I recently attended a lecture by a prominent academic who theorized that creativity was somehow connected to mental illness. She cited a number of examples that ran the gamut from Lincoln and Churchill to numerous famous writers like Hemingway, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald, and artists like the posthumously acclaimed, institutionally committed painter Vincent Van Gogh.
Citing the fact that Lincoln and Churchill allegedly suffered from depression and novelists like Hemingway committed suicide, while Faulkner and Fitzgerald were alcoholics, she seemed quite positive that her theory was correct. As further evidence, she named a number of other brilliant scientists like Newton and Einstein, the latter because he had a schizophrenic son.
What began as mere disagreement with this thesis, grew into a vehement and accelerating antagonism. Boiled down to its essence, this academic spread the notion that to be truly creative you had to be off the beam or whatever the politically correct term is these days for varying degrees of mental illness.…
Read more: Does Creativity Drive People Crazy?