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The Link Between Genius and Insanity 402

An anonymous reader writes in a story about the link between certain mental illnesses and high intelligence. "Genius and insanity may actually go together, according to scientists who found that mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are often found in highly creative and intelligent people. The link is being investigated by a group of scientists who had all suffered some form of mental disorder. Bipolar sufferer Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that findings of some 20 or 30 scientific studies confirms the idea of the 'tortured genius' or 'mad scientist.'"
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The Link Between Genius and Insanity

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:16PM (#40214227)

    Emotionally unstable researchers find flattering results!

    • Re:This just in... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:27PM (#40214321)

      I question the results. I don't think scientists have yet to find a valid method to test the intelligence of someone who is mentally ill. Intelligence tests are positively correlated to the motivation of the test taker, and the mentally ill are often not motivated. I guess a bipolar person in a manic state might do well on one of these tests, but a depressed schizophrenic or a bipolar person in a normal or depressed state would probably do worse. How are they correcting for this?

      • I question the results...

        Suggestion: find out what kind of dat she's having before you challenge her:

        Bipolar sufferer Kay Redfield Jamison...


        • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:03PM (#40215457) Journal

          Seriously, a lot of patients with mental problems are actually very very smart !!

          They might be "mentally troubled", but, the manner of their thought process, - the way their brain managing information flow - if can be adapted and applied to research projects, could yield surprising results !!

          The phrase "Think outside the box" is so common these days. For the mental patients, thinking "inside the box" turns out to be an almost impossible task

          • by phrostie ( 121428 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @10:51PM (#40216079)

            A Professor of mine used to say, "I'm not going to go over the edge, i just enjoy the view".

          • My wife used to work with a lady who had bi-polar disorder. She was very sharp but my wife never knew when something would trigger her to "go off." I had this lady in mind with my somewhat snarky comment.


            • by mr1911 ( 1942298 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:35AM (#40219239)

              She was very sharp but my wife never knew when something would trigger her to "go off."

              That isn't how bipolar disorder works. Your wife's coworker might have been short tempered, but that isn't necessarily related to being bipolar.

              It is not uncommon to find mental illness such as bipolar disorder running in families. Children growing up in such an environment may have some personality quirks. Dealing with mentally ill parents is stressful. Additionally living with mentally ill parents is something a child often wishes to hide, which is also stressful. This is not a great environment for raising future Mr/Ms Congeniality.

              If you do a bit of research you will find quite a few "variants" of bipolar disorder. Almost like generalizing everything that might make one throw up as a stomach disorder. There is a lot left to discover in the field of mental illness.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Alex Belits ( 437 ) *

            The phrase "Think outside the box" is so common these days. For the mental patients, thinking "inside the box" turns out to be an almost impossible task

            And here is the problem -- one can only be allowed to think outside the box after he achieved complete mastery of thinking inside all the boxes involved. Otherwise he would produce ridiculous nonsense that may only by a rare accident happen to be in any way useful.

            • Ah! Parent post is a perfect example of reasoning that is so totally within the center of the box that, while it doesn't contribute anything that is at all insightful, it at first glance appears to be entirely reasonable. When in fact contemplating it is just a great waste of time.

              We need a label for persons who are at the opposite extreme of "mental illness". Those that have such an excess of "mental normalcy" that all they contribute to any discussion is the incredible mental inertia found at the peak o

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dov_0 ( 1438253 )
        You can question and probably should until you are satisfied. Just don't be blinded by your own opinions when you do question things. Case in point. This guy I know has been tested to have an IQ way higher than average. He's designed and built beautiful gardens, is generally considered by his friends to be able to fix anything from their washing machine to their cars (and generally can), he learned html, css, javascript etc on the fly just because someone asked him to build a website for them. He writes al
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)


    • It is true. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:00PM (#40215063)

      The partition that separates genius from madness is painted in shades of gray, and possessed of enormous mountains and valleys populated by winged marsupials who reproduce by completely consuming their mates in a process that is neither quick, nor painless.

    • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @11:27PM (#40216251)

      Your post is modded funny, which it is, but it's funny because it's true.

      I'm a researcher and professor of psychiatry at a large research university, and I see this all the time. Patients come to me with all sorts of ways of making themselves feel better about their disorder.

      A manic individual, one of whose problems is grandiosity finds a link between genius and mania? How surprising!

      Maybe there's something to this, but I think it's telling this is not coming from a peer-reviewed publication. I'm not going to hold my breath for when it is (and even when it is I still won't hold my breath for the shocking truth).

      I've read multiple--numerous--published meta-analyses of this topic, assigned them to my students, and it's pretty clear intelligence and cognitive functioning more generally are negatively related to mania and schizophrenia overall. Not strongly so, but clearly in the negative direction.

      So, if there's some specific effect where it's associated with very great intelligence, it must be also be associated with an even bigger effect where it decreases the intelligence of individuals on the low end even more. This unpublished talk at some conference would have to trump dozens of meta-analyses on the topic by multiple totally distinct research groups spanning decades of research. Could it happen? Sure, but to paraphrase Sagan: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      The article angers me in some ways, actually, because it contributes to some myth that mania and psychosis are somehow beneficial, which discourages individuals from getting treatment, or at least gives them excuses not to. It's irresponsible to perpetuate this so lightly.

      The article is also misleading--bipolar is sort of a dated concept--the cyclicity idea isn't how these things really work, any more than any other form of psychopathology is cyclic (it's akin to calling alcohol dependence "bipolar disorder" because they have binge episodes followed by depression).

      • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Informative)

        by naroom ( 1560139 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:09AM (#40216649)
        Mod parent up - great post.

        The supposed connection between genius and insanity appeals to two irrational modes of thinking:
        (1) The Just World Fallacy [].
        (2) The availability heuristic [].

        Briefly, these are:
        (1) The world isn't fair - being a genius doesn't automatically mean you have compensating disadvantages. It's quite nice actually!
        (2) Just because you can think of some famous people who are eccentric geniuses, this does not imply an actual correlation. Famous crazy people are just easy to remember.
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Looking at TFA, it looks to me like it makes some dubious extrapolations. I think it's highly questionable to conflate intelligence with creativity, or creativity with mental fecundity, although these phenomena clearly must be related. For example:

        Studies on word associations that ask participants to list all the words that come to mind in relation to a stimulus word like "tulip" found that bipolar patients experiencing mild mania can generate three times as many word associations in the same amount of time as the general population.

        This result may be true, but you can't measure creativity this way. Creativity is generating novel and *appropriate* responses to challenges. You can't look at mere mental fecundity because creativity also involves discrimination between novel and better approach

  • by _Shorty-dammit ( 555739 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:19PM (#40214251)


    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      being the smartest person on earth is like being a kindergarden teacher, only the kindergartners own your apartment, the streets, the guns, the hospitals, the psychiatrists, everything, and when they do something horrible it's always an accident, because they don't know any better. Then they will cherry pick your ideas, steal the ones that work and have you committed, or sued for the theft of intellectual property. In fact think of the language surrounding intellectual property regarding any workplace, any

  • Stack overflow? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skinkie ( 815924 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:20PM (#40214255) Homepage
    Maybe there is just a tippingpoint where the genius part of the brain has expanded that far that gets often out of bounds. Where the actual creativity is actually not a random set of neurons, but neurons primed for another task maintaining our common accepted singular personality.
    • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:30PM (#40214345) Homepage

      the work ethic, the subversion of conventional wisdom and norms, and the increasingly esoteric and complex lexicon of the specialist being incompatible with social life, ultimately leading to isolation, stilted interaction, and resultant mental illness (some of it a matter of social construction, some of it legitimate disability).

