Arty people tend to be a bit mad

The original heading on this report was: "Creativity and psychosis share a genetic source".  But that wrongly inflates artistic endeavour.  There are many types of creativity and the most important type of creativity is scientific and technological creativity -- which can transform not only individual lives but also nations and civilizations.  Artistic creativity is primarily for entertainment.

And there are many quite unrelated types of creativity even within the artistic field.  I know of no great composers, for instance, who are also great graphic artists.  So the report below is of interest but great caution should be exercised in drawing generalizations from it.

And, as ever, we should heed the classic caution that correlation is not causation.  The sort of creativity that was studied tends to be associated with Leftist loyalties so it is possible that it was the Leftism rather than the creativity which produced the correlation with unfortunate  mental states.  Lack of reality contact is the defining element of psychosis and that lack seems to be almost routine among Leftists.  Perhaps the only difference between Leftism and madness is one of degree.  One certainly gets that feeling when reading anything "postmodern"

Artistic creativity may share genetic roots with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to a study published on Monday. The research, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, delves into a well-known genetic database—the deCODE library of DNA codes derived from samples provided by the population of Iceland.

The authors first compared genetic and medical data from 86,000 Icelanders, establishing a DNA signature that pointed to a doubled risk for schizophrenia and an increase of a third for bipolar disorder.  The next step was to look at the genomes of people engaged in artistic work.

Those samples came from more than 1,000 volunteers who were members of Iceland's national societies of visual arts, theatre, dance, writing and music.

Members of these organisations were 17 percent likelier than non-members to have the same genetic signature, the study found. The finding was supported by four studies in the Netherlands and Sweden covering around 35,000 people, comparing individuals in the general public and those in artistic occupations. Those investigations used somewhat different parameters but found the probability was even higher, at 23 percent.

"We are here using the tools of modern genetics to take a systematic look at a fundamental aspect of how the brain works," said Kari Stefansson, head of deCODE Genetics, who led the study.  "The results of this study should not have come as a surprise because to be creative, you have to think differently from the crowd, and we had previously shown that carriers of genetic factors that predispose to schizophrenia do so," he said in a news release.



  1. One must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star !
    Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  2. Creativity is the same function as problem solving, which is intelligence.

    I do not believe creative intelligence is limited to working through particular mediums. Genuinely creative people can certainly turn their creative intelligence reasonably well to any medium i.e. from music to drawing and painting, to interpersonal difficulties, to combat, etc. Their sometimes seeming inability to do so is usually due to unfamiliarity with the medium, an emotional impingement upon that segment of the intelligence, or a disinterest in the subject matter.

  3. I would like to add to my comment above.
    Many use creativity to sustain emotional expression, to acquire a sense of satisfaction and thereby relieve frustrations, as a sort of therapy. Leftists feel frustration that reality does not fit their ideal, and creativity relieves that. To some degree, satisfaction in any sense relieves frustration in any sense. But attraction to the arts for their therapy is not creativity. And being “associated with artistic society membership or creative profession” is an ill definition of creativity, probably favouring those who partake in the arts for therapy over those who are truly creative. By that criterion of creativity it is no wonder the study showed increased correlation between creativity and insanity.
    Creativity is the ability to manifest imagination. This definition separates the truly creative from those who use the arts to express emotion and relieve frustrations, and from the postmodern fakes who create backwards by haphazardly creating something then attributing fake meaning to it.
    We may consider intelligence and consciousness the same item, the difference being largely referential. Intelligence being the scope of awareness divided by distinctions perceived, and multiplied by relationships recognised. In other words, intelligence is the ability to discriminate and generalise across the scope of one’s awareness, and the degree of subtlety to which this can be done is the measure of intelligence.
    Intelligence is the ability to choose between. (inter legere) And may be passive intelligence, that is, its choosing is automated as in computers, or instinctual as in animals.
    Or the intelligence may be active intelligence i.e. it has the ability to freely choose from distinctions perceived, as with us humans.
    Surrounding intelligence is mind (that realm in which occurs all thought) and intellect is an interplay between intelligence and structured thoughts within the mind. It is the animating, shifting around, weighing, adding and dissecting of structured thoughts.
    Active intelligence together with intellect enables creative intelligence, which is the ability to choose aspects from a variety of options and blend them together to create a previously imagined result.
    To create a previously imagined result is creativity, and to create an anticipated result is problem solving, so creativity and problem solving are the same function with the difference being only in purpose.
    When the interplay between intelligence and mind is concerned with facts, reality/truth, then it may be termed intellect.
    Interplay between consciousness and mind may be practiced knowingly outside the facts, for the sake of fantasy, or even without the distinction being had of what is true or false. All such interplay between consciousness and structured thought is active thought, and when practiced in regard to truth and within the laws of reason and even sensible conjecture, is intellect; and when not, is fantasy.
    All mediums have scope and spectrums of distinctions to their nature, and have relationships between their grades of distinction. Exposure to and familiarity with a medium enables the building of a mental reproduction of the medium, as fine in its detail as the subtlety of the underlying intelligence will enable. Intellect is the interplay between conscious intelligence and the mental reproduction of reality as exists in structured thought. Exposure to and familiarity with mediums of reality is required to build mental reproduction of those natural spectrums and enable intellect, so that creative intelligence may materially manifest imagined or anticipated results, which is creativity. So creativity and intelligence are the same thing, being creative intelligence, and may work with any medium it is familiar with and potentially produce anything that is possible.
    True creative intelligence could quite reasonably be tested for and measured, and then comparisons made with mental health syndromes. The study did not do that though. If it did, the results would have been quite different.


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