Correlations between Creativity and Mental Illness Essay

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Several scientific studies have demonstrated correlations between creativity and mental illness, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Even though the association between bipolar disorder and creativity first appeared in literature in the 1970s, the idea of a link between "madness" and "genius" is actually much older. It goes back at least to the time of Aristotle and the Ancient Greeks, when it was believed that creativity came from the gods, and in particular the Muses, the mythical personifications of the arts and sciences. More recently, the idea of a complete work of art emerging without conscious thought or effort was supported in the Romantic era. beliefs on the creative inspiration of the artist as a special gift belonging to a special individual set apart from the rest of society. We know today that often psychotic individuals can see the world in a novel way and perceive what others usually do not, showing a high degree of creativity. Neuroimaging studies of the brain suggest, in particular, the importance of the association cortices activity in unconscious states leading to great creativity.
Despite these studies, one should be extremely careful HOWEVER not to automatically associate mental illness with great creative art. As many instances of great artists who suffered of painful mental illness show (from the novelist Virginia Woolf, to the poets Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell, to the great painters Vincent…