What is the relationship between genius, madness and psychic ability?

Discussion in 'Extended Consciousness & Spirituality' started by Jules, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. Jules

    Jules New

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    I have been interested for a long time in the issue of the link between creative genius, psychic ability and madness. I will put out some threads of thought - how do others tie them altogether?

    I remember a lecture on the gifted some years ago. The professor asked, Where will you find the highest concentration of gifted people? The answer..a university? No, a mental institution.

    One of the hyper-sensitivities many gifted people have is spiritual sensitivity. By spiritual sensitivity I mean:
    • Perception that the visible world is part of a more spiritual universe
    • Belief that spiritual world is where we draw our chief significance
    • Prayer or communion with spirit-
      • Spiritual energy produces effects both psychological and material
      • An assurance of safety/ temper of peace
      • Awareness of one’s inner life
      • Prophesy/Visions
      • Enhanced intuition/perception
    • Realisation that all the answers lie within
    • Capacity for inner transformation
    There is a place where some of this comes together. What do the following people have in common? Flaubert, Voltaire, Hayden, Schubert, Schumann, Baudelaire, Maupassant, Mann, Joyce, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van-Gogh, Nietzche and Beethoven (probably). They were some of the most gifted artists of their time. And they all suffered from syphilis. Now for those of you who are not so afflicted there are three stages to the disease. The third or tertiary stage involves a decent into madness. Some of the most sublime works of art we have come through this experience. The following book (which I confess I haven't read yet) may be of interest.
    http://www.amazon.com/Pox-Genius-Madness-Mysteries-Syphilis/dp/0465028829

    As well as this many of our luminaries have had the experience of flashes of brilliant insight and then losing themselves - like the Nobel laureate Nash for example. It seems most of the artistic greats have struggled with their mental health, many like Silvia Plath we have lost. Many have succumbed to schizophrenia and bi polar.

    As an adjunct to this I note the huge number of our great artists who say their creative work effectively "downloaded" complete and in its entirety. It came through them but not from them. Mozart and Wordsworth and many others have commented on this experience.

    So what is going on here? People may be genetically predisposed to higher intelligence (or not) but something in the nature of those who have creative genius tells me they have greater psychic access. I have a concept of "portal" meant both conceptually and as a place on my body. Its a place of transition between states and the place of transfer of information. Gut instincts are called that for a reason. So do these people live closer to the portal? I think so. And is it this that predisposes them to higher levels of psychosis etc.

    Many psychics are aware of the need to care for themselves mentally. The data overload and lack of control over your own experience are disorienting. Many kundalini awakenings mirror psychosis.

    So how do all these phenomena tie together - madness, creativity and psychic access? I am convinced there is a link.


    I love this image so I just had to fit it into the post here. This is how I feel sometimes - scattered...
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
  2. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    Awesome idea for a thread and one that I hope we can grow over time with many thoughts and examples. I guess my first thoughts relate to meaning and what is the relative value of different kinds of meaning. To me the many novels I've read over the course of a lifetime form a kind of spiritual skeleton and entering the minds of all the world's greatest writers has been for me time more than well spent--it is time that has formed me, time that has tuned my spirit. How does that relate to scientific meaning, which seems by many to be held in greater regard? I wonder if given the choice whether a large majority of the population wouldn't eliminate all traces of all the novels in the world in trade for a cure for all cancers? But what a loss that would be! How poor the Earth would be, to be free of cancer and yet free also of the meaning of the world's literature. How poor are we already with literature so little regarded by so many.

    Anyway. That seems unrelated to the original idea for your thread. But I think in a way all the great artists have been mad. How could they not be? The novelist especially. I think of Dickens and his obsession with finding the correct name for his characters. And the way he paced his study vocalizing the dialogue again and again, trying to find the correct cadence, the exact diction to express what needed to be said.

    I hate to perpetuate the recent watering down of the idea of the shamanic, but are the great novelists anything less? There can be no doubt that for many their creations are the product of a kind of spirit contact during altered states of consciousness. That their characters begin to live and breathe, and likely for many authors, to become more real than even the physical people surrounding them.

    Just some first thoughts.
     
