Eccentric Artists And Mad Scientists Essay

5064 words - 20 pages

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 impossible act must surely be beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. No wonder creativity has for so long been "explained" as the expression of an irrational, intuitive psychic "underground" teaming with forces (perhaps divine) that are unknown and unknowable (at least to the "sane," rational mind). The ancient Greeks believed creative inspiration was achieved through altered states of mind such as "divine madness." Socrates said: "If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the inspired madman" (8). Creative inspiration - particularly artistic inspiration -- has often been thought to require the sampling of dark "depths" of irrationality while maintaining at least some connection to everyday reality. This dive into underground forces "reminds one of a skin-diver with a breathing tube" wrote Arthur Koestler in his influential book, The act of creation (9).According to Koestler, "the creative act always involves a regression to earlier, more primitive levels on the mental hierarchy, while other processes continue simultaneously on the rational surface." Using similar themes, the chemist, Kekule described a visionary moment leading to his groundbreaking discovery that the benzene molecule is a ring. 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...

Find Another Essay On Eccentric Artists and Mad Scientists

Salvador Dali Essay

1304 words - 5 pages Salvador Dali was born on May 11, 1904 in Catalonia Spain, but wasn’t so unique since he was named after his dead older brother. His parents had a photograph of the first born Salvador Dali Hanging on the wall next to a painting of Jesus, as if a shrine. Salvador was spoiled by his mother and often through temper tantrums. He would idolize her, mainly because she treated him so well compared to his father who was only around on weekends due to...

Harold Frederic's Damnation of Theron Ware

1959 words - 8 pages Science and Scientists in Harold Frederic's Damnation of Theron Ware In The Damnation of Theron Ware, Harold Frederic uses the character of Dr. Ledsmar to represent science and the modern, scientific world-view, as a counter to the other archetypal world-views in the story: that of the Church in the priest Father Forbes, a quasi-pagan Hellenistic attitude of Celia, and the unstable Protestantism of Theron Ware. Like the very unique...

Salvador Dali.

797 words - 3 pages Salvador Dali is one of the greatest artists of the surrealist movement. He has been labeled as one of the great geniuses in the art world during his time. Dali depicted scenes from his dreams as well as distorted views of ordinary objects and turned them into famous and timeless pieces of art. Using a method he called critical paranoia, also known as self-inducing psychotic hallucinations, in order to create art, Dali was able to convey...

Which Comes First: The Art or the Artist?

1234 words - 5 pages Which Comes First: The Art or the Artist? A Historical Perspective The approach of the year 2000 seems a good time to think about the way the role of art and the artist has changed through history, and how modern art is interpreted by a modern audience. Writing about modern art gives me the creeps. In other types of art, clear facts can be asserted with security, public reactions are clearly documented, skills can be appreciated, and art...

Johann Conrad Dippel

2037 words - 8 pages Early life Johann Konrad Dippel was born at a small castle, Castle Frankenstein, in southwestern Germany in 1673. He was a born into a devoutly Lutheran family. His father was a 4th generation Lutheran preacher, and it was determined at a very young age that Johann was to follow in his father’s footsteps. At the age of nine, he was entered into a small school called Darmstadt Gymnasium to began schooling on religious matter. By his seventeenth...

Expressionism: Van Goughs Starry Night

579 words - 2 pages During the Modern Era of the late 19th century and the early 20th century, many artists were turning away from the idea of painting realistic images. Photography, having just been developed for public use a few decades earlier, made artists of the day focus less on painting as an precise copy of what is seen, as had been done for centuries. Since the Middle Ages, most artists painted exact representations of life. Starting in the late 1800s,...

Insane, or not Insane? That is the Question

958 words - 4 pages Megan CollinsCordel BrowneENG 4U1October 19, 2007Insane, or not Insane? That is the QuestionThe definition of mad is as follows: a deranged state of the mind or lack of understanding. Throughout Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, the main character, young Hamlet, is brought on to find out who killed his father. He decides to put on a façade of...

The atomic bomb.

4442 words - 18 pages "Then a tremendous flash of light cut across the sky . Mr. Tanimoto has a distinct recollection that it traveled from east to west, from the city toward the hills. It seemed like a sheet of sun. John Hersey, from Hiroshima, pp8On August 6, 1945, the world changed forever. On that day the United States of America detonated an atomic bomb over the city of...

The Atomic Bomb

4497 words - 18 pages The Atomic Bomb "Then a tremendous flash of light cut across the sky . Mr. Tanimoto has a distinct recollection that it traveled from east to west, from the city toward the hills. It seemed like a sheet of sun. John Hersey, from Hiroshima, pp8 On August 6, 1945, the world changed forever. On that day the United States of America detonated an atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima. Never before had mankind seen anything like. Here was...

Hip Hop Music: East Coast, West Coast, Dirty South, and Midwest Rap

3726 words - 15 pages The beauty of hip hop is that it is malleable. It is not defined by strict boundaries but by multiple characteristics. Young artist J. Cole (2013) explains this best by stating in an interview, “I think there’s no rules [in rap]. You can say what you want. That’s your poetic license: to test people’s boundaries.” (p.1) The results of such malleability and the need to experiment within the unwritten boundaries of hip hop are the birth of different...

McGuinness' Exploration of Caravaggio in "Innocence"

1410 words - 6 pages Although Innocence is a fictional piece of literature it is still clear that McGuinness has indeed explored the real life artist Caravaggio and his art within the play. McGuinness has showed both in Innocence and also Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching towards the Somme that he has a great interest in the persona of the artists themselves. It is through both the strong characters of Caravaggio and Pyper and the world McGuinness has placed them...

Similar Essays

Psychiatry And Its Impact On Culture

2161 words - 9 pages ContentsIntroduction 3History 3Classification 3Treatment 4Influence on literature 4Influence on fine arts 6Influence on music 7Influence on cinematography 7Conclusion 8IntroductionTerm psychiatry derived from Greek meaning ?mind healing? (psyche- soul, mind & iateria- healing). Although mentioned already in the Ancient Egypt, until the 18th century mental illness...

Monet Essay

761 words - 3 pages Monet Claude Monet was born in Paris, France on the 14th of November 1840. When Monet was 5 he moved to the town of Le Havre for the majority of his youth. Monet was considered to be undisciplined and unlikely to make an achievement of his life by his parents and teachers. His father owned a wholesale grocery that Monet showed no interest in inheriting. He was only interested in painting. By the age of fifteen he was receiving commission from...

Greatest Threat To The Country/Mad Cow Disease

818 words - 3 pages greatest threat to the country/Mad cow disease Mad cow disease (also called BSE) is getting social attention recently in U.S, I had never heard that term when I was a child. It was first time in mid-1980 that illness was out break in the England. People afraid the mad cow disease, because if people infected there is no cure for the patient. I think the mad the cow disease is real threat for the U.S, because people eat a lot of beef. For...

The Impact Of Celebrities And The Media On Society

668 words - 3 pages The Impact of Celebrities and the Media on Society Music has been around for quite some time, and it appears to will be around forever. It has captured the minds and souls of many people, from all the different races and cultures. People nowadays, in particular teenagers, are obsessed with music and the music world. They go as far as idolizing their favorite artist or artists. They walk like them, they talk like them, and they even...