      At least, that's my experience—it's not that bright people are "inherently" socially awkward so much as that their practices, habits, and knowledge are incompatible with the lives, thoughts, and communicative practices of virtually everyone else, leaving them to be lonely, without much of a reliable support system, and feeling tremendously misunderstood, perhaps even hated, as well as having to deal with the knowledge (which can be quite persuasive) that everyone *else* thinks they're crazy, and the total lack of cooperation and support that can come with this.

      • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:53PM (#40214551)

        ...the subversion of conventional wisdom and norms, and the increasingly esoteric and complex lexicon of the specialist being incompatible with social life, ultimately leading to isolation, stilted interaction, and resultant mental illness...

        Nah, Issac Newton was nuttier than a mercury laced fruitcake, and there was no esoteric complex lexicon of the specialist around for him, he was just starting to create it.

        Mental illness causes isolation far more than isolation causes mental illness - of course, the observation is more than a little circular since "all well adjusted individuals enjoy the company of others" by definition.

        • Hmm. Funny that you should mention Issac Newton. Having reviewed some of his writings myself, he appears have to be suffered from a version of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Mercury exposure probably didn't help things.

      • by Stalyn ( 662 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:17PM (#40214739) Homepage Journal

        I don't think that's true. Take for example Terence Tao []. No doubt a genius but he doesn't seem to suffer from any "isolation, stilted interaction, and resultant mental illness". Then examine Grigori Perelman [], another genius but definitely suffers from what you described.

        You don't have to be "tortured" to be a genius. But it doesn't hurt either.

      • by Domminir ( 2053622 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:22PM (#40214775)
        Wow, I've never seen it put so eloquently. I just prefer to say I was driven crazy by a world full of stupid people.
      • Sure. But that doesn't do anything to explain bipolar disorder, which is orders of magnitude beyond alienation/depression/anti-social behavior. The mania is unbelievable, people literally thinking they are god or can read minds, or losing any inhibitions in pleasure-seeking.
      • It doesn't help that when you're exceptionally good at something your understanding of it and all it's miriad complexities is such that the vast majority of people can't even grasp half of what you're talking about.

        It's like a bird trying to explain flying to a fish, a being who doesn't even have the concept of air.

        More in general, when you can spot more of the subtleties of things and find more of the patterns and links behind things (the why behind the why behind the why), it's far too easy to overwelm ot

  • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:27PM (#40214315)

    Linux games that try to make use of advanced features of OpenGL often suffer from driver bugs.

  • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:28PM (#40214337) Homepage
    Many great minds are called "eccentric" but when we break down what that REALLY is, usually it is some kind of disorder, Howard hughes comes to mind, a very very smart man by any account, but he was batshit crazy when it came to some things, You could make the argument that steve jobs was slighty off balenced, and Many other great minds over the years have had some form of mental disorder, usually something autistic.
    • by FrootLoops ( 1817694 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:25PM (#40214805)

      Other examples:
        * Nikola Tesla (OCD and more)
        * Glenn Gould [] (one of the greatest 20th century classical pianists; maybe autistic, definitely eccentric)
        * Paul Erdos [] (20th century mathematician, also eccentric, referred to children as "epsilons", which is hilarious)
        * Alexander Grothendieck [] (20th century mathematician; he's probably a hermit in the Pyrenees right now; Grothendieck is basically the definition of the reclusive genius)
        * Grisha Perelman [] (mathematician of Poincare conjecture fame; also withdrawn)

      • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:40PM (#40215323)
        As we're mentioning mathematicians, I recall a brilliant quote (one of my all-time favourites) from Ferdinand Eisenstein. I can't find any English rendition of it, so here's my attempt at a translation:

        When my father witnessed what kinds of questions I'm dealing with in number theory, he quipped that all it takes to provide the world with a sufficient number of genius mathematicians is to open the front door of an asylum. I replied - and Dirichlet agreed with me - that mathematics is a particular kind of insanity but that the reverse theorem does not always hold.

