Creativity, Genius, and Mental Health/Mental Illness

Discussion of Joseph Campbell's work with an emphasis on the personal creative impulse as well as the sociological role of the artist in today's global community.

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JamesN.
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Post by JamesN. » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:32 am

Cindy this is a great thread.

As a musician I like this article on " The Creative Personality " in particular because it describes perfectly the creative personality and what the characteristics of that personality are that must sustain the inner domain and landscape one in the arts has to both inhabit and utilize. And like the " Sacred Space " Joseph talks about; this seperate refuge then becomes not only a refuge but a place of creative incubation where as he says in " The Power of Myth " : ( " You can bring forth what you are " ). Then the regular world of work and home life is traveled; ( at least for me ); back and forth like a commute. But this regular world is also the reality of home and family as well as the toil of the timeclock and paycheck from which both realities are vehicles. So you are held in limbo between the two with each interdependent on the other. This suspended tension is the ever constant dynamic that propels yet holds the creative impulse in " stasis ". You are held in a kind of " Asthetic Arrest " ; ( Joe again refers to as a mental state or psychological position of contemplation that is captured by whatever your " Inspiration " is ); yet by the " Creative Impulse " are propelled; ( or rather compelled ); to respond. Or put another way; experienced as: ( " Thou art that " ).

As Joe mentions in Diane Osbon's " Reflections on the Art of Living - A Joseph Campbell Companion ": " Art is a set of wings to carry you out of your own entanglement ". ( This has been a hard fought insight for me. ) Especially in navigating the highs and lows of the inner journey in this inner world that the article's creative individual inhabits. So traveling the commute of living in two completely different realities or worlds and still keeping your sense of mental perspective in balance becomes the alchemical ordeal.

You are driven by this choice of aristic discipline and it's social relevance that you as artist are trying to achieve; along with evolution of growth in your craft and the work from which you are inspired and trying to bring forth and integrate as the product and essence of your creative imagination. It haunts your life in almost every waking thought and hour; and like the birth of a child this artistic life you are trying to bring to fruition and sustain from one constant challenge to the next with balancing the reality of this other life that both sustains you and you it. ( At least the way my experience of this as a musician has been. )

Nice thread combining these elements together.

Cheers 8)
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Post by Cindy B. » Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:39 pm

:)
James wrote:...You are driven by this choice of aristic discipline and it's social relevance that you as artist are trying to achieve; along with evolution of growth in your craft and the work from which you are inspired and trying to bring forth and integrate as the product and essence of your creative imagination. It haunts your life in almost every waking thought and hour; and like the birth of a child this artistic life you are trying to bring to fruition and sustain from one constant challenge to the next with balancing the reality of this other life that both sustains you and you it. ( At least the way my experience of this as a musician has been. )
In the sacred feminine thread, I happened to say this to Carmela when considering female and male writers, that...an experiential edge that women writers can have as a labor of love is that the creative process is very much one of conception (but less enjoyable :P ), pregnancy, birth, years-long nurturance, and then finally having to let go into the world to stand on its own what is now matured and most beloved.

"The creative process has a feminine quality, and the creative work arises from unconscious depths--we might say, from the realm of mothers," Jung said. Does likely seem so, and for male and female egos/heroes alike, interesting.

As for often times feeling "haunted" by this way of being in the world, James, consider keeping in mind its opposite, too, "inspired," and the creative experience of being in flow and what that means and why the associated angst is worth it. Would you give that up? Demon and muse, both will be back, it happens. :wink:

Cindy
Last edited by Cindy B. on Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by JamesN. » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:54 pm

Cindy wrote:
As for often times feeling "haunted" by this way of being in the world, James, consider keeping in mind its opposite, too, "inspired," and the creative experience of being in flow and what that means and why the associated angst is worth it. Would you give that up? Demon and muse, both will be back, it happens. :wink:
Cindy, the " Chrysalis process " in play with me at the moment is very much as you are suggesting with the thought of losing the musical performance aspect to age; ( as in the mother/child relationship you mentioned ); for it has been my life. And the acceptance and challenge of new birth is indeed the metamorphosis of change and the pain of loss that accompanies it. Certainly I realize I could never give it up completely; ( the creative aspect here of course ). But authentic life; as you state; with it's inner demons and muses call the tune we dance to. One can only offer their heart as an offering as a mother does with her child; in the sorrowful/joy and joyful/sorrow that life is; and be grateful for it's gifts as we try to evolve. ( Your counsel as always is appreciated; for growing pains are difficult no matter what the age or gender. :roll: )

If you would allow me an effort to complement your thought here:


First the term " Abraxas " seems to come to mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraxas

But from my favorite recent discovery of Carl Jung which you so thoughtfully suggested citing " Memories, Dreams, and Reflections "; pages: 226 - 227 ( concerning the stone monument he chose for his home on which he chiseled referring to the " Telesphoros of Asklepios "; ( I'll let you describe the details on this. :P ). and the quote goes:

" Time is a child - playing like a child - playing a board game - the kingdom of the child. " This is Telesphoros, who roams through the dark regions of this cosmos and glows like a star out of the depths. He points the way to the gates of the sun and to the land of dreams. "

Of course there is more and Cindy can finish the story if she wishes. ( The book is awesome. )


Thank you for the gift of this book my friend! :wink:
Last edited by JamesN. on Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by JamesN. » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:05 pm

Also in addition to my last post:

It has been suggested to me elsewhere that transformation is an evergrowing process that as in nature itself demands change. And ones ability to meet it's challenges with the requirements that are no less formidable than the previous journey's adventures mean a change in counsciousness. And as in the saying that Joe quotes: ( " The Fates lead him who will; others they drag. " ). Evolving into another life phase means change; sometimes alot of change. Moving into this condition means accepting the elements that go with growth; and that; although not always easy; is necessary for the transition.


