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Каталог статей из сборников научных конференций и научных журналов- The genius as a kind of madness

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The genius as a kind of madness

Yu. A. Petrova Candidate of Philosophical Sciences,

assistant professor,

е-mail: julia-pp@ yandex.ru,

D. Y. Klenina, undergraduate student,

е-mail: julia-pp@ yandex.ru,

A. A. Stadnik, undergraduate student,

е-mail: julia-pp@ yandex.ru,

A.   I. Demeshchenko, undergraduate student,

е-mail: julia-pp@ yandex.ru,

Rostov State University of Economics,

Rostov-on-Don, Russia


What is genius? In the stereotypical sense of an average person, a genius is a person whose skills, knowledge and ability is so high that quite possibly can lead to the emergence of fundamentally new scientific discoveries, masterpiece creations in the art, the invention of innovative technical systems and other innovations. However, considering the phenomenon of giftedness, genius of human nature, it is important to assess the opposite direction, which is unique to unconventional people. Not much beyond the obvious that the fact of the boundary condition of genius is insane, pathology, and often we may also call it «the sheer fact of insanity».

If we talk about the similarity of humans and brilliant people addicted, it is not sufficient merely expressive of opinions, it is necessary to bring facts and arguments, and to pursue the obvious analogies.

Tommaso Campanella in his book «The city of the Sun» expresses the conclusion that epilepsy is a symptom of extraordinary genius, uniqueness: Hercules, the Cattle, Socrates, Callimachus, and Mahomet were suffering from the form of this disease. The first research in the early nineteenth century was based on this field was aimed at the solution of the question about the correlation between genius and psychological disorders. The definition of the genius according to Schopenhauer: "Genius consists in an abnormal excess of intellect" [5, p. 150], which determines the juxtaposition of genius and common sense. Schopenhauer believed that suffering is the driving mechanism of creative genius: "Now we have what satisfies the will or only promises satisfaction, nothing compels the genius to create, because the focus is on self ... Suffering is the prerequisite for the activity of genius. I think, that Shakespeare and Goethe would not be engaged in creativity and Plato would not philosophize, and Kant would not criticize the mind, if they found satisfaction and contentment in the actual world and if they did it well and their wishes fulfilled?" [6, p. 21].

Cesare Lombroso, the Italian psychiatrist and criminologist, described a lot of similarities in physiological position to gifted and mentally unstable people which he reflected in his book "Genius and insanity". Some people are aware of the fact that the insane or crazy people have convulsive muscle contractions of different parts of the body and different chaotic, sharp, trochaic movements. As an example, we can cite the stories of the people that are on the floor where he was engaged in Lenau and Montesquieu, it was possible with the naked eye to distinguish between indentations from the constant twitching of their feet. It was impossible not to notice the strange, unconscious jerking of the right shoulder and of the lips of Napoleon, and in the period of severe attacks of anger, his calves also twitched. "The face of Carducci says Mantegazza, at times resembled a hurricane: from his eyes rained lightning, and the muscles shake like an earthquake" [5, p. 11].

Scientists have established the fact that after a period of manic episodes, the content of urea in normal urine composition varies significantly. The same phenomenon can be observed after the intensive mental stress, in this regard, the analogy between genius and insanity, is evident. In addition, we can say that outstanding thinkers are the subject to hypertension, heat, cold extremities, weak sensitivity to hunger and cold. An ingenious person differs from a talented one by his unconsciousness during creativity. Thus, Milly, an Italian poet, in the process of almost unconscious creation of his poems is in a state of extreme arousal, and runs, and as if is in a fit of epilepsy. Bauer told us that the most successful poems of Ku were dictated to them when he was in a state, much bordering on insanity. In those seconds, when he wrote verses, his ability to talk even about the most primitive things was equal to zero. Newton and Cardano could solve mathematical problems in a dream. Lamartine often repeated: "Not only I think, but my thoughts think instead of me" [5, p. 17]. One can cite a great many examples, but the fact remains undeniable that the greatest creations are born thinkers develop suddenly and as uncontrollably and unconsciously.

On the physiological similarities of the two categories of people we can discourse innumerable amounts of time, but as the essence is already clear, it is necessary to pay attention to equally interesting aspects [4].

The concept of a link between creativity and mental illness has been extensively discussed by psychologists and other researchers. Parallels can be drawn to connect creativity to major mental disorders including: bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, ADHD (Attention deficit disorder, hyperkinetic disorder), schizophrenia, and anxiety disorder.

Highly creative individuals are about twice as likely to experience some mental disorder as otherwise comparable noncreative individuals. Depression seems to be the most common symptom, along with the correlates of alcoholism and suicide Second, on average, the more eminent the creator, the higher is the expected rate and intensity of the psychopathological symptoms [2].

The rate and intensity of symptoms varies according to the specific domain of creativity For example, psychopathology is higher among artistic creators than among scientific creators. Thus, according to one study, 87 % of famous poets experienced psychopathology whereas only 28 % of the eminent scientists did so, a figure close to the population baseline [2].

Mood-creativity research reveals that people are most creative when they are in a positive mood and that mental illnesses such as depression or schizophrenia actually decrease creativity. People who have worked in the field of arts throughout the history have had problems with poverty, persecution, social alienation, psychological trauma, substance abuse, high stress and other such environmental factors which are associated with developing and perhaps causing mental illness. It is thus likely that when creativity itself is associated with positive moods, happiness, and mental health, pursuing a career in the arts may bring problems with stressful environment and income.

Pearl S. Buck wrote: "The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, and create - so that without creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating" [1].


1. Eiss H. Insanity and Genius: Masks of Madness and the Mapping of Meaning and Value. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008. – 625 p.

2. Ludwig A. M. The Price of Greatness: Resolving the Creativity and Madness Controversy. – New York: Guilford Press, 1995.

3. Арнгейм Р. Новые очерки по психологии искусства. – М. : Прометей, 1994.

4. Батищев В. В. Социально-экономические исследования, Гуманитарные науки и право: теория и практика (журнал). Безумие и гений в науке (искусство). – Новосибирск : ООО «Центр развития научного сотрудничества», 2015.

5. Ломброзо К. Гений и безумие. – Санкт-Петербург : Азбука, 2015.

6. Шопенгауэр А. Мысль. – Харьков : Фолио, 2009.

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