  • Not unique (Score:5, Insightful)

    by proslack ( 797189 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:28PM (#40214339) Journal
    From TA "Many prodigies like painter Van Gogh, author Jack Kerouac and mathematician John Nash had displayed self-destructive behaviors, and it is unclear as to why humans have evolved this trait. " Many people who *aren't* prodigies display self-destructive behaviors *all the time*.
    • Good point. I'd like to see a study on the proportion of tortured geniuses versus tortured regular people.
    • Re:Not unique (Score:5, Informative)

      by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:59PM (#40214599)

      Many people who *aren't* prodigies display self-destructive behaviors *all the time*.

      Quote from the article

      people who excelled when they were 16 years old were four times as likely to go on to develop bipolar disorder

      The story here is that people who are gifted are more likely to be cursed with bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia. No one is saying the reverse is true, that people who are bipolar or depressed are more likely to be gifted.

      There seem to be multiple causes of bipolar and schizophrenia. Perhaps some combination of genetics may predispose one to genius and also increases the likelihood of a disorder. That doesn't mean ALL the causes of disorder will have increased creativity or intelligence too, in fact they probably don't.

      • I think it is possible that dumb people aren't going to be diagnosed as often because
        1) intelligence make the symptoms more acute
        2) nobody cares about dumb people

      • Well, hypomania has been linked to higher creativity and definitely higher productivity. Mania also causes delusions of grandeur, so a manic person is more likely to think communicate their ideas because they think they are all brilliant. Occasionally they might be. A normal or depressed person might not bother communicating their ideas, because they think they stupid, even when they aren't. Manic people aren't shy.

    • What makes you think this behavior was "evolved"? Maybe it's a defect or side effect? Self-destructive people do not necessarily appear to reproduce at a lower rate than the social norms.

      Also what psychologists may classify as a disorder or disease may just be natural variance; it may be outside of what some people define as "normal" but that does not necessarily mean these are faults that must be corrected.

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf ( 895604 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:29PM (#40214341)

    "He's not crazy, he's just....special."

    Take that, fourth grade teacher!

  • i prefer "mad tortured genius scientist"
  • Rope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:33PM (#40214371)

    Think of it like rope. The longer the length of rope you have, the more you can do with it, but it's also much easer for it to get tangled up in knots.

  • my genius and insanity were endowed by lsd in my teenage years. well, i was reading and writing by age 3, but that proves nothing. i still think it was the lsd.
  • by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Monday June 04, 2012 @06:46PM (#40214495) Journal

    If genius came free, without HUGE DOWNSIDES then selection would ensure that we'd all be geniuses. Think about it for a second, virtually every renowned genius had huge emotional or operational baggage. Dyslexia, autism, bipolar, monopolar, synesthesia... the list of common problems suffered by the exceptionally intelligent is legion. It's guessed that significantly more than half of all the great works of art and science were accomplished by Bipolar people in their manic phase. Personally, I think the hardest part for someone of profound genius, is being torn between the clear vision of what it possible and the sad reality of what is allowed by people to persist. There are some interesting conversations about ways of coping with genius. The Greeks had a very healthy concept, externalizing genius, such that it was a resource to be tapped and that some were simply better at getting to it. That took the onus of brilliance off the person, freeing them up, to simply pursue whatever it was they were pursuing. Here's a great TED Talk about that. []

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cookd ( 72933 )

      One addition is that it is more likely nowadays than ever before for a really messed-up person to survive long enough to provide a contribution to society. Once upon a time, people that saw the world differently were more likely to be abandoned by parents, killed by peers, or starve to death as beggars. Nowadays, geeks are more likely than ever before to find a few people that understand them and are willing to give them a job, turning their unique attributes to good ends. Where geeks used to be lucky to av

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      If genius came free, without HUGE DOWNSIDES then selection would ensure that we'd all be geniuses. Think about it for a second, virtually every renowned genius had huge emotional or operational baggage. Dyslexia, autism, bipolar, monopolar, synesthesia... the list of common problems suffered by the exceptionally intelligent is legion

      Well, to be renowned you must not only be exceptionally bright you also have to have some exceptional achievement, there's a lot of people who qualify for MENSA that aren't known for anything. For most that means years and years of long studies and research to even get to the point where a stroke of genius can occur, it's a long time since Archimedes and great revelations came by taking a bath. A singular focus and a balanced life are diametrically opposite because there's only 24 hours a day for everyone.

