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Creativity and Irrational Forces: Eccentric Artists and Mad Scientists

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Creativity and Irrational Forces: Eccentric Artists and Mad Scientists

Laura Gosselink

"Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence--whether much that is glorious--whether all that is profound--does not spring from disease of thought--from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night"
- Edgar Allen Poe

"Imagination is more important than knowledge"
- Albert Einstein

Is creative genius somehow woven together with "madness"? According to the dictionary, "to create" is "to bring into being or form out of nothing." Such a powerful, mysterious, and seemingly impossible act must surely be beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. No wonder creativity has for so long been "explained" as the expression of an irrational, intuitive psychic "underground" teaming with forces (perhaps divine) that are unknown and unknowable (at least to the "sane," rational mind). The ancient Greeks believed creative inspiration was achieved through altered states of mind such as "divine madness." Socrates said: "If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the inspired madman" (8). Creative inspiration - particularly artistic inspiration -- has often been thought to require the sampling of dark "depths" of irrationality while maintaining at least some connection to everyday reality. This dive into underground forces "reminds one of a skin-diver with a breathing tube" wrote Arthur Koestler in his influential book, The act of creation (9).According to Koestler, "the creative act always involves a regression to earlier, more primitive levels on the mental hierarchy, while other processes continue simultaneously on the rational surface." Using similar themes, the chemist, Kekule described a visionary moment leading to his groundbreaking discovery that the benzene molecule is a ring. His creative break with the prevailing assumption that all molecules were based on two-ended strings of atoms came in a blazing flash of insight:

"I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes.... [My mental eye] could distinguish larger structures, of manifold conformation; long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together; all twining and twisting in snakelike motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke." (2).

Like Kekule, people recognized for their creative genius often depict moments of inspiration as an electrifying convergence of rational and irrational thought. If creativity is to be found between the rational and the irrational; between the known and the unknown; between the conventional and the innovative, then the creative mind continually runs the risk of going "too far." As Koestler has put it, "skin-divers are prone to fall victim to "the rapture of the deep" and tear their breathing tubes off" (9). Artists Ernest Hemmingway, Virginia Woolf, Charles Parker, and John Berryman would appear to have succumbed to this rapture when they entered psychiatric hospitals and eventually committed suicide (9).Further reinforcing the association of creativity with illogical, disruptive psychic forces are great numbers of influential 18th and 19th century poets, including William Blake, Lord Byron and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who wrote about their emotional extremes of experience. For example, George Edward Woodberry wrote of poets: " Emotion is the condition of their existence; passion is the element of their being" (8).And the turbulent lives of high profile musicians and artists such as Charles Mingus, Georgia O'Keefe, Jackson Pollack, and Sylvia Plath also seem to testify to a link between creativity and psychic instability. But can a connection between mental disorder and enhanced creativity be identified by the methods of science? Is there really a connection, and if so how does it work?

Evidence linking the creative gift with risk of "madness"

"When a superior intellect and a psychopathic temperament coalesce," wrote psychologist William James as the twentieth century began, "we have the best possible condition for the kind of effective genius that gets into the biographical dictionaries. Such men do not remain mere critics and understanders with their intellect. Their ideas posses them, they inflict them, for better or worse, upon their companions of their age" (10).James and contemporary scientists such as psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin emphasized the positive aspects of certain psychological disorders, and speculated that other talents could combine with them to produce extraordinary creativity. But James also stressed the debilitating extremes of psychiatric illness (22).This moderate view, underscoring the need for balance in an effectively creative person, has since characterized much thinking on the subject of creativity and mental disturbance. As Sylvia Plath later said, "When you are insane, you are busy being insane - all the time... When I was crazy, that's all I was." (5). Against this background, research into the interaction between creativity and psychiatric disorders suggests that their may indeed be a vital connection between "genius" and "insanity" in some instances.

Several different approaches to investigation have been employed. (15)(19)(16).Biographical or posthumous research has for many years focused on life study investigations of past artists, scientists, and others recognized by society for their creative achievements. More recently, diagnostic and psychological studies have been conducted on living populations. Some researchers have tried to assess the mental health of people who have received social designations of creativity such as awards and prizes. The question can also be approached from the opposite direction by attempting to assess the creativity of people who have been diagnosed with mental disorders.

