I adore reading non-fiction about how the brain works, and a couple of days ago I was browsing through a hugely oversized book called “The Human Brain” by Rita Carver. The pictures were pretty to look at, but I wasn’t truly interested by the book until I came to page 168: “Creativity and Madness”. Here’s a quote:
Creativity and certain types of insanity share certain features, such as intense imagination, a tendency to link things that may seem unconnected to others, and openess to ideas that others may swiftly discount. The difference between highly creative people and those who tip into madness is that creative people maintain insight. They recognize that their imaginings are not real and remain able to control any bizarre symptoms and channel them into their work.
I always knew I don’t think the way ‘normal’ people do – now I know what sort of people I do think like. I guess I’m not kidding when I say I have an insane brain!
Rita Carter continues that: Very creative people score highly on tests for mental disorders but rarely fill the diagnostic criteria for these conditions, so their mental states can be seen as somewhere between normal and insane.
Yup. That is me all over. Then she includes a cool little graph that shows the results of those test scores. Insane people, are, as you might imagine right there at the top, in the 90%. Normal people are at about 30-40%. Writers (and yes, she did chose writers as her ‘highly creative’) score in at about 65-70%.
All this made me interested enough to do a quick google search. I came up with this article, called “Creative Genius or Psychotic?” Here’s a quote from the article:
Those who are gifted with a high level of creativity, are also predisposed to certain forms of psychoses. Indeed, even some of the traits long since considered to be associated with certain forms of mental illness are shared by those who are inherently creative. What follows will be a breakdown of creativity, intelligence and psychoses, and how they all are interrelated.
Is is psychotic of me to think this is deeply cool?