Sunday, May 30, 2010

These People Are Crazy

"Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box" - Dr Ullén

Now comes fresh fodder from scientists that further deepens the stereotype of artists as being, if not insane, then at least confirming societal suspicions that they're not nomal. A new study just released by researchers at a Swedish medical university seems to link the myth of the crazy artist personality with bona-fide abnormalities in brain chemistry:
"Brain scans reveal striking similarities in the thought pathways of highly creative people and those with schizophrenia. Both groups lack important receptors used to filter and direct thought." -
And as usual, the same old, tired and predictable poster-childs are trotted out as Exhibit A: Van Gogh, Dali, Rothko, Pollock, Basquiat, etc. etc. unearthing the corpses of all the famously depressed darlings of popular culture by cherry-picking the flamboyant novelty cases. This conveniently ignores the great, boring masses of the comparably more realistic but infinitely duller personalities that comprise the bulk of artists in any given creative community. One of my per peeves is coddling the inevitable juvenile who uses their "artistic genius" as a front for getting away with immaturity, general idiocy and sloppy work ethics ("waiting for the muse"). 

From the study: "Creativity can be generically defined as the ability to produce
work that is at the same time novel and meaningful, as opposed to trivial or bizarre."  I'll just have to remember that for the next critique. 

Let me tell you something based on my own exhaustive and anecdotal research: the overwhelming number of artists I personally know couldn't piss in the shadow of how shitty the average hospitality or service industry worker feels on any given day. Most of the mechanics, laborers and construction types I've encountered over the years aren't any less or any more nuts than, say, the art majors at our college. And I'll wager everyone from the common, everyday housewife, soldier or politician is doped up on more psychotropic drugs keeping their mental ice thick enough to walk on than 99% of the professional artists I encounter. Not to mention they at least can afford their better drugs and maybe even some behavior modification therapy (which works better than "oh go home and paint about it").

Reminds me of the efforts to establish a clinical reasoning behind everything from depression to alcoholism to homosexuality, so as to provide a scientifically meaningful excuse to better define such "deviations" - and in turn profit from "fixing" the "problem." Pretty soon they'll be a cure for creativity, as if the ongoing efforts by pharmaceutical companies to medicate most of childhood out of existence and blanket under what makes us unique and individual human beings isn't enough. But really now, all that sounds kinda paranoid.
Drives me crazy.
"And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon."

                                               - Roger Waters

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