All things worth saying can be said simply. I am sure that there are profound exceptions to this “rule”; it is still worth a try. There may be a great deal of background information and thinking required for the following to be fully understood, but the “simple” expression is:
Humans evolved an adaptation which developed into the consciousness system of order, an adaptation that among other things changed their time relationship to the rest of the biophysical space. As a complete system order, consciousness has its own referencing designs that were originally synchronized with and dependent on the environment in which a human or group of humans lived and gave the humans “magical” levels of control and power there. But consciousness order contained the possibility to become self-referencing and did, increasingly separating aspects of the referenced basis of consciousness from environmental reality, creating and allowing a disconnection of belief and action from The Real.
This is the basis of Madness. In a very real sense humans have been living in madness -- a disconnection -- for a long time. The process has been slow and cumulative. Fifty thousand years ago everything mattered: the least little breeze properly perceived could make all the difference. Five thousand years ago, measuring the seasons, smelling rain on the wind made a difference. Today, the greatest number of us don’t even notice if it is actually raining much less know the phase of the moon or the direction of the wind (or almost anything else about the biophysical world that sustains us).
So, humans evolved the biological designs that support the consciousness system of order, an adaptation that gives them power over time and a good deal more. The consciousness system of order could become self-referencing and thus disconnected from the reality of the biophysical space. The self-referencing has reached such a place today that billions of people are largely unaware of the primary living and physical reality within which they live; they believe and act without connection to the primary realities of the world. And that is madness.
Much, if not most, of our present “normal” life, our politics, economy, social relations, etc., must be considered under Madness. This is useful for two primary reasons, it focuses us on the self-referencing involved and also points us toward the consequences in reality. Neither of these are obvious when we accept the self-referencing as reality in the first place.