Thursday, May 30, 2013

Genius and Madness, Let's Take a Second Look

Lucidity came to me when at last I succumbed to the vertigo of the modern.
Louis Aragon

Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide.
John Dryden

Yes, there is the "rumor" if not solid truth that madness may more or less be an exhibition of genius in its most grand scale. Many poets, painters, writers, and not so shockingly, poets were creative masters, and they also were mentally ill. The areas of artistic achievement in which these writers made terrific accomplishments in are vast and diverse. Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh is a horrific view of the world through the eyes of someone in the throes of a schizo affective disorder psychosis, arguably. Some say that it was bi-polar that he was inflicted with. Virginia Woolf captures the inner consciousness of the human experience in To The Lighthouse. She suffered with inner emotional conflicts from her jarring bi-polar disorder. The pain of the rubbing tectonic plates within her mind may very well have been the source of such penetrating insight into the intricacies of the human experience. Dickinson wrote massive amounts of poetry under the influence of manic depression. Beethoven, also bi-polar, wrote symphony after symphony in the inexhaustible state of mania associated with bi-polar or manic depression.

You see in the paragraph above, I've mentioned a few artists,that were unarguably geniuses, and they were also mad. But, their madness was of the affective spectrum: bi-polar disorder or schizo affective. "Affective" essentially means "emotion" or in this case "mood." In the state of a bi-polar mania, one is able to create and create and create because of their unlimited emotional energy. If you've noticed I've yet to mention any great creative artists with schizophrenia. (With the exception of John Nash, there have been very few great schizophrenics) It seems as though the fiery fluctuations of mood in the affective spectrum tend to have a particularly amount of influence for the artist, who, at least in my case, is using writing fiction, painting and even cooking; anything to keep the demons from chewing at your neural fibers. So why is it that schizophrenics, who display the most 'original' characteristics not be known to be famous artists, Why is this? Schizophrenics do create art, but they seem so far away, too unreachable and perplexing to an average person, and so distant from the norm, that their work is frowned upon as being irrelevant. These individuals have created beautiful art. Look at the paintings below for instance.

These are cats in the way the artist saw them as he progressed into the depths of the disease. People should really take a look at the art of the schizophrenic. They are accused of being overly abstract, when in reality; their work may very well represent the inner lives of all of us. Perhaps the schizophrenic lives in the subconscious state that we all reside in, only we are not fully aware of it. It is worth thinking about at least.

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