Madness and Its Connections

There has always been quite a bit of interest in whether madness and genius are linked, along with creativity (often what is needed for the germination of genius ideology) and madness.

To begin with, one could observe that there must be some calculable way of discovering this link: for instance, observing the neuro-pathways – through a brain scan – of someone who is consistently well graded, or, for that may not be a good test of raw ‘intelligence’, of someone who possesses a searchlight range of talents, or who scores highly on an Intelligence Quotient scale.

Findings to be expected would be that the brain of someone considered genius may be structured in a similar way to the brain of someone ‘mad’[1], possible someone possessing a mental illness such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder. Whilst ethical issues arise from testing people for madness, there are many ‘live’ cases of artistic talents who are afflicted by a different mental state to the norm[2].

It’s in both life and fiction that we come across madness and genius, creativity and madness, hand in hand. Van Gogh possessed an incredibly unique talent, but he was also in the grip of terrible Bipolar symptoms. Sherlock Holmes was considered a veritable genius, but he often suffered (or became insufferable to those around him!) due to what a modern-day diagnosis would say is Asperger’s Syndrome.

Still, I propose that it’s more than that. We can provide as many variations of tests to seek out the genetically able and correlate those findings with the genetically troubled, but I believe that these things require introspection and the ‘voice’ of the sufferer[3], too.

A trapped genius – a genius nonetheless, even if others may not see that side – has a higher probability of becoming mad due to the lack of actuality and the frustration they bear. Geniuses often have a multitude of outlets to vent through, but if these all come to nothing or all are blocked, there is a greater chance that those frustrations may become…something more vicious. A frustrated genius becomes an obsessive checker because they feel the need to allow themselves that tidiness, perhaps in the hope that it will allow them to succeed where they have failed before.

Too, a genius probably knows of their potentiality. After all, even someone with the least imagination or academic brilliance can dream. When one is filled with so many theories and all those intense creations, the unfulfilled noise can rise up almost to a scream in the mind, overwhelming. It is then that one gets a genius-at-a-mental-breakdown. Frustration, once again.

In this way, there are unforeseen connections in those cause-and-effect regimes of life. I’m not saying that all geniuses are potentially mad – or will, one day, be driven to madness by their skill – but it’s true that to bring into creation an idea that has never been done before takes more spontaneous impulse to bring into the world than to simply follow someone else’s idea. Here, we find the Subjectivity rule[4] arguing from a stranger’s point of view that a genius is indeed mad!

 

Coming right back around to Asperger’s and the science of madness: many Asperger’s sufferers (such as Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory) are incredibly intelligent because of their rigorous use of the hemisphere of the brain devoted to numbers, calculations and sheer, cold science. If we wanted to include their mind, one could add that their thoughts are forever trained on the steadily logical and the analytic, hence why emotions escape the Asperger’s Syndrome adult.

From this, one can see that there are both physical, biological links between ‘madness’ (though not as it was at the beginning of last century) and genius, and cognitive, psychodynamic[5] links between them. Hence why the mind is so well attuned to the exploration of both science and philosophy.

[1] This proves its own difficulty, since ‘madness’ is not longer an umbrella term in the sort of Psychology we have nowadays

[2] Even using a mention of the term ‘norm’ applies its own difficulties; that norms do not exist nowadays.

[3] Either way, one can suffer from genius as well as madness

[4] I’m not sure if there is actually a particular rule, but the title sums up what I mean to say

[5] See Freud, Jung and other Psychodynamic theorists of the middle 1990s

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