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?
Sometimes don’t we all have our heads stuck up there (metaphorically of course), in some way? there is a comfort in burying your head in the sand. No stress, no tension, no having to think (too much)… the attraction to sticking ones head in the (….) is so appealing.
So what is wrong with that? Nothing. But don’t be surprised when someday someone comes knocking and challenges your (everything)…. you want your head up there? Okay, no problem, I respect that, but don’t be surprised when the challenge comes….
So many labels, I can’t see the contents:
Colours in Culture… Is this an ongoing study and is this a flow chart that can determine the EVER changing “colours” of all things (at every given moment of the day)?
-should come with a warning label… contents are not known to fluctuate so may not necessarily reflect… anything. Still I love colours… don’t you?
Good intention photos that make me think…. Well wait a minute
We often see pictures like this, or people say to you… money cannot buy you happiness. And while in a very real (I mean existential) way, it cannot…
But we are speaking in terms of the everyday human being and how we ALL think (at some time or another). We are not thinking of the existential thoughts that one may have, such as this (and not even know it.).
So when looking at this list… I mean REALLY looking (agreeing or not), yes, actually, money can buy many of these things.
Desire is the thing that makes us want more and more and more. Desire (to me at least) is a driving force behind money, and to see that word on this list really makes me scratch my head.
If you have money you don’t have to work so much, you don’t have to do all the things that humans created so you would have more time to spend with a loved one. You could even have enough money so you both don’t have to work and you could spend lots of time together.
As we have seen from some governments, paying persons to “be allies” not your enemy is common practice, and in fact when we (again in the world WE have created) give favors to countries (as allies) we are in fact buying the end to war, or attempting to prevent them in the first place.
Speaking in terms of our system of existence, actually, money give people A LOT of peace of mind. Even if you are one whom does not think that money matters, you do feel good knowing that you have a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator (at the very least) and then all those extra little things that you do in your life… be it a drink with a friend, the latest gadget, a holiday.. whatever. They are begotten by money… What if one were to get sick? A death in the family? It is peace of mind to know you have the monetary funds to deal with those situations.. is it not?
Personally, I would not want friends whom see me as one because of my money, but actually, money can buy you LOTS of friends. Perhaps not the type many people would want (or maybe one would… you know.. the party friends, the friends to just have a good time with, to not really get too deep with etc). There are those types of friendships in the world. Heck, someone may even want to have a “sex” friend (for whatever the reason), and money could certainly buy that. Ones idea and definition of a “friend” seems quite limited in this little picture.
Think about your own life. Have you (or anyone you know) ever been given something because they succeeded at something else. Good grades, graduation, marriage, (the list goes on and on). These materialistic things derive from money, and they also act as an encouragement in many ways. I will buy you a car when you are sixteen if you get good grades. You get your allowance at the end of the week if you do your chores, you will get a bonus if you sell more. I (the government) will give you tax breaks, or grants if you can “create jobs”, … encouragement (through money) is everywhere.
It also fosters creativity. Through the ages money has been the driving force of such things. People say “I am not in it for the money”, yes, but even in (especially in) days of old, queens, kings, and “people of position” would commission persons to create art, plays, and the like. Even to this day cities, governments and such things commission works of art (architecture and so on). Works from people such as Shakespeare, Beethoven, (and the like) may of perhaps never seen the creative light of day and reached the masses were it not for someones money. Galleries in countries around the world showcase works of art and such things for the public to see… these were all created by money. First time design shows devised to showcase our up and coming talents. All created with money. Yes, artists do what they love, but creativity (not just in art but in commerce, in scientific advances, in research for cures of diseases, in advancements in the understanding of our own existence.. in many things) comes about with the aid of money. Plato,Confucius, Galileo, the list goes on and on….
Can’t sleep… take a pill. You can buy one from any pharmacy, or ask a doctor, they will prescribe one for you. Heck you can even clear your mind with a pill. The amount of cures and advancement made in science (with the aid of money) is staggering, and quite frankly pretty well the only way most of these would have ever been achieved.
Ever made a nice dinner for someone? Surprised someone with something nice (for no reason)? Celebrated Valentines Day with something? Fixed something for someone without them asking? All the little things one does in life for this .. love. How is it possible that you can do them? Over time (more and more) love is shown through… purchases (using money), and even the ones that you don’t think cost money… they really sometimes do. That food did not just magically appear, the airline you flew on to get to that beach to witness that sunset together and bask in your love… they were not free. Love is bought and sold all the time.