So for me as I " Learn " to accept my new transition will add the additional quote on the 3rd side of the of the Stone that " Jung " proposed as letting the stone speak for itself:


" I am an orphan, alone; nevertheless I am found everywhere. I am one, but opposed to myself. I am youth and an old man at one and the same. I have known neither father nor mother, because I have had to be fetched out of the deep like a fish, or fell like a white stone from heaven. In woods and mountains I roam, but I am hidden in the innermost soul of man. I am mortal for everyone, yet I am not touched by the cycle of aeons. "


Like I said; ( at least for me ); awesome book. I'll be reading this for awhile.


Cheers :wink:
Last edited by JamesN. on Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Cindy B. » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:24 pm

:)
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:51 pm

Hey James,
Carl Jung, Seven Sermons to the Dead
Abraxas is an important figure in Carl Jung's 1916 book Seven Sermons to the Dead, a representation of the driving force of individuation (synthesis, maturity, oneness), referred with the figures for the driving forces of differentiation (emergence of consciousness and opposites), Helios God-the-Sun, and the Devil.[17]

There is a God about whom you know nothing, because men have forgotten him. We call him by his name: Abraxas. He is less definite than God or Devil.... Abraxas is activity: nothing can resist him but the unreal ... Abraxas stands above the sun[-god] and above the devil If the Pleroma were capable of having a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation.
—2nd Sermon[citation needed]

That which is spoken by God-the-Sun is life; that which is spoken by the Devil is death; Abraxas speaketh that hallowed and accursed word, which is life and death at the same time. Abraxas begetteth truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness in the same word and in the same act. Wherefore is Abraxas terrible.
—3rd Sermon[citation needed]
I see you picked up on the meaning of my signature. :wink:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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Post by JamesN. » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:13 pm

Actually Neo the reference was concerning Cindy's insights and suggestions to me on individuation.
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:20 pm

Exactly. 8)
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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Post by Cindy B. » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:39 pm

Yes, James was also referencing PM conversations, so the entire context wasn't clear.

Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by JamesN. » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:21 pm

Thanks Cindy. Neo I understand the reference; but as you can see it wasn't about that.
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:55 pm

Um...I know you weren't addressing me directly, I thought it was an interesting "coincidence" that the notion came up in a round about way (hence the wink).

That's all I wanted to imply. :?
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Post by JamesN. » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:23 pm

No problem; thanks Neo.
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Post by Cindy B. » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:28 pm

Beautiful Minds: Is there a link between genius and madness?
Dr. Kenneth Lyen (200?)

http://www.lyen.net/gpage.html

:)
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by zoe » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:48 pm

You don’t have to be mad to be a genius… but it helps. Kenneth Lyen
It probably is not a good idea to romanticise insanity as a creative adjunct. While creative people may tend to mental illness the same can be said of those who commit mass murderer, pedophiles, pyromaniacs, etc. The sword cuts both ways.

Or You don't have to be mad to be a heinous criminal......but it helps.
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Clarification of terms.

Post by Cindy B. » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:29 pm

zoe wrote:
You don’t have to be mad to be a genius… but it helps. Kenneth Lyen
It probably is not a good idea to romanticise insanity as a creative adjunct. While creative people may tend to mental illness the same can be said of those who commit mass murderer, pedophiles, pyromaniacs, etc. The sword cuts both ways.

Or You don't have to be mad to be a heinous criminal......but it helps.
This highlights a few issues for me and a need to clarify terms.

First, you're right, Zoe, that there's little to romanticize about the downside of mental illness for both the individual and the society in which he lives.

Also, it's true that some "mass murderers, pedophiles, pyromaniacs, and heinous criminals" may have a mental illness, but most do not. What most exhibit are personality disorders.

In contemporary psychiatric and psychological thinking and parlance, a distinction is made between mental illnesses and personality disorders. A mental illness/mental disorder arises from significant brain disturbances that negatively affect mental, emotional, and social functioning; for the most part nature holds sway over nurture here. A personality disorder refers to "an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectation of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment" (DSM-IV-TR), and here nurture tends to hold predominant sway. Personality disorders reflect nonadaptive characterological traits and tendencies that are resistant to change, while a mental illness is not reflective of character. One may have both a mental illness and a personality disorder but not necessarily so. The Colorado shooter Holmes, for example, is most likely mentally ill with paranoid schizophrenia. Picasso, for instance, was not mentally ill, but in his romantic relationships he was sadistic and cruel, a reflection of personality disorder; of the five women in his life, four committed suicide, another indication of nonadaptive personality characteristics that drew them to him and along with mental illness perhaps.

Last, insanity and insane are legal concepts in reference to criminal responsibility.

Cindy
Last edited by Cindy B. on Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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