Creativity Essay, Research Paper
Creativity is the sole heart of modernization, technology and the arts.
Without creativity, humanity would still thrive in caves. There is no argument
against creativity being an important aspect of our society, there is, however,
a question whether creativity is spawned by mental disorder. Albert Einstein
came up with ideas that seemed impossible or eccentric. Froyd’s psychology
theorems were laughed at, but now widely used and accepted. Both men were highly
successful with their work. Einstein was considered a slow person and mentally
incapable by his teachers. Froyd was an excellent student and was considered
above average in all his school work. Both men were labeled as geniuses, and
both men suffered from some kind of depression .
Dr. Arnold M. Ludwig informs us that “. . . creativity must go
beyond the bounds of what already is known or deductible by reason . . .
“(American Journal of Psychotherapy). It is creativity that is the soul of the
inventor, painter or poet. Creativity is not equal among most people and in fact
is hindered by ” . . . self censorship, that inner voice of judgment that
confines our creative spirit within the boundaries of what we deem
Dr. Torrence, in his studies, concluded that intelligence does
not have any effect on creativity and it is the thinking style that actually
stimulates creativity (Journal of Personality). His tests focused on the
hemispheres of the brain in which he stated that ” . . . left – hemisphere style
is related to less creativity than right – hemisphere and interhemisphere
styles.” (Journal of Personality). Results of Torrance’s study prompted others
to reject his conclusion by maintaining that “. . . intellectual superiority is
the primary determining factor in creative performance.” (Kirk & Gallager 1983).
Intelligence might not be a major factor in innovations but
according to William F. Allmen of U.S. News and World Report, ” . . . history’s
most creative minds clearly operate on a different plane.” It is this millennium
long mind set that prompted psychologist Howard Gardner to examine, or build, a
profile of a genius. In his book, Creating Minds, Gardner relates five
similarities that he found while examining Sigmund Froyd, Albert Einstein, Pablo
Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, T.S. Elliot, Martha Graham and Mahatma Gandhi.
According to Gardner, a creative mind grows up in social seclusion. The
upbringing of such an individual is usually middle class, where focus of life is
based on hard work and high moral values. Such an individual is also known to
push away friends and relatives. His work absorbs him and total focus of
attention is dedicated to the ongoing project. The ?genius’ is known to follow
a ?10 year rule’, where this person is known to have”. . . two bursts of
creativity.”(U.S. News and World Report). First one is very extreme, and the
second is usually more socially accepted. According to Gardner a ?genius’ is
also known to have childlike perceptions on things. Taking a totally different
route to solving a problem was one of the major ways Albert Einstein came up
with his time and space theories.
In the 4th century B.C. Aristotle was quoted as saying, “Why is it that
all men who are outstanding in philosophy, poetry or the arts are
melancholic?”(New York Times, c1). Ever since then a famous anonymous quote was
formed, “There is a thin line between genius and madness.” (New York Times). It
is not uncommon for a creative person to suffer from different types of
depressions. According to a study performed by Dr. Arnold M. Ludwig at the
University of Kentucky Medical Center that “. . . looked at the incidence of
psychiatric illness among 1004 eminent men and women . . . Ludwig discovered
that psychiatric disturbances were far more common among the artists than among
the others.” (New York Times. C8). Dr. Ludwig does not conclude that all
creative people suffer from mental illness, however he does suggest that a
certain correlation does exist and it cannot be ignored.
Another study performed by University of Stanford suggested an opposite
conclusion to Dr. Ludwigs. The study allegedly examined over a thousand ?
geniuses’ and “. . . suggest[ed] a connection between creativity and mental
health rather than mental illness”(American Journal of Psychotherapy). The same
study insists that a general problem exists with the difficulty in determining
the nature of creativity. Dr. Ludwing implied that creative individuals are
usually more troubled than their ?noncreative’ counterparts but have more
resources to deal with their problems(American Journal of Psychotherapy).
Reading previous studies, one could conclude two separate theories. One
is that depression stimulates creativity, and the other that creativity
stimulates depression. According to some current tests performed at the National
Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Post and Dr. Terence Ketter used a PET, brain
scanning device, to examine brain activity during mental depressions. As the
volunteers were injected with a drug that stimulated mania, brain’s limbic
activity increased. The limbic activity is part of the brain that is responsible
for the creative side of a person. When another drug was injected that
stimulated anxiety and euphoria, the limbic activity ceased. (New York Times)
Depression is known to cause sleeping disorders. There are times where
an individual is overcome by sleep. It is during these times where the mind is
somehow set free to ?roam’ and new ideas form. Thomas Edison would use this
hypnagogic state to think through his problems and come up with solutions. He
would place two metal ball in his hands, lay back in his chair and fall asleep.
As soon as he drifted into the first phase of sleep, his hand muscles gave way
and the balls dropped on metal plates below. The noise would wake Thomas Edison,
and instantly he would jot down the ideas that came to him(Psychology Today).
Sleep is not the only way ideas come to us. Whenever we are envolved in a
relaxing activity such as a walk or while taking a shower, our minds envoce our
limbic part of the brain.
Human mind is still a mystery to us all. It is hard to conclude on what
spawns creativity. Depression and intelligence seem very far apart, yet
scientists have found that both could be linked together.