Oh, that way madness lies; let me shun that.
Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4.

When i was young, and the world of my mind unexplored, I would sometimes have a Thought. Being by nature logical and curious, this Though would inevitably lead to another Thought, which then led to another and another, until the path through the forest of Knowledge and my mind that the first Thought had led me to came to a tidy end.

But sometimes, sometimes there would be a fork in the path, and with a child's searching curiousity, I would peer down each fork, seeking the Correct Path. And sometimes, sometimes a sign would appear, unbidden, intuited, saying "This Way Lies Madness" - Warning me that following that Path, deciding in that directions, led to blackness, insanity, death. And I would (mentally) give a low whistle and sigh, as if a narrow escape had been made, and turn aside, taking the other, saner, safer, path.

Now, I ocassionally observe someone, or hear of someone, who seems to me to have chosen one of the dangerous paths that I, too, came across, and I think "I could be him. I understand him. He chose that way, and though I chose the other, I respect his choice, for it was his, not mine, to make." And my heart grows heavy with compassion, and perhaps a bit of pity, for the dark, lonely Path that the other has taken. And I wonder, did they not see the signs? Did they not feel, and fear, the outcome of their choice? And then I envy them, a little, for their courage in taking that ill-omened Path.

Also, I wonder at where the signs came from. Intuition is not enough. Moralistic concepts of right and wrong are surely absorbed, not instinctive, and such concepts were surely used in my unconscious evaluation of the paths before me. So do I have my parents, and society, to thank for my choice of the correct Path? Is it they that I should thank that I did not become a madman or a genius?

Is it something they deserve to be thanked for? or is it yet another societal burden that must be cast off before true freedom of self can be achieved?

Should I have taken one of the darker paths?