Two biographical studies conducted mid-century find a prevalence of mental disorders significantly higher among both artists and scientists than among the general population. These studies also identify a strong association between creativity, mental illness, and higher suicide rates within families(15). From 1927 to 1943 Dr Adele Juda, researcher at the Institute for Psychiatry of Munich, interviewed over 5,000 people, finding neurosis and personality disorder in 27% of the artists and 19% of the scientists and statesmen studied, against an expected general rate of 10-12%. (19).The highest rates of psychic disruption were seen among poets (50%) and lower rates wee found among architects (17%). (8).Juda also found that artists and scientists as well as their brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren were more likely than the general population to suffer from mental disorder or commit suicide. (15).More recently Dr. Jon Karlsson, at the Institute of Genetics in Iceland, studied mentally disturbed individuals who were identified by diagnoses recorded in hospitol registers. Karlsson found that such individuals as well as their close relatives were far more likely (two to six times more likely, depending on the diagnosis) than the population at large to achieve eminence across a wide range of intellectual and artistic endeavor, based on citations in Who's Who(15).

A concurring study has resulted from the efforts of Arnold M. Ludwig, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky Medical School, to learn what characterizes the kind of high-end creativity that makes it into the history books. Ludwig and his associates have spent about ten years studying the biographical records of 1,000 prominent 20th-century artists, scientists, and other professionals. "As I expected," Ludwig concludes, "creative artists were by far the most likely to suffer from mental disturbance." (15). Ludwig found the lifetime rate of mental disturbances in the social, business, and investigative professions ranged from 39% to 49%, but averaged 72% among the artistic professions -- considerably higher than the estimate of 32% for the population as a whole(15).

Evidence in the biographical record appears to be supported by findings from two studies of topflight living artists. The earlier of these studies, undertaken in 1974 by University of Iowa psychiatry resident Nancy C. Andreason, found an extraordinarily high rate off affective illness among writers participating in the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, and among their families. 13).Andreasen, a Ph.D in English literature, obtained interviews with 30 faculty members at the prestigious workshop and matched them with control subjects in nonartistic professions. She found that 80 percent of the participating writers revealed they had suffered either depression or manic-depression (an emotional disorder characterized by extreme, sometimes debilitating mood swings) compared with 30 percent of the control subjects. Two of the writers eventually took their own lives(13).

In support of Andreason's findings, a disproportionate number of living British artists and writers were found to experience mental disturbance in a 1989 study by Kay Redfield Jamison(8). Jamison, a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who has talked openly about her own manic depressive emotional instability, approached a group of 47 eminent Britons while on sabbatical at Oxford and asked them to complete exhaustive questionnaires about mood swings and creativity. Jamison's sample of cultural heavy hitters included members of the Royal Academy and contributors to the 'Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse. Jamison found 38% of these artists had been treated for affective illness including depression and bipolar disorder and 28% had gone beyond talk therapy to psychotropic medication or electroconvulsive therapy. (8).This level of psychic distress far surpasses that in the general population, where rates of bipolar illness are about 1% and major depression are 5-15%(13).

There does seem to be a clear trend observable across several studies: creative individuals, particularly artistically creative individuals, are unusually likely to be emotionally unstable. One modern study looks at this apparent link from the opposite direction, asking "are the mentally ill unusually creative? (14)(8). The study, conducted in Denmark by Psychiatrist Ruth L. Richards and psychologist Dennis R. Kinney of Harvard Medical School's McLean Hospital, found that creativity was significantly higher among the study subjects - 17 manic-depressives, 16 cyclothymics (who suffer from milder mood fluctuations) and 11 of their relatives with no psychiatric history- than among the comparison group. Rather than assessing creativity on the basis of social recognition, Richards and Kinney used the previously validated "Lifetime Creativity Scale" to assess the quantity and quality of work and avocational activities(8). Manic depressives were found to be less creative than their relatives or cyclothymics. Thus, the researchers' concluded that "creativity can be enhanced, on the average, in subjects showing milder and perhaps 'subclinical' expressions of potential bipolar liability." (6).

