Eccentric Artists and Mad Scientists Essay

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Creativity and Irrational Forces: Eccentric Artists and Mad Scientists

"Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence--whether much that is glorious--whether all that is profound--does not spring from disease of thought--from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night"
- Edgar Allen Poe

"Imagination is more important than knowledge"
- Albert Einstein

Is creative genius somehow woven together with "madness"? According to the dictionary, "to create" is "to bring into being or form out of nothing." Such a powerful, mysterious, and seemingly
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His creative break with the prevailing assumption that all molecules were based on two-ended strings of atoms came in a blazing flash of insight:

"I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes.... [My mental eye] could distinguish larger structures, of manifold conformation; long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together; all twining and twisting in snakelike motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke." (2).

Like Kekule, people recognized for their creative genius often depict moments of inspiration as an electrifying convergence of rational and irrational thought. If creativity is to be found between the rational and the irrational; between the known and the unknown; between the conventional and the innovative, then the creative mind continually runs the risk of going "too far." As Koestler has put it, "skin-divers are prone to fall victim to "the rapture of the deep" and tear their breathing tubes off" (9). Artists Ernest Hemmingway, Virginia Woolf, Charles Parker, and John Berryman would appear to have succumbed to this
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