  • All geniuses HAVE to have some mental instability, since stability is the enemy of creativity. If you're fully stable, you've no reason to invent for yourself new methods of working through a problem. If you're fully rational, a small discrepancy between theory and observation won't keep you awake at night until you damn well fix the theory. If you're fully functional, you're going to be too busy doing regular work and won't have time for creative thought.

    Very, very few insane people are geniuses, although

  • This is roughly 2 years ago [], and the study then concluded the same thing. Hey figure that back 100+ years ago, Oscar Levant wisecracked himself with the "There's a fine line between genius and insanity." Go back through classical literature on figures writing about others, and you see the same thing. Genius and Insanity are on the same coin, it's how far between the halves that makes your brain go round.

  • by shoor ( 33382 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:11PM (#40214695)

    I saw a documentary not too long ago, about autism (and similar afflictions) and superior ability in some special field. One example was a patient suffering from dementia. His hobby was painting and his doctor noticed that his painting got better as his dementia increased. There were other examples but the theory, which some people were getting ready to test, was that a 'healthy' brain filters out a lot of sensory input. In the case of this patient suffering from dementia, some of that filtering failed and he was seeing the world 'bare' so to speak. The filtering has a survival value in that it keeps us from being overwhelmed. To have the brain processing power to handle a greater input we'd need bigger brains, consuming more resources; birth would be more difficult, etc.

    Another thing to consider with people who lack social skills, is that it could be the lack of social skills that leads them to focus on, say, science, as a compensation or a way to pass the time, rather, than their concentration on science leading to underdeveloped social skills. I'm not saying that's the way it is, just that when seeing a correlation, to be careful about which is the cart and which is the horse.

    • by fearofcarpet ( 654438 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:20AM (#40216683)

      Another thing to consider with people who lack social skills, is that it could be the lack of social skills that leads them to focus on, say, science, as a compensation or a way to pass the time, rather, than their concentration on science leading to underdeveloped social skills. I'm not saying that's the way it is, just that when seeing a correlation, to be careful about which is the cart and which is the horse.

      As a scientist and a person who has worked, for years, around incredibly gifted and incredibly successful people, my observation is that there are two flavors of gifted scientist; one that lacks social skills and one that does not. It has been my experience that the most gifted scientists often lack social skills. Some are assholes, some are recluses, and some are just weird. But they all approach research as a solitary activity for them to focus on--often on a borderline nocturnal schedule--to the exclusion of normal human interaction. Tragically, many of these people fight a constant uphill battle in their careers (particularly the weird recluses) despite publishing creative and insightful Science. The second flavor are, in my opinion, not quite as gifted as the first, but have the social skills to network, land good academic positions, and--most importantly--find funding. They produce a larger volume of publications and do excellent research, but generally focusing on open questions, staying more in the main stream of thought in a particular topic. They also inhabit ivy league departments, make it into panels and boards, win awards, and are generally recognized as incredibly successful. Meanwhile the socially inept scientists pushing boundaries and posing new questions bifurcate between moderate success and winning a Nobel Prize. I think Dan Shechtman [] is an example of the latter. He also is illustrative of the difference between a crazy person on the fringes of science who is marginalized by consensus thought and a ground-breaking, tenacious scientist--i.e., a Noble Prize.

  • Im not crazy! My mother had me tested.
  • "I'll tell you what I'm gonna do." God said to me. "I'm gonna make you a really creative ahrtist. People from everywhere are gonna talk about you and what you've produced. But just to keep it interesting, every now and then, you're gonna want to kill yourself. Have a nice life."
  • Creativity is something that we dont value nearly as much as we should.

    Maybe the difference between a Genius and an Insane person has more to do with how we see them than any real difference in them.

