world and as he became more delusional and paranoid, he started to believe that the world was ending because of a mass conspiracy of a group of women, trying to end the world. He died in 1997. Much of his work was destroyed in Hurricane Andrew.
Now, this got me thinking. Speaking to G-d, being a prophet, and being insane seem to be closely connected. Most of the biblical prophets were quite loopy, and if put in a modern context would be clinically diagnosed with some sort of psychological disorder. And yet they were spot on. We can see this in hindsight, we see the prophecies coming true, the bigger picture of what they were correcting, and the grand scheme of what G-d was communicating. But how can we know that people like Royal are not in fact insane, but overwhelmed my the message G-d has brought to them. I am not saying Royal is a prophet, he was very much insane and his prophecy was very twisted and misogynistic. But how do you differentiate the prophet from the insane? Or even worse, if you receive a “vision from G-d” how do you know its from G-d, and not just your schizophrenia acting up?