Looking at these results, there does appear to be a point of intersection between creativity and madness. But the data required to illuminate this connection seems very hard to obtain. How reliable are the studies?

The biographical research seems likely to be biased due to the overexposure of public figures. Individuals in the public eye face different challenges with respect to keeping their skeletons in the closet than most people do. Thus, the stigmatizing illness of a recognized creative "genius" might be more likely to be somewhere on record. Studying living artists is no easier. Selecting individuals for study on the basis of mainstream recognition or awards received may not produce a representative sampling of creative people as a whole. In fact, the studies of Andreason Jamison and Richards can all be criticized for the small size of their sample groups.

There is also a sort of "chicken-or-egg" problem as to whether creative people bring psychic instability with them to achievement or whether achievement itself creates mental turmoil. Society may tolerate displays of unconventional behavior such as eccentricity, uneasiness, excess and experimentation in people of recognized achievement. This could be the source of the behavior rather than underlying mental disorder.

Further complications arise from the need to define and measure creativity and mental illness. There is hardly consensus as to the nature of creativity and the appropriate way to assess it. And under or over-diagnosis of mental disturbance can also confuse the picture. Giving dead artists and scientists retroactive diagnoses is surely very tricky. The reliability of letters or memoirs must be limited because they are written from a single, biased viewpoint. Also, historical context and existing social customs will have influenced which behaviors are focused on for comment and in what light. For example, the long tradition of "inspiration as divine" will have colored the perceptions of biographers, friends, family, and researchers who might expect some "madness" in their creative companions. Of course, the biases of individual researchers will be brought to the diagnosis of living populations as well. Psychiatrist Frank Johnson of the University of California at San Francisco warns that the modern version of divine inspiration in the medical literature "makes madness the condition for writing poetry or doing philosophy." (13). Thus, Arnold Ludwig believes biographers, because they spend years getting to know their subjects, have a better perspective than clinicians asking standardized questions. "A questionnaire has built-in theoretical or diagnostic assumptions," Ludwig notes, "and after all, what you get in a clinical interview is autobiography, and that's the most inaccurate record of all." (13).

Nevertheless, there does seem to be concurrence across several studies that mental disturbance and creativity overlap in some way. It appears that a large number of accomplished creative individuals, especially artists - far more than could be expected by chance - have experienced emotional disturbances. These disturbances appear to be categorized most often today as bipolar disorder or major depression. This is enough to suggest some correlation may indeed exist. "Of course our studies have methodological problems," Kay Jamison says, "But they all point to the same association. So you have to ask yourself: Is there a trend? Is the trend in the same direction? And if the answer is yes, then you at least have to entertain the possibility that the studies are right." (13). This in no way supports simplistic notions of the "mad genius." It seems clear from the research that that most emotionally unstable people are not extraordinarily creative, and most extraordinarily creative people are not emotionally unstable. But partial correlation does not mean there is no correlation. The next question is, how might states such as mania or depression contribute to creative accomplishment?

How can emotional turmoil enhance creativity?

... his raptures were,
All air, and fire, which made his verses clear,
For that fine madness still he did retain,
Which rightly should posses a poet's brain
-- Michael Drayton

Many researchers have compared the characteristics of milder forms of mania (hypomania) to creative thought. Acutely tuned senses, restlessness, intensity of focus, reduced inhibition, grandiosity, thought diversity, and the ability to associate divergent ideas and thoughts rapidly are all hallmarks of both the creative and mildly manic (or "hypomanic") individual. Harvard neurologist G. Robert DeLong, associates hypomania with "unusual intensity of focus." Long found that children with early signs of manic-depression have unusually rich imaginations and can become absorbed in fantasies or in creative tasks for hours on end. These children produce impressive feats of memory and highly detailed drawings (14). In a different vein, Psychologist Ralph Tarter of the University of Pittsburgh says a "fundamental breakdown in inhibitory mechanisms" characterizes many psychologically disturbed states, including mania, and can also be stimulated by alcohol or drugs. The resulting freedom from inhibition "leads to farfetched connections, and -- as is true in many artists -- easier access to unconscious material. Manic thinking flows freely, and includes many loose and novel associations" (14). Kay Jamison describes two features central to both creative and hypomanic thought. First, thought is fluid, rapid, and flexible. In addition, there is heightened ability to merge ideas and thoughts that have no conventional connection. (8).