    If someone tells you an idea that you havent heard of before its fair to consider them creative, but unless that creativness is within your area of rational then you will think them stupid. If its a creative idea that is in an area fam,iliar with you, and you havent thought of it before, you will have a much bet

  • I thought I was a genius, turns out I was just crazy.
  • by ( 919212 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:45PM (#40214953)

    One thing about being an actual productive "Genius" vs. just having a genius level intelligence. In order to produce genius type results often requires a manic dedication to something that doesn't improve your life in a direct way. Basically you have to dedicate yourself to a subject in such a way that even if you do get monetary/social advantages from what you produce, you can't really take advantage of them. If you did, you wouldn't really have the time to make that next breakthrough.

    Sometimes, by putting such people in the right type of social situation, so called “ivory tower”, they can have a slightly more balance social life. Basically lot's of the details of keeping things running in their life falls to others.

    Time to work on advanced problems is so important in this kind of situation, you don't play games or watch tv, instead you are always brainstorming on new ideas. True breakthroughs are hard and time consuming, even for the genius that finally make them.

  • The tortured soul (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:52PM (#40214997)

    That idea may have come from variations of "ignorance is bliss". If you don't have a clue about the world around you, you have nothing to worry about. The better your perception or understanding of things, the more pitfalls or risks you can see.

    There's gotta be a Windows user angle here someplace.

  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:00PM (#40215071)

    ... is measured only by success. --Bruce Feirstein

  • by Metricmouse ( 2532810 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:00PM (#40215075)
    I am by no means special as there are likely hundreds of thousands like me. I started out young, labeled as "gifted", and put through special school programs. I have a very high IQ, and have the ability to create extremely intricate CAD-like images of any thing I can dream up, transpose and create into real working hardware. I learn new languages and programming languages with virtually no effort, and I am amazed at my own abilities sometimes. Other times ashamed. The price has been trips to the mental hospital with a severe bi-polar diagnoses and extreme depression, where I cannot even function as a normal human being some days. I love who I am and wouldn't want to be anyone else, but I understand that my brain is all on or all off, and that is the gift and the curse.
  • Why then... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:08PM (#40215493)
    am I both crazy AND stupid. That seems like a raw deal to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:09PM (#40215499)

    Given the segment of the population that has bi-polar disorder; and a known correlation between the disorder and some of the greatest artists and geniuses - I find it highly interesting that we suppress these people with medication.

    Is this ethical?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:10PM (#40215513)

    Even at 140, which is not that spectacular, you are already one in a thousand.

    In a city of a million, that's only 1000 souls. And you probably won't get along with some of them.

    How do you even find someone? Let alone form a peer group?

    How socialized can a man be, when he lives alone on a planet of chimps?

    Is 'insanity' a thinly veiled slur hurled at elite minds by a slow witted reporter from the bully pulpit?

    What is normal behavior? What is insanity?

    Is 'Normal Behavior' defined as what is accepted as normal by the majority in the 90 to 110 group?

    What is insanity? Cutting your ear off?

    Or merely being incomprehensible to the normals?

    Is 'Smart People are Insane' a meme to make people feel better?

    Is 'Smart People are Insane' part of what Ayn Rand talked about when she said "the PTB are out to say that thinking was 'hard, dangerous and pointless?'"

    Don't go out there Billy! Thar be dragons!

    Here's a Rifle and a credit score!

    No need to think. We'll tell you what you need to know. We'll define you and your paradigm.

  • by catmistake ( 814204 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @10:28PM (#40215973) Journal

    The average (the "norms") seem to make quick judgements and associations regarding the mentally ill, whether this means mild depression, or OCD, or full blown mania. First and formost, it is seen as insult. "Crazy" used to be cool... now its somehow on the same level as "homeless." Then it is somehow inexplicably associated with violence. Next, crime, then sexual devience, and finally, pedophelia. It matters not that evidence shows that, on one point listed, the violent are almost never mentally ill, and the mentally ill are almost never violent. About 1% of any population is inherently violent, and this is true among the mentally ill as well, 1%. Yet when an average person learns that another is mentally ill, they immediate begin to fear them and treat them with mistrust, only serving to exacerbate the condition of the individual suffering mental illness by ostracizing them.