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  3. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

  4. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    I love this dramatic piece from the American Journal of Insanity from April of 1912:

    "Considering the abnormal mentality of writers whose histories have hitherto been briefly recounted, we are led to ask why they devoted their lives to literature. The literary genius as we have seen him here is apparently an individual utterly unable to adapt himself to ordinary surroundings. With an emotional instability which raises him to the pinnacle of exaltation one day and plunges him into the depth of despair the next his industry must necessarily be spasmodic. The common ills of life poverty sickness and death which the normal man rises above overwhelm him and throw him into a depression so profound that no stimulus is sufficient to arouse him to action. We see him placed in a world where success is gained only by constant and unceasing effort. In the grind for his daily bread and in the stress and rush of business the genius is rudely pushed aside by those of coarser grain and earthlier make. His pride is humbled his sensibilities wounded his ambition crushed. He finds himself unable to cope with the situation. In the world in which he is placed nothing is ideal the beautiful is ever marred by the unsightly the roses are protected by thorns pleasures are mixed with pain. In compensation he creates for himself a world of his own in which his imagination eliminates the unsightly the disagreeable and the evil or on the other hand he pictures it in magnified form. In his literature he finds an outlet for all his abnormal feelings and passions. Here he pours forth under various guises his rapturous joys and his woeful depressions his loves and his hates his hopes and his fears his dreams of bliss and his dread of impending calamity. The manifestations of his abnormal mental condition which are denied him in actual life find an outlet in poetry and fiction under the guise of literary and poetical inspiration."
     
  5. Jules

    Jules New

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    This may interest you.
    http://www.psychicresearch.ca/Stories/Previsionary-Dream-By-Charles-Di.html

    Jung is also a classic example. He was famous for his psychic ability which came to him down both sides of his family line. He experienced a profound kind of hypnosis while watching a native tribe dance which plunged him into a state described as psychotic for some years. He eventually emerged with the help of Sabina Spielrein. I have read a biography of Jung which described all the psychic events which went on around him. The descriptions I have read of his psychosis leave me wondering if it was in the nature of a kundalini awakening.

    I watched a documentary about the life of Buddha recently. It described the journey of his life. It was no surprise to me that his "dark night of the soul," the night of his awakening where he sat under the tree and refused to leave until he understood the nature of suffering, happened on a full moon. Its a time of much greater psychic sensitivity. I would be interested to know if the dance Jung watched was also the night of a full moon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
  6. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

  7. Reece

    Reece Member

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    I'm sure you know about Dostoyevsky and his epilepsy . . . The above link has a pretty good quote from myshka (sp?) in The Idiot on his seizures.

    Also, I'll have to read some Phillip Dick. But reading about his visions reminded me, of course, of Blake.

    Then lastly, reading about Hemmingway's suicide reminded me that Ferdinand Celine, author of Journey to the End of the Night and Death on the Installment Plan, died the same day . . . Shortly after finishing his last novel. (Just unrelated trivia)

    Sorry, I guess this doesn't add much to the thread.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
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  8. Jules

    Jules New

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    I'm happy for the thread to be free-form. let's see where we go with this. Sometimes you end up getting to a far more interesting place.

    I had a look at Wiki. Though medical model there is some interesting material there:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creativity_and_mental_illness#editor/1
     
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  9. Reece

    Reece Member

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    I've generally thought of creativity as the thing that, in the end, separates materialism, with it's mechanics and predictability, from my view of a more conscious, organic universe . . . that innate ability to create.
     
  10. Jules

    Jules New

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    Yes, Rupert Sheldrake has much to say on this in The Science Delusion. He sees creativity as central from the beginning of the universe.
     
  11. Jules

    Jules New

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    On another angle there are modern artists that ooze that fey quality. Recently I watched a programme where Kate Bush was honoured for "50 Words for Snow". I felt electricity all round me which I associate with a psychic field effect. I have no "evidence" for this but its a reliable experience for me. Her fragility was so tangible. I dare anyone to listen to Sea of Honey or Sky of Honey on decent audio so you can hear the fretless base and tell me it doesn't come from some place else. I note psychic people tend to have "protectors" around them. I notice it. Kate Bush got pregnant and had a baby and her whole village kept her secret. Another is Thom Yorke. Watch him interviewed with band members and see how they protect him. Maybe when that protection isn't in place these people are more inclined to lose themselves.
     
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  12. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

  13. Jules

    Jules New

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    I came across an article in Psychiatry summarising a study of Geniuses. Amoungst the conclusions I found these:

    There seems to be a relative incompatibility or compatibility between the make-up of a genius and certain psychic dispositions. The schizothymic constitution is more prevalent among the artists and the cyclothymic constitution among the scientists, especially those in the natural science group.

    The geniuses and their families show a much higher incidence of psychosis and psychoneurosis than the average population. Among the geniuses themselves, schizophrenia occurred only in the artists, and manic-depressive insanity only in the scientists, in a frequency 10 times the incidence of the average population. The eccentrics (schizothymic) were correspondingly more prevalent among the artists, and the emotionally unstable psychopaths (cyclothymic) were more frequent among the scientists.

    A comparison between the artists and scientists showed a relative biologic inferiority of the artists exhibited by the higher number of psychic abnormalities among themselves and their families, the lower fertility and shorter life span, the higher number of single persons and illegitimate children, the increased infant mortality, and the higher divorce rate. No difference between the two groups existed relative to physical health.

    The article also pointed out madness was not required for genius to manifest..
     

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