A fascinating question, one I will answer by how evolution treats either. The short answer to the question being: neither, if taken to the extreme.
You see, when you look closely at the process of evolution, you find neither the normal nor the insane to yield strong reproductive values, depending on how extreme both are. Nature relies on fundamental differences away from past normalcy to evolve and improve, and nature eventually kills off the complacency that comes with normalcy. Nature also kills the extreme cases of insanity, which leads to expulsion from societal acceptance, and thus leads to alienation from a species heavily dependent on collaboration.
The process of evolution mimics that of a fractal, in which not the status quo of normalcy defines our sustainability, but the renewability of our meaningful differences leads to the expansion of human capacity and ingenuity responsible for evolutionary strengthening, thus leading to the longevity of our species.
Society’s acceptance of our differences is suppressed by the systems we have built, in complete denial and ignorance of evolution. Our systems (economics, societal, finance, governmental, etc.) stimulate and perpetuate normalcy, where they instead should breed and expand – like nature does – the fringe of human abnormality. An abnormality enough to challenge and reinvent human ingenuity. But not by too much for it to be cast aside.
Many who would fit the mold of normal are eager to classify the abnormal as insane. And the insane are keen to classify anyone without their affliction as too normal. Both may be right, except for when either gradation of affliction contributes to an improved adaptation and strengthening to the evolution of humanity. The normal people are known sometimes to improve our capacity downstream – or at least to pretend to – and carefully applied insanity is known to strengthen our ingenuity upstream. Our evolution needs both to become renewable.
On the whole, I would consider the voluminous perpetuity of normalcy in society a more significant evolutionary burden, than the sum of what the normal classify as the deficit of the insane. We will not escape our anthropogenic demise as the most intelligent species on earth living the shortest, without the “insanity” proclaimed by the normal to reinvent much of our man-made constructs in our world anew.
Of course, a plethora of clinical definitions are “invented” by the normal, to classify with much granularity and fanfare the severity of the insane. Without granting that some crazy people may indeed be outright dangerous to society, the majority of cases I see are merely people who thankfully do not fit the mold of normalcy. The insane are the ones with the capacity to see the world from a different perspective. A perspective not automatically granted to have merit, but guaranteed to have more propensity for positive evolutionary change than the ideas of incremental nothingness from the normal.
So, to the insane, I say give yourself a break. Explore how you can use your insanity to expand the fringe of human capacity and ingenuity. To you, I reverberate a quote used by Steve Jobs:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do”
To the unremarkably normal, I quote Horace Mann:
“Until you’ve done something for humanity you should be ashamed to die”.