Have you ever felt that you were just too darned creative? No, I didn’t think so. People who are creative always feel a wish to be even more creative than they are, or to have extra energy to accomplish all the creative projects and ideas that they are capable of dreaming up. No artist I know has ever looked at a finished art work and seriously proclaimed, “It’s no good. I’m just too creative.”
It would, therefore, come as somewhat of a shock to most artists to learn that, in some circles, “above-average creativity” is being touted as symptomatic of a mental disorder. Who is making this definition, arbitrarily, out of thin air? Creative people? Hardly. It’s coming from the mouths of greedy, resentful, sullen dullards, who are looking for new ways to profit from psychiatric diagnoses, treatments and medications, and who also feel a need to oppress those in society that are capable of remaking it and renewing it, in ways they are simply not capable of doing. It’s an abuse of power, nothing less.
If we were to classify average creativity as the desired norm, then we would truly be doomed, as a species. The average person is too afraid, too ashamed, too inhibited and too fearful of expressing their creativity to the full, even if they innately have it (and everybody does – I’ve never seen a child who is lousy at crayons). For reasons of pure social control and hierarchy, creativity is systematically bludgeoned out of people, throughout their lives, until they become conformist, manipulable, malleable, docile, tractable, foot-soldiers for those that run everything, by dint of their accumulated wealth. As if that wealth is the measure of a man. Sometimes, it’s indicative only of their powers of manipulation and deceit, it has to be said. The average amount of creativity, in the population, then, is held at artificially low levels, for highly suspect ideological reasons.
If we want to improve the world (and anybody with the ability to observe objectively will know the necessity of doing so with urgency), then more creativity is what we need. More, not less. Above-average creativity is a positive benefit for mankind. OK, the creative work may be all-encompassing and absorbing, leading to the artist making tradeoffs and sacrifices, but that hardly makes it into a mental disorder. If anything, complacently sitting around, proclaiming that excess creativity is a bad thing, while the world goes to hell at the hands of the greediest and least empathetic members of our species, is the real mental disorder. Maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome.
I think that we, as artists, always struggle to find ways to be more creative and to find more stamina for our creative work and that’s how things ought to be. I wouldn’t ask a car mechanic why my liver is not functioning correctly. Why should I ask psychiatrists if my artistic, creative existence is “normal”? It’s not their field. They have no expertise in it. It’s not related to what they do (which is to sell treatments, when all is said and done). Why should their opinion on the matter of creativity count for anything? I might as well ask a household pet.
If anybody, ever, for any reason, dares to suggest that your above-average creativity is anything other than a supreme ability and wonderful gift, laugh long and hard at them, in their faces. Call them out as the emperors that have no clothes. If they even hint at the idea that working out how to make, instead of destroy, and how to change, instead of preserving the state of sclerosis we find ourselves in, hurtling us toward oblivion at an increasing rate, is in some way a defect, a deficiency, a sign of illness, or a weakness, stand up to them and reveal them for what they are – self-interested, greedy, complacent, compliant liars. Do not, under any circumstances, take their stupid utterances seriously.
Above-average creativity is not a disorder; it’s a highly desirable and precious personality trait, shared by those who have historically rescued us all from the abyss of violence and ignorance, time and again. Without it, we’re all sunk – psychiatrists included. Always remember that.