Fluid, quick, and divergent thinking is seen by psychologists such as J.P. Guilford to be important in producing new, original, and "creative" ideas. (15). In divergent thinking, Guilford says, "there is much searching about or going off in different directions." Such thinking is not goal bound, but is free to strike out in new directions, rejecting old conclusions. Rapidity of thought itself spurs creativity. "Because of the more rapid flow of ideas," Psychologist Eugene Bleuler explains, "and especially because of the falling off of inhibitions, artistic activities are facilitated even though something worth while is produced only in very mild cases and when the patient is otherwise talented in this direction. The heightened senses naturally have the effect of furthering this." (21). Observing an incredible outpouring of uncensored mental activity by his manic friend Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott said: "The wheels of a machine to play rapidly must not fit with the utmost exactness else the attrition diminish the Impetus." (8). But the sheer volume or density of ideas spewing from a manic person's mind increases the likelihood that at least some of those ideas will be creative ones.

Research demonstrates that manic people also have increased ability to form new and different associations between words. In word association tests, the number of "statistically common" responses to tested words fell by one-third and the number of "original" responses increased three-fold amongst manic people(20). According to Jamison, this qualitative change in mental processing "may well facilitate the formation of unique ideas and associations." Nancy Andreason found that both manic people and a sample of established writers show a conceptual style of "overinclusiveness" that tends to "blur, broaden, or shift conceptual boundaries." (8).

Dr Oliver Sacks, professor of Neurology at the Albert Einstien Memeorial Centre, New York, has commented on the extravagant powers of association and fancy of hypomanic people. In an inaugural speech at the opening of the Centre for the Mind in Canberra, Sacks described similar flights of fancy in people with Tourettes Syndrome (a neurological condition of sudden violent, unexpected movements, thoughts, images and verbalizations). "Asociation is often very rapid, very unexpected, very facile; streams of visual puns and resemblances may pour out of the person, and verbal puns and resemblances. Sometimes can be like a sort of public dream. There can be an extraordinary fantasmagoric quality of rich fancy." (3). For Sacks this richness of fantasy must be exploited "to go deep and create in a way which involves something much, much deeper, and more personal" if true creativity is to occur. Otherwise the one remains "trapped on the surface of fancy."

Genuine, concept-driven creativity comes from "the depths of the mind and the depths of the personality and the depths of the unconscious; and not just on the surface," Sacks believes. (3). He compares "surface" facility or ingenuity to the abilities of autistic prodigies who are able to rapidly render elaborate, detailed drawings and paintings of architectural scenes glimpsed for only a few seconds. These prodigies and their drawings don't develop. Sacks describes such a 5 year old prodigy:"I had the feeling that the whole visible world flowed through Stephen like a river, without making sense, without being appropriated, without becoming part of him in the least; that though he might retain everything he saw in a sense, it was retained as something external, unintegrated, never built on, never connected or revised, never influencing or influenced by anything else." (3). To truly create, as to truly percieve, requires synthesis, says Sacks. Perception involves 30 or 40 different brain systems working seamlessly to show us the visual world. From this synthesis, sense or meaning emerges. In the same way, Sacks describes creation as a sort of global synthesis of many fragments including perception, imagination, feeling and memory. Thus, there is always a person at the centre. Creation is deeply personal. We may engage consciously with an idea or problem, bringing all of our expertices to bear, and then when we are unable to wrest a solution from it, we let go of it, frustrated. But all of our conscious efforts, all of our collected knowledge and experience, continue to "incubate" at some sublevel of consciousness with our emotions and dreams and the multitudinous parts of our being. In what Sacks calls this "creative unconscious" or "creative reverie," "there must be innumerable fragments, ideas, impressions, feelings which are playing together, dancing, colliding, meeting, seperating," always with some organizing principle coagulating the ideas to form a whole. (3).Then, perhaps when we least expect it, we have an "aha" or "eureka" moment.

