Madness Hath Imagery Bliss
… The Fine Line of Thought we Tread.
A man is driving past a mental hospital when one of the wheels falls off his car. He stops and recovers the wheel but can’t find the lug nuts to secure it back in place. Just then he notices a man sitting on the curb carefully removing small pebbles from the grass and piling them neatly on the sidewalk.
“What am I going to do?” the man asks aloud. The fellow piling the pebbles looks up, and says in a very offhanded but direct way, “Take one of the lug nuts from each of the other wheels and use them to put the wheel back on.”
The driver is amazed. “Wow!” he exclaims. “What a brilliant idea. What are you doing in a place like this?” he asks, nodding toward the mental institution.
“Well,” the man answers, “I’m crazy, not stupid.”
Ignoring what seems irrelevant to ones immediate needs may be good for ones mental health but what about for ones creativity? We are often told in life to focus, not get distracted, pay attention (and the like). Children, time and time again in school are labeled “different”, “learning challenged” or the buzzword of the social youth setting (next to the new epidemic.. no not obesity… autism), an ADD sufferer. ADD is, in some ways the accepted (and what we call treatable) form of madness that is now a social norm. Madness comes in many forms, indeed our very idea and understanding of such a thought is a varied and changeable as the amount of thoughts we could have as a species. Any and all actions, thoughts, ideas and words could be deemed as “madness” depending on ones own ideas of things. But as a species we also distinguish the real cases of madness for the ordinary “that is not my thinking” ones at a drop of the hat.
But are these things always the case? Are we as a species often hurting, ourselves (and subsequently our species as a whole) with our stifling of what we may see as “different” creative outlets? And are we too quick to label someone “mad” because we simply don’t understand their behaviour?
Focusing on every sight, sound, and thought that enters ones mind can drive a person crazy for sure. One need not look far to see the consequences of not focusing. It interferes with an animal’s hunt for something to eat, or a busy person’s efforts to sleep. I can cause one to have accidents, or make bad decisions in one’s life (in all areas of being), and so in many ways it seems that “latent inhibition” (as psychologists have termed the practice of “blocking or filter out all of that noise”), is and can be a good thing.
So while in many ways we may see it as a good thing for us to do (this “latent inhibition” of things) in order to really get anything of substance done, to focus and function in a way that does not leave us constantly wracked with feelings of anxiety, guilt, pressure, and the like„ studies have also shown that students who score low in this seemingly vital trait are much more likely to be creative achievers than those who excel in putting things out of their minds.
Scientists have wondered for a long time why madness and creativity seem to be linked, (particularly in the areas of artists, musicians, and writers). Down through the ages these realms, more so than perhaps any other have been littered with the “acceptable” or even “expected” madness of those whom may follow these paths in life, but even in these areas (and in our human perception of such things) the line between mental illness and creative genius (or as psychologist would deem it…low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought) are foggy at the best of times. Indeed it seems, we as a species often have a hard time disconcerting the two.
That mysterious connection between psychosis and creativity is what often keeps persons at a distance from another, silently being judged for their “eccentricities”, not really being seen or understood in any way other than to be seen as … strange. WE as a species often turn the other way when, if walking down the street we encounter someone we may find “different”. It triggers something within us… call it fear, call it uncomfortability. Generally I would tend to see it as a combination of many things (including the perhaps subconscious thought of thankfulness it is not oneself)…
But is it really bad to have a bit of “madness” in oneself, or would a little crazy go a long way for us all. For it seems (according again to studies) that highly creative people show the same latent inhibition patterns found in other studies of schizophrenics…. And we all know how society feels about and perceives a schizophrenic.
“Madness” and creativity must involve many different genes, and it seems logical that the two notions of what we see as behaviour in persons could (and probably in all likelihood, do) share some of these genes. As of yet, in the limited understanding we have as a species into the workings and functions of our own minds, these connections are still largely unknown.
Perhaps in the future, when we understand ourselves more, we will see this madness thing in a different light.
Or perhaps we are just seeing this madness thing in a very limited and close minded way.
“Creative”, “Mad”, and “Stupid” are some of the biggest action of our species. How do you take these things away from us and leave us with an identity?