A Dark Shade of Brilliance

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Many scientific studies, particularly on human health, simply confirm common sense or previous assumptions that we induced logic into through our experience and observations. One on the loop between creative thinking and mental illness was reported on, and very few people will say they’re surprised. Many people will say that putting funds to such research is a waste of valuable money because they could’ve told you that without the fancy “scientific method”. But I digress.

I’ve written before about my own experiences with depression, and I write more about writing than I do about substance (which doesn’t reflect well upon my writing abilities, but again I digress). I also photograph excessively and I’ve had surges and lulls of the inclination to doodle. These don’t override my ability to think rationally in logical terms and do uncreative stuff like taxes and managing my time. (Numbers, however, aren’t limited to my boring left brain. I apply them to my creative pursuits, and then there’s beautiful synesthesia on top of that.) My depression isn’t as severe as the minds of brilliance cited in the article above, and so I have the balance that aligns my thinking with the norm, when I wish to return there. When I wish to shift the balance to something creative, however, I can’t just snap my finger and the blood rushes to the tips of my fingers to make something that won’t make itself. It’s untraceable reactions to irrational triggers, and unhappiness doesn’t have to come with it or between. A correlation doesn’t mean causation, and both depression and creativity can come from the same source: perceiving existence as the completely fabricated reality it is.

My degree in sociology brings these two roads together. It’s a bachelor of arts degree in a social sciences field – because there’s nothing exact about subjective interpretations of complex surroundings bounded by the language that’s used to communicate data that’s never complete. The years I spent to school have influenced my mind to wander as I walk into the absurdity that paved roads exist and millions of people complain about them daily because we’re entitled to two tons of mobile metal. The satire that could be made from that is too vast for me to realistically create – because I understand the society around me and how I need to have a job to pay bills and pass the time.

The physical sciences have their icons of creative minds, and they shine because of the way in which they proved previous human perception wrong. The best of them are and were humble in their own capacity to conceive of things, and their dedication to finding factual answers was driven by the hope that humankind would never stop pursuing them because knowledge is never, ever complete. Many brilliant scientists have also been mentally troubled. It’s not the cause of, nor is it caused by, their discoveries and contributions to the cumulated base of knowledge amassed by millions of minds over thousands of years. But, perhaps as with creativity, being bright removes the blind spots. Without blinders added on – say, by medication or by voluntarily adapting to a routine lifestyle – there’s an excess of absurdity to consume. For those who get to dedicate their lives to applying their brilliance, blinders are on the backburner, and ignorance is a medication for intellectually-driven despair.

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