In terminology, madness refers to the quality of a disordered mind, a degree below that of being insane; completely unrestrained by reason and judgment; a state of mind in which actions are incapable of being explained or accounted and or ones carried away by intense anger, enthusiasm, or desire; marked by wild gaiety and merriment. [1]

The work of Irish author Samuel Beckett, beginning with his 1938 novel Murphy, is said to be pervaded with a fascination with entropy and madness. [2] Beckett’s work, in literature thermodynamics, has been classified with the absurd writer Harold Pinter. [3]

In hmolscience, writers who, in Stark classification, tend toward extreme materialism, namely of describing reality in terms of pure physiochemical materialism often tend be labeled by anti-materialists as mad, noted examples of which (see: crackpot) include the following, three of which ironically have the highest Hmolpedia like rankings:

Extreme materialists
Denigrate purviews
Like rankings
Johann Goethe
"Childlike nonsense" and "fooling around" (Wieland on Goethe's 1796 theory).29
Henry Carey
"Lunatic" or "back in his straight jacket" (Stark on Carey's 1858 theory).
Henry Adams
"More of a crank than a prophet" (Diggins on Adams' 1860s theory).17
Libb Thims
"Deranged imagination" (Moriarty on Thims' 2001 theory).
"Senile or crazy" (Lubos Motl comment Thims’s 2010 sexual heat and enthalpy of human molecules).
"Wacko" (Terrence Deacon’s 2013 comment on Thims and human molecular theory).

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The following are relevant quotes:

“There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.”
Aristotle (c.310BC), Greek physicist-philosopher

“I can calculate the movements of stars, but not the madness of men.”
Isaac Newton (c.1690), after losing his hat in a market collapse [4]

“Men have called me mad; but the question is not settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest of intelligence.”
Edgar Poe (c.1845)

“A completely mad book.”
— Anons (1860), two German colleagues of Ernst Haeckel on reading Darwin’s On the Origin of Species [6]

“It’s no mystery why economics is called the dismal science. With most sciences, experts make pretty accurate predictions. Mix two known chemicals, and a chemist can tell you ahead of time what you’ll get. Ask an astronomer when the next solar eclipse will be, and you’ll get the date, time, and best viewing locations, even if the eclipse won’t occur for decades. But mix people with money, and you generally get madness. No economist really has any idea when you’ll see the next total eclipse of the stock market.”
Tom Siegfried (2006), A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature [5]


1. Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 2000.
2. (a) Thiher, Allen. (2004). Revels in Madness: Insanity in Medicine and Literature (pg. #). University of Michigan Press.
(b) Samuel Beckett – Wikipedia.
3. Schneider, Eric D. and Sagan, Dorion. (2005). Into the Cool - Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Lif (pg. 5). The University of Chicago Press.
4. (a) Bouchard, Jean-Philippe. (2008). “Economics Needs a Scientific Revolution” (EP) (ArXiv), Nature, 455:1181, Oct 30.
(b) Weatherall, James O. (2013). The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable (thermodynamics, pgs. 18, 65; Newton quote, pg. 5). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
5. Siegfried, Tom. (2006). A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature (pg. 27). National Academies Press.
6. (a) Richards, Robert J. (2008). The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought. University of Chicago Press.
(b) Smith, Peter D. (2008). “Review: The Tragic Sense of Life”, Times Literary Supplement (pg. 12), Jul 25.

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