The creation is born as a living whole. If it comes from the deepest parts it is alive, with essential integrity. Oliver Sacks believes this is what composer Ernst Toch meant when he said, "a composition must grow organically, like a tree. There must be no seams, no gaps, no foreign matter. The sap of the tree must pass through the whole body of it, reach every branch and twig and leaf of it; it must grow, grow, grow, instead of being patched, patched, patched".

If creation does come from "the depths of the mind and the depths of the personality and the depths of the unconscious," it may be that the introspective, ruminative state of depression can enhance this journey. "One goes down into the well and nothing protects one from the assault of the truth," Virginia Woolf has said (8). Research has shown that people in mildly depressed states are more "realistic" than people in "normal" states of mind(12). Observations and beliefs produced during mild depression are closer to "reality" than those produced in "normal" states of mind. That this naked confrontation with reality should be accompanied with such a large dose of pain supports T.S. Eliots' observation that "human kind cannot bear much reality." (8). The exquisitely sensitive temperament, such as that of the cyclothymic, responds to the ordinary and the universal pain in life's experience to produce what Jamison calls a "heightened sense of vulnerability and awareness" as well as pain." (8). Robert Lowell described "seeing too much and feeling it/with one skin-layer missing." (24) What Andreason calls the "extremely fine tuned" nervous system of artists as well as manic depressives (14) may be extraordinarily responsive to what is happening in both the external and the internal, personal realm. Thus the creative person who suffers from manic-depression also has what Jamison calls "a built-in editing process" for the excesses that are sometime expressed during manic episodes. Mild depression can actually put into perspective what had seemed, in a manic-state, to be brilliant. In this state, one is better suited to sort out the brilliant or creative from the hodge-podge of ideas spewed from the manic mind.

It is widely accepted that insight gained through intense, extreme, even painful experiences can add depth and meaning to creative work. Poet Anne Sexton explained how she used pain in her work: "I, myself, alternate between hiding behind my own hands, protecting myself anyway possible, and this other, this seeing ouching other. I guess I mean that creative people must not avoid the pain that they get dealt.... Hurt must be examined like a plague." (8). An honest encounter with pain can result in healing and growth. The healing properties of art are widely acknowledged across many cultures. Creative people can use their personal pain to help others find wholeness.

Arnold M. Ludwig notes that extraordinary achievements do not arise from emotional contentment. Psychic tension, unease, and pain can be a stimulus to growth, change, and innovation. Ludwig suggests that mental disturbances may indirectly facilitate creation by "maintaining a state of unease that serves as a source of creative tension ... Creators with emotional conflicts try to resolve them through creative expression" (5). But Ludwig stresses that emotionally stable creators can generate their own sense of unease in the creative process, seeking out problems to solve. "At these times," says Ludwig, "they can often work effectively without tiring for long periods and experience creative "highs" that resemble hypomania."(5).

The relative vagueness Ludwig's notion of "creative unease" seems to characterize current attempts to explain how emotional disturbance can enhance the process of creation. Much of the thinking on the subject is simply appealing and seems intuitively correct. Given that there does seem to be a point of intersection between creativity and psychic turmoil, the mechanism remains to be pinned down. However, it does seem that characteristics of mania, depression, and perhaps other disorders such as Tourettes, can, and perhaps do, aid the development and expression of creative thought and action. It seems at least as clear that psychic instability is not a necessary condition for creation. "There are 10,000 ways to get to originality," reminds Kay Jamison, "Some people just have incredible imaginations. That doesn't mean they have a mental disorder"(20). Incredible or not, imagination plays in all of us. "Now, obviously the Cricks and the PoincarŽs and the Mozarts are very few and far between," says Oliver Sacks, "This sort of huge creativity, paradigm breaking or whatever you want to call it is very rare. But I think a genuine creativity and imaginativeness is present in all of us. I think it's an inherent quality of the human mind ... and one which is irrespective of intelligence."(3)

What does all of this mean for treatment?

