Below are snippets from a very long and interesting report about Creative People on the Scientific American website. I’ve chosen snippets (in italics) for my personal commenting pleasure and humour. The snippets are not a summary of the report which is written by a professor and author who specializes in creativity. For those interested in scientific studies, do read the article.
The Unleashed Mind: Why Creative People Are Eccentric
Highly creative people often seem weirder than the rest of us. Now researchers know why
By Shelley Carson | April 14, 2011 |
…may believe in supernatural phenomena such as telepathy… Not all schizotypal people have a personality disorder, however. They are often very high functioning, talented and intelligent. Many of my students at Harvard University, for example, score far above average on schizotypal scales, as well as on creativity and intelligence measures…
Yes, my creative and adventurous friends… we may all be schizotypal. Who knew there was a name for us that sounds like a psychosis because we can get overwhelmed by all the information we process, and we believe in ♫ wooo wooo♫ more in life than what we can physically see and prove? That pretty much covers everybody I know. Wait a sec… maybe if we know things like telepathy are true, rather than just ‘believe‘, we fit in some different category that probably still sounds like a psychosis. (Yes, there’s a telepathy game at the end of this post)
… found that study participants who score high in a measure of creative achievement in the arts are more likely to endorse magical thinking—such as belief in telepathic communication, dreams that portend the future, and memories of past lives. These participants are also more likely to attest to unusual perceptual experiences, such as having frequent déjà vu and hearing voices whispering in the wind.
They nailed me! And my god, the studies are finding our poor ‘disinhibited’ brains are the cause of all this! I suspect in India, they don’t do this sort of study. I suspect all of this scientific research in North America is our left brain society trying to get back to our true nature of magical thinking in a way that they can justify, quantify, and linearize. Sadly, ‘justify, quantify, and linearize’ just aren’t the tools that find magical thinking.
(participants of a study were asked:) Do you often feel like a square peg in a round hole?” Participants who score high on the Creative Achievement Questionnaire have answered “yes” significantly more often than those who have low scores in creative achievement. In fact, one participant—a Hollywood screenwriter—answered “no” but then wrote below the question: “I don’t feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I feel like an octagonal peg with conical appendages.”
In my coaching practise, it’s a rare client who does feel like they fit. The following is the author’s final paragraph.
Square pegs (and octagonal pegs with conical appendages) no longer have to work so hard at fitting in. It is high time. Indeed, we all owe a deep debt of gratitude to those whose creative work has been accomplished at the expense of square-peg feelings of alienation and ostracism. The creative efforts of eccentrics add richness, beauty and innovation to the lives of those of us who have fit somewhat more comfortably into our round holes.
Yes!! I do wish she had blurted out, “Creatives, don’t try to fit in anymore!” That would be more empowering for creative readers who might otherwise think “but I do have to work hard to fit in, what do you mean it’s no longer so hard?”
And as for me, I do work at ‘fitting in’… not in all ways, but I watch that how I present myself online, professionally, etc, isn’t so out of sync with the norm that people won’t pause to learn more. This article makes me think I ought to explore more eccentricities.. beyond wearing my oldest beat-upest slippers while coaching in person.
But alas, all my weirdness in its full glory is in my novel… Almost done. Focus, Janet, focus… and in the meantime, I may just practise the art of eccentricity a little more.
Dang, don’t you just love being a creative, soulful and weird schizotypal?