Now I know if one is reading this, one will think… yes, but you are just taking about material(istic) things… and that is not the point of this picture. And to that I say… I concur. That is probably not the intended point of this photo
But again I must return to the thought that we (as a species) do not live in this existential existence that these type of pictures are speaking about, and so longingly want us to be in. And as much as I, you or anyone may desire that, we also have to face the reality, and the truth, that like it or not, agree with it or not, participate in it or not (and I dare anyone to tell me they have not), money can buy a whole hell of a lot of things on this list … and beyond.
Money cannot buy you a way out of death (but again, that is debatable, and in the future perhaps even a non-truth), so .. what now…
Perhaps the real poster one should be spreading across the world (when one thinks of this idea of … money can’t buy happiness) is the exact opposite of what it all says here now. perhaps the real question to be asked is:
What is it money CANNOT buy, and is THAT such a good thing for us all as a species?
Food for Thought
While many nations ( lead by the Unites States and Canada) throw away food in excess, often never giving it a second thought (I am full, I could not eat another bite, oh, I think I bought too much,it has gone spoiled), other parts of the world scrounge for whatever they can find and would be more than eager to feast on what many nations call “garbage”
Isn’t It Ironic, Part Seven:
Food for thought. Part One:
In many (mostly western or developed nations) many people are thirty percent (or more) overweight because they are eating TOO many calories per day, and make thirty percent (or more) more than developing nations.
Fear (not), For (perhaps) it is Not (necessarily) Fear you Fear….
Humans are driven by many things in their life. We are a species that is constantly … wanting, constantly searching and constantly asking for…. A better life, an understanding of our purpose, love, connection. The amount of things that drive us are endless. As we strive for these things, we find ourselves locked into a world of emotions. Our ability to reason leads us down these emotional avenues, and try as we might, it is hard for us to not (sometimes) get lost in them. Their pull is intoxicating, powerful and all encompassing. But of these emotions, none is as strong or has as much purpose or far reaching effects as fear. Fear can probably be pinpointed as the starting point of worry and anxiety and fear can probably be seen as the “gateway” emotion to so many other things..
The most common way fear worms its way into your mind is by playing the “What if…?” game. You might have a thought, then think, ‘What if…?’ These what if statements end up turning into huge, drawn-out thought processes that leave you feeling helpless and out of control. Fear often impedes our happiness in ways that we cannot even control. It takes the good and warps it into the “bad”, it spirals out of control….
So why do we do it? Why do we fear (even when we know that it will often end up hurting us (and perhaps those around us) in the end?
Maybe we just cannot help ourselves. Humans are wired for adrenaline. We are junkies for it in some ways. As our world opens up and things become more am more “the norm”, we search for different ways to challenge ourselves… to prove we are alive. We test ourselves everyday in all things that we do. Sort of the idea of “living on the edge” as it were. In sports, games of chance, even money matters (ie the stock market), fear plays a part in the actions we take and fear is in some ways a driving force for much of the pain in the world. We wage wars out of fear (right or wrong), create laws to try and control (and abolish) it. We look for like minded persons, in all areas of our thinking… often to placate this fear we have of the things that we find different… or the fear of the thoughts that we have and that no one else will feel the same way as we do. Our fear leads us to the need to belong. To be heard. To be understood, and even wanted. Our fear leads us to need love.
Fear can be a natural reaction to feeling unsure and vulnerable. In children, much of what they experience is new and unfamiliar. Young kids often have fears of the dark, being alone, strangers, monsters, or other scary imaginary creatures. School-aged children might be afraid when it’s stormy or at a first sleepover. Entering higher grades is a fear, not being liked, not fitting in. Not having the right “things” (in terms of materialistic ideas). As they grow and learn, with the support of adults, most kids are able to slowly conquer these fears and outgrow them. In some ways though, we never outgrow our fears.
As we get older our fears of younger times are replaced with the adult ones; the fear of not succeeding, not making money, not understanding those that we meet, or not being understood by them. These fears are not much different than those of a child, but unlike children, as adults we are expected to “act like an adult”, and as such, we often do not speak of these fears out loud, for fear of being thought of as not mature, or unsure, or… childish… and so we live with these fears inside.. And they eat away at us and cause many of the actions in our adult lives (both negative and positive).
Human emotion gives us fears of things like death, attachment (or the lack there of), rejection, entrapment… the list of emotion (based on fear) is long and diverse.
On the flip side of all that, maybe fear is our protector and our safeguard in many ways. It can help to control us, helps us to see things more rationally, take our time, think things out, even (perhaps) withdraw from situations that could end up being a disaster.