"I want to keep those sufferings," said expressionist artist Edvard Munch. When told he could end his cycle of psychiatric hospitalizations with available treatment, he replied that emotional torments "are part of me and my art. They are indistinguishable from me, and it would destroy my art." (11). As Jamison points out, many creative people are reluctant to be transformed by psychiatric treatment into "normal, well-adjusted, dampened, and bloodless souls" no longer moved to create. And their fears may not be unfounded. Current psychotropic drug therapies can offer some relief from the painful, destructive features of mania and depression. But according to Jamison, there is a price to pay -- these drugs can "dampen a person's general intellect and limit his or her emotional and perceptual range." (8). As a result, many people with mood disorders stop taking these medications. The tragic consequences include emotional extremes that intensify over time and can lead to psychosis or death. These consequences should not be romanticized.

Clearly our existence as a human community would be diminished without the "genius" responsible for scientific breakthrough and for what we respond to as great musical, literary, and visual works of art. If this genius sometimes grows up in suffering, it seems that the pain of a few is of benefit to all of us. If we appreciate the gifts these creative people have given us, they deserve our understanding and careful consideration. Any treatment of such disorders should seek to find a balance that preserves crucial human emotions and experiences while alleviating destructive extremes.


WWW Sources

1) Famous People with Bipolar Disorders, List drawn from Kay Jamison's Touched With Fire; Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

2) Precis of "THE CREATIVE MIND: MYTHS AND MECHANISMS", Explores what creativity is -by Margaret A. Boden, School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences, University of Sussex, England

3) Dr Oliver Sacks Inaugural lecture at the Centre for Mind , Dr Oliver Sacks, Professor of Neurology, Albert Einstein Memorial Centre, New York. Lecture deals with the nature of creativity with lots of interesting examples from Dr Sacks own research.

4) Manic-Depressive Illness and Creativity: Does some fine madness plague great artists? , Scientific American article Several studies now show that creativity and mood disorders are linked. By Kay Redfield Jamison professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She wrote "Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament" and co-authored the medical text "Manic-Depressive Illness." Jamison is a member of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research and clinical director of the Dana Consortium on the Genetic Basis of Manic-Depressive Illness.

5) Mental Disturbance and Creative Achievement - Arnold M. Ludwig , -- biographical study of prominent 20th century people finds high achievers in social, business, and science professions have higher rates of mental disturbance than the population as a whole. The Harvard Mental Health Letter, March 1996

6) "That Fine Madness" Discover Magazine, , by Jo Ann C. Gutin October 1996 v17 n10 p74 (9) Current trend of ascribing creative benefits to manic depression, or bipolar disease, has extended to diagnosing artists posthumously, and has angered sufferers of the cruel disorder.

7) The Systems View of Life , (includes discussion of how creativity is built into all living systems) By Fritjof Capra, theoretical high-energy physicist and author. Capra received his Ph.D. on the gravitational collapse of neutron stars from the University of Vienna in 1966 where he studied with Werner Heisenberg. He does research at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and lectures at the University of California, Berkeley

8) To order the book: Touched with Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic tempermen- by Kay Redfield Jamison

9) To order the book: The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler , To order the book: The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler (New York: Dell. 1971). Koestler examines the idea that we are at our most creative when rational thought is suspended--for example, in dreams and trancelike states. Koestler looks at the parallel creative processes involved in the sciences, humor and the arts, concluding that they are inextricably linked. Arthur Koestler was a twentieth century novelist, political activist, and a social philosopher. Much of his work was out of step with mainstream views of his contemporaries. Today his original ideas are appreciated by some as brilliant, as his work on creativity.

10) William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A study in Human Nature , (1902; reprint, Middlesex England: Penguin, 1982)

11) Edvard Munch, Expressionist artist

12) Sackheim, Self-deception, self-esteem, and depression: The adaptive value of lying to oneself , in Empirical Studies of Psychoanalytic Theories, ed. J. Masling (Hillsdale, N.J.: Analytic Press, 1983), vol. 1.

13) "That Fine Madness" - by Jo Ann C. Gutin Discover Magazine , October 1996 v17 n10 p74 (9) Current trend of ascribing creative benefits to manic depression, or bipolar disease, has extended to diagnosing artists posthumously, and has angered sufferers of the cruel disorder.


