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

acceptable.”(Psych Today).

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.

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