Strong Imagination

Strong Imagination

Madness, Creativity and Human Nature

Book - 2001
Rate this:
Madness is the central mystery of the human psyche. Our minds evolved to give us a faithful understanding of reality, to allow us to integrate into our communities, and to help us adapt our behaviour to our environment. Yet in serious mental illness, the mind does exactly the opposite ofthese things. The sufferer builds castles of imaginative delusion, fails to adapt, and becomes a stranger among his own people. Yet mental illness is no marginal phenomenon: it is found in all societies and all historical epochs, and the genes that underlie it are quite common. Furthermore, thetraits that identify the madman are found in attenuated form in normal thinking and feeling. The persistence of madness, then, is a terrible puzzle from both an evolutionary and a human point of view. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare suggested a link between madness and artisticcreativity: 'The lunatic, the lover, and the poet', he wrote, 'Are of imagination all compact'. Recent studies have shown that there is indeed a connection. Rates of mental illness are hugely elevated in the families of poets, writers and artists, suggesting that the same genes, the sametemperaments, and the same imaginative capacities are at work in insanity and in creative ability. Thus the reason madness continues to exist is that the traits behind it have psychological benefits as well as psychological costs. In Strong Imagination, Daniel Nettle explores the nature of mentalillness, the biological mechanisms that underlie it, and its link to creative genius. He goes on to consider the place of both madness and creative imagination in the evolution of our species.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001
ISBN: 9780198507062
0198507062
9780198508762
019850876X
Branch Call Number: BF423 .N48 2001x
Characteristics: viii, 235 p. : ill., 1 port. ; 23 cm

Opinion


Featured Blogs and Events

Music and Mental Health

 "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast," wrote William Congreve in his 1697 play, "The Mourning Bride." It has been long known that music can have the power of soothing us when we are sad, anxious, angry, or otherwise upset. We seem to be instinctively drawn to particular music depending on our moods. The music may soothe us, but it may also serve to energize us and help us to continue… (more)


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at BPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top