15) Divergent thinking - J.P. Guilford , Guilford 's divergent production operation identifies a number of different types of creative abilities.

16) The Gift of Saturn: Creativity and Psychopathology -- Antonio Preti , Antonio Preti, MD; Paola Miotto, MD CMG, Psychiatry branch via Costantinopoli 42, 09129 Cagliari, Italy

17) Circadian Rhythms Factor in Rapid- Cycling Bipolar Disorder by Ellen Leibenluft , M.D. Psychiatric Times May 1996 Vol. XIII Issue 5

18) Creativity and unpredictability -- Margaret Boden

19) Famous Quotes - Einstein



Comments made prior to 2007

I am married to an artist  - eccentric, extreme, brilliant....I often ponder on the self destructive patterns of artist, Jackson Pollock, Jean Michelle etc socially outcast and often their talents aren't even recognised by the 'world'. BUT it has been my thought that if they are able to achieve the delicate balance between normality and extreme creativity, their prolonged success is surely possible. It has been my idea that a stable family life might prove to be the balance as many of these creative genius' have NOT had that ... Natasha Summerfield, 4 June 2006 


Antago's picture

I'd like to add to what that

I'd like to add to what that total weirdo just decided to splurge across the pages of the Internet with its latent, lazy, putrid speech.

First of all, creativity is most certainly a gift from God—but the way you delusionally attribute each and every single ounce of reality to your perverse belief system is beyond offensive. No, our first parents were not "Adam" and "Eve"—no matter how freaking clever and profound you think you are being. You are just spitting out a bunch of trash ideas you've heard over the course of an unexpedite and less than analytical existence. You have no credence to questioning your reality, then pass off an enormous amount of hatred as some sort of "compassionate" instruction for deliverance which you yourself have never seen.

Homosexuality has nothing to do with being an impure, creative beacon of the Holy Spirit. You have no business grouping it with abortion, euthanasia (which, by the way, is actually a moral decision in my opinion), porn, and promiscuity. They are all entirely different aspects of life.

You don't know God's glory—nor even creativity—and if you did you wouldn't have allowed yourself to embarrass your spirit with such god awful perspectives (which, by the way, you have none.)

EAC's picture


Creativity comes from The Holy Spirit. It is a talent from God. We have learned that spiritual warfare comes (the struggle--tug of war between trying to strive for goodness/holiness and Satan's grip--or demonic depression) when an individual is gifted and others around him or her have extreme jealousy (one of the 7 deadly sins) for that giftedness. The person can actually feel another's jealousy and hatred. Saving power of confession with God in the confessional has taught me this.

A prayer life is most essential especially for the entire family tree. Just as a dr. asks for a histogram so too does a theologian because it is in the bloodline.

I think the "The stable family" you refer to is trying to model The Holy Family--Jesus, Mary who gave her "yes" to God and Joseph, The Foster Father of Jesus. Purification of the soul is deemed as "madness". Many canonized Roman Catholic Saints were considered crazy because of desiring/striving to do and doing God's will --Jesus himself was considered deranged. He did the will of The Eternal Father who loves us all--though corrects us out of love. Every parent needs to discipline so too does God.

Ever watch "Clean House" Niecy Nash has the gift of cousel--Exorcisms really are needed in our society today with the "mayham" "foolishness" and "sins and dysfunction" in our famililes, schools, communities, workplaces, gov't. and world. Self-control is a fruit of The Holy Spirit which also needs to be asked and pleaded for at God's Throne lest they get into all kinds of mortal sins--sleeping around, porn, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality...that is why conversions of heart and repentance is so important for balance of mind, body and soul. The Good Shepherd awaits His good sheep.

P.S. Sometimes success does not come because God in His goodness desires all souls to be humbled--our failure is often God's way of teaching us that we are nothing without Him--it is His success because we need to display God's glory!

We don't want to be jealous of others but it is sin in our blood from our first parents Adam and Eve

Christ was love on Christmas Day and still is! So, you want to know Him, plead His Precious Blood over you and yours and see His healing love!

Merry Christmas and Blessings for a Holy New Year of Peace and Joy in God that only He can give!