If I told you I was crazy, would you assume I was creative?
What if I told you I was creative: would you assume I was crazy?
When it comes to the latter, the science points to “yes.”
For as long as I can remember, “crazy” has been my mum‘s (a very creative woman, I might add) least favourite word. Growing up, my brother, sister, and I were discouraged from using it because the word suggests an individual is not “right” and, well, it’s just plain mean. I was raised to believe and perceive the best in people, so I took my mother’s advice, trying in earnest to avoid a word capable of causing such psychological grief.
Do I think that crazy is a prerequisite for creativity? No, sir. But researchers have toiled away to find scientific proof to support this hypothesis. In 2015, findings were published in the notable peer-reviewed journal Nature Neuroscience suggesting that those who go on to become painters, sculptors, or lead some other form of creative live are more likely to be “genetically predisposed to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.” To call myself a writer leaves room for suggestion that I, myself, might be a touch crazy, too. Gulp.
While researching for today’s post, I keyed the word “crazy” into the all-seeing, all-knowing Dictionary.com and was a bit surprised to find seven different interpretations of the adjective:
- Mentally deranged; demented; insane
- Senseless; impractical; totally unsound
- Intensely enthusiastic; passionately excited
- Very enamoured or infatuated
- Intensely anxious or eager; impatient
- Unusual; bizarre; singular
- Wonderful; excellent; perfect
Some are defamatory, a nod to the 1580s definition of “full of cracks or flaws,” but others simply suggest that, to be crazy, one must live an intense and impassioned life. That I can deal with.
I think a bit of eclecticism does society good; it prevents us from becoming one big, uniform herd of sheep, after all.
I once heard that creativity is the process of making connections in unlikely places… or something to that effect. (If that’s not the actual quote, then allow me to take full credit and may it forever be my legacy.) You might not see the coincidence or connection between a teapot beside a phone charger beside a statue of an owl sporting a Captain Morgan’s hat (yep, these are all in front of me as I type), but someone else might.
Just because you don’t see what someone else sees doesn’t mean you are “too sane” or “not creative enough.” All it means is that your brain works a little differently. And that’s okay, because society needs you, too.
As Trevor Baylis – former professional swimmer, stunt performer, and the inventor of the wind-up radio said:
Visionaries and dreamed have always been dusted with a bit of oddity.
So go ahead and show your crazy, you creative dreamer.
Until tomorrow (the last day of the 31-day challenge!),