And so fear plays both a positive and negative role in our lives.
Sometimes the things we do when we are afraid don’t make much sense. Just ask the parents of kids whom are trying to find their own identity and the parents whom just cannot let go. Ask the person whom is new in a relationship, and is rocked by the “what if’s” of it all and is locked in the (sometimes) irrational thought that can come with that. Ask the person whom is dying of a terminal disease and is trying to understand the purpose of it all. Ask the person whom is just struggling to find a way in the world and always is wondering… why. Or just ask the other millions of people whom exhibit the day to day reasons we all feel (even for a fleeting moment) fear rear its head in our lives… Think of a time that fear has lead you to say, do, or act in a way that, perhaps in hindsight (or even at that moment), you knew was not the best choice… but you could not help yourself all the same.
People, it seems, are generally more fearful of human-made risks, and less so of natural ones. Nature can indeed be a misunderstood (and therefore fearful) place, but new versions of plants, animals and microorganisms that evolve via Darwinian evolution don’t upset us half as much as the creations that take place through genetic engineering. Perhaps we feel we are the masters of our planet. That being the top of the food chain makes us better. Often our religions tell us this to be true. We see ourselves as more evolved than those things in our environment, more understanding and overall … smarter. Natural disasters remind us of how little we have control over anything in this life. New diseases pop up that (perpetuated by often over the top fear-based reporting and understanding) create fear in our lives, but generally it seems that when it comes to achievements in science, our fear of that is much more intense. “Humans playing God” is a phrase that is thrown around a lot. Shades of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (or at least the movies loosely based on her book) with the townsfolk picking up their torches and pitchforks and try to kill the man-made creature come to mind. What is it about artificial life that makes it seems so threatening? Worries about genetically modified food, or vaccines, or nanotechnology, or many of the other modern technologies that can help us live longer and healthier lives. Our fears limit their potential to do so.
Scientists have been studying the psychology of risk perception/fear far longer than we’ve been tinkering with DNA. Research (I have read), has found that the process of perceiving and responding to potential danger is not simply fact-based – the pure product of Cartesian rationality. It is a process, a blend of fact and feeling, cognition and intuition, cortical reason and gut reaction. This process has led me to believe that in many ways fear (it seems) has a lot to do with control, the lack of it, the want for it, the desire to not have it over ones life (and so on) In the case of the idea of science it is ironic in many ways. Science in fact helps us to understand ourselves more.. and have more control over ourselves, but science is something that many people fear. Which leads to the second big thought I have for our fear… not understanding (or misunderstanding).
Fear of the unknown is a powerful thing. It is (some would say) the reason we have religion, the reason we following ideas of psychology, the reason for many actions in our life. Science shows us the rational, but that plays on our fear of the unknown big question… the question of… Why are we here/what is this all for/about? Having religion in ones life helps reduce the fear of the unknown, so perhaps the fear of science is actually the fear of knowing… and therefore not knowing about the really BIG question.
Fear makes us lash out in ways that shows the side of us all we do not often want to admit is there. The side that inflicts hurt and pain. The side that shuts others down, does not allow others the right to express their thoughts, ideas, or even to be free (in the human idea of such a word).
What we need to recognise is that reacting to our fears in this way, as natural as it is, it leads sometimes to a “perception gap”. We are either too afraid or not afraid enough, relative to the true fear we face. That gap itself is a risk. We do have to fear fear itself … whether it’s too much fear or too little. So understanding the psychological roots of the human affective response to fear is critical for making wiser, healthier choices about the dangers we face, as individuals, and as a society.
Fear develops a person. One may not see this as a good thing, but I do believe it can be so. If one can really look at and see their fears for what they are, fear can in fact be a very good thing… one of the best life lessons we could ever learn.
The issue is not fear itself but how we relate to it. Envy, hatred, lust, honor, adultery, any type of trait we may have inside, the agreeable ones and the and the not so agreeable ones, and the terrible ones, we can manage them correctly (or at the very least recognize that we have the fear and try our hardest to keep that fear from affecting others in a negative way).
Therefore, if we can manage something as basic as fear, without destroying anything, but by connecting it to a person correctly, we will suddenly see fear through the now healthy and confident eyes—why it was we were afraid, for what purpose, where it came from, what it gave us, what it is giving us now that I have risen above it, and am I lying to myself or not (about whatever the fear based things was).
If one can do this (and it is by no means an easy undertaking for anyone), I believe the expanse one opens for themselves could lead us all to much greater heights of true understanding… and connection.