Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I remember when I first moved to America, I was struck by how everyone's teeth looked the same. To an American, English teeth are notoriously bad. But to English people, American teeth are generic. They have no personality. American's argue that teeth are put in their wire straight-jackets for health, but how often do you really hear of people dying from bad teeth? Are we to believe that British life-expectancy is shorter because we have crooked teeth. Teeth are straighted here because we've been taught that conformity is better.
Which leads me to think about this article by talking about mental illness and it's relationship to creativity. According to the study, mental illnesses such as anxiety and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression, and substance abuse are linked to creative people. Writers are twice as likely to commit suicide than regular people. Roberts suggests that the medical profession's tendancy to try to wipe out all irregularity is not doing the individual justice. That perhaps the ups and downs of bi-polar disorder are in fact useful to an artist.
I'm not saying that mental illness should be disregarded, but I do think it brings up a good point that perhaps we are trying to mentally 'normalize' people too much. I know that when I get a creative spark, I'm not totally sane... there's a sort of giving in and going with it that has to take place in order to find flow. I think most people who are creative for their profession would agree with this.
What worries me is if we are indeed over-medicating our children, what works of art, novels, inventions, machines, theorums and medical discoveries are we loosing forever? What is the cost of everyone being normal to society?