The Link Between Creativity And Insanity Essay

1336 Words Apr 27th, 2016 6 Pages
The modern asylum and mental institutions not only opened up the art canon to this marginalized community, but also started a medical and scientific exploration into mental illness, behavioral sciences, the psychology of the brain, and if there’s really proof of the link between creativity and insanity. As Thomas Szaz explains in his article,Intentionality and Insanity, while the sciences have one singular lens for explaining their findings, mental health professionals have two: “one for sane people and their normal behavior, another for so-called insane people and their abnormal behavior.” While the work of the mentally competent person is seen as intentional and goal-oriented, the work of the abnormal brain is seen as casual and non-intentional, a symptom of their abnormal brains. This is problematic because art by definition is the power of performing actions, usually relevant to skill and dexterity. This contradiction shows how art cannot be seen as unintentional simply because it comes from an artist with any number of mental ailments. As Gile Burch explains in his article, Schizotypy and creativity in visual artists, numerous studies have gone on from the 19th century to the present trying to prove this link. A 1989 study of British writers and artists showed that 38% of them suffered from some kind of affective disorder. Another study done in 1987 showed that among 30 writers and 30 control subjects, the writers tested higher for mental illness. Now this…

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