Writers Are Mad? What Else Is New?

It's official, Creativity has been linked to Madness. Creativity is defined as the production of something both new and valued. Madness is defined as self destructive deviant behavior.

These are linked? Well, apparently.

According to Researchers at Sweden's Karolinks Institute, creative indivduals have similar brain structures to those seen in people with schizophrenia. Creative people possess fewer dopamine receptors than normal in the thalamus of the brain - the area that filters information to the cortex and is responsible for reasoning. This lack of 'filtering' may enable creative types to draw parallels and spot connections the rest of us would miss.

Marcel Proust said, "Everything great in the world is created by neurotics. They have composed our masterpieces, but we don't consider what they have cost their creators in sleepless nights, and worst of all, fear of death."

A bit extreme perhaps, I prefer the word unique, maybe even a little eccentric. I've always known I was a bit compulsive, and that I walk to a different tune to most people, but mad? Nah, My sense of the ridiculous is too well honed for that.


Joleen said…
I can live with 'mad'. Though I would argue that I write/create in order to keep the madness at bay.

Very interesting that an actual link has been found though. I may be creative but I'm fascinated by neuroscience!
Lisa Yarde said…
Schizophrenia - this would explain the voices in my head that tell me as I'm writing, "No, she wouldn't kill him with poison in his cup. She'd stab him in the neck!"
Anita Davison said…
'Madness' is the wrong term I think - maybe our synapses fire differently - besides, I like the fact I join up the dots in a unique way....
Kit Kat said…
Always an interesting topic... but really not surprising when we look at all the great writers and artists of the past who really were mad...

have they explained a link with mad scientists??
I can live with "mad" too, but "free-thinking" might be kinder! Or as my wife might say, "detached from reality."
Joleen said…
I like unique as a term, but I think maybe it's time we reclaimed 'mad' - it doesn't have to have such negative connotations!

As for mad scientists - to invent is similar to create. You have to, as Anita puts it, join up the dots in a unique way. So I'd say it's probably the same or a similar process, but a different way of expressing it.
I have to agree, Anita. I once learned that like Mozart or Michaelangelo, each one of us has a genius talent, but only 1% of us ever discover it. Many writers are born with this genius talent, but many others, like me, have to work on developing my writing talent. Nice article. Thanks for sharing.
Anne Gilbert said…
I don't know if "madness" is quite the right term to use here, either. Among other things, a lot of writers have family histories of depression, when it's very hard to work on anything at all, but writing may also help them get through their depression. Also a lot of writers are addicts(esp. alcoholics), which isn't exactly "madness", either.
Talli Roland said…
I may be slightly crazy. But I don't think I'm mad. Maybe I am, though -- would I recognise it if I was?
edwinsiew said…
geniuses are all weird.. haha..
Wild Rose said…
Lovely blog and i agree am a mad writer :)

Wild Rose~

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