    People in general place far too much significance on what they believe is going on in another individual's mind, forgetting that there is no way to know, and also forgetting that mental illness is not crime nor indiciative of a criminal mind. The criminal, by the vast majority, are all sane. We, as a society, need to move back towards responsibility of action, not continue to gravitate towards the notion of thought-crimes. Judge a person by what they do, not by wild, unprovably notions of what or how they think.

  • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @10:45PM (#40216053)

    You'd be insane too if you were a genius that had to put up with the common man. Nothing in this world is more frustrating than people who insist on standing in your way because they think they know better, all the while lacking the mental capacity to understand why they need to sit down and shut up.

  • Bipolar Near Genius (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:05AM (#40216425)

    I'm bipolar and have an IQ of 145. This is the internet and I'm an AC so you'll just have to trust me.

    This article resonated so strongly with me. My creativity has always been tied directly to my mania. Innovative problem solving, writing, music, artistic endeavors (for one unmedicated period of three years I became a traditional glassblower). It's not the mania itself, it's the period of transition from "baseline" to full-blown manic. As the brakes come off and my mind begins to work in a more random, expansive fashion I find new insights that don't really have a linear explanation. They just bubble up, seemingly from nowhere.

    Of course, there's the rest of the time. The crushing, suicidal depression that follows the bouts of rabid, incoherent mania; the self harm and risky behavior; and the impossibility of maintaining a normal life and relationships. The 2% of my time that I was genuinely brilliant wasn't worth the rest of the symptoms.

    I'm heavily medicated now, which has alleviated the extremes of my disorder. I must say that I miss my crazy. I can play the songs I wrote before, but when I pick up my guitar now nothing new ever comes out of it. I wrote whole stage plays in an evening, but haven't written a scene in a year. Whatever my "spark" was, it was the product of whatever malformation I'm now treating.

    After suicide attempts and running down the street being chased by things that weren't there, I'm still not sure that I've made the right decision

  • by CBravo ( 35450 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:47AM (#40216787)
    Maybe the question is whether you can control your brain (or not). You want it to think outside the box but can you stop it outside reality?
  • by kiehlster ( 844523 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:52AM (#40218213) Homepage
    As the absent minded type of genius,
  • by bstarrfield ( 761726 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:14PM (#40220627)

    Hello, Slashdot, I've posted for years. And being insane is more misery than you can know.

    I clearly have to give credentials: Duke undergrad, evil Michigan MBA. And earning both of those degrees were hell. Not because of the work, but because I was hospitalized so many fucking times. I could - and can - do absolutely brilliant work, but having a clinically recognized illness screws things up.

    In a very concrete sense, I don't perceive things as you do. I'm always lost in the details, lost in the shadows. Don't think I don't know that. I can't be in a normal classroom setting; I can't work in a normal job. I can't talk to you in a normal sense, you don't see what I see, and I can't see what you see.

    I've been able to write very, very, serious papers with no problem, but I can't take a normal quiz. I don't know how to express this, but I actually know I'm insane. And before you scoff, suicide attempts should count. And to the posters above - I'm not doing anything for my pride, I'm not doing anything to make life easier on me. I've lost my family, I've lost my job, and I still dwell in the math of the economy. I can't escape, I cannot leave. But the math endures.

    So before you become a righteous bastard, try to understand how much it hurts. I can't relate to you, except through writing on the Internet. I'm supposed to have an IQ over 160, but I cannot relate to anyone. You have no idea how that feels - the isolation, the isolation, the cold and constant fear. There's nothing I can do, as I an who I an. No sleep, no rest, no comfort. That's what insanity actually is. So you can make fun of me, but the pain is real.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"