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Does society really want creativity?

I have written elsewhere about links between creativity and psychosis.  In a recent blog entry, Gianna Kali of “BeyondMeds” links to an article describing how teachers in schools all say they seek to encourage creativity, yet their favorite students all tend to be those who show traits incompatible with creativity – those who are good at agreeing, following rules, etc.  Why the discrepancy?  And what does it mean for mental health?

Creativity is extremely valuable, but it can also have high costs.  One of the costs is that people who are attempting to be creative will sometimes make errors, and their attempted improvements will sometimes make things worse.  But if we are to become a society that truly values creativity, we need to recognize that we benefit from those who live more “on the edge” and who sometimes fall off the edge:  instead of stigmatizing them or labeling them as forever ill, we might better collaborate with them in helping them figure out where they might have gone wrong while also staying open to the possibility they have a lot to teach us.

I really wonder how much creative talent is currently buried under high doses of antipsychotic medications……

5 comments… add one
  • The very sad answer depends on what you mean by society. If you mean the rulers and shakers, then the answer is patently “No.” If you mean the 90% brainwashed, then in my humble experience, the answer is still “No.” If you mean the ten percent who hope and strive for a better world, then the answer is always “Yes.”

    Cheers Ron, good post. atb D

  • I think, the fear mongering rulers and shakers as well as the terrified 90% brainwashed only appreciate a “creativity” that helps maintain the rigid status quo that is mistaken for safety and security. While true creativity, being a source of change and transformation, is likely to be labelled “crazy”, in one or the other way.

  • Yes, I agree. The longer I’ve been under this imposition of being called mad, the more subtle the tools of analysis of our society have sprung into being at my fingertips. In other more sensible words: society has put me beyond the pale – I in turn look back at society from the outside, and (god help me) objectively.

  • If society values creativity it would encourage children to colour outside the lines.

    From childhood we are conditioned to a pre-existing order in society and anything that does not fit within the confines of the perceived norms are deemed problematic.

    Somewhere between the extremes of a rigidly controlled society and anarchy lies a domain for creative thought and expression if society values it. Most individuals who made revolutionary contributions to humanity were initially thought to have been utterly mad.


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