Have you ever heard some song that you absolutely swear by and wondered how in the world, did the creator or the performer think of it? There are quite a few songs that send a shiver up your spine or make the hair on your neck stand up each time you hear it. Similarly occasionally you come across a piece of art be it in a form of a sculpture, painting, building, or a poem; you simply cannot comprehend how did the artist visualize the idea before putting it in physical form. Does creativity or original thinking need that extra boost from your nerve endings?
I have often heard that Bhimsen Joshi and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performed best when they were drunk. Most of the rock musicians you can think of have been crazies in their own right and of course lead chaotic lives or have had an eventful life that somehow drives them to produce extraordinary music. Writers take long hiatuses in solitary confinement somewhere in the wilderness to write their dream work. Ask Archimedes, he didn’t mind running naked through the city when he hit upon the idea that make ships float. Jon Utzon’s epic Sydney Opera House design was merely few scribbles on a rough tracing paper; almost suggestive that it was a random brainwave. Did Van Gogh’s tumultuous life influence some of his greatest works? If you have heard Jim Morrison perform live, I bet you will be all for pumping some dope in his blood to make him go all wild and play like the devil possessed. Descartes wrapped his head in towels and buried himself in bed to do his best work. His thoughts came best to him when he was lying down, a quality which he shared with mathematician Leibnitz. Thomas Alva Edison would close himself in a cupboard when he had to do some serious thinking. You somehow cannot think of something extraordinary or produce that spark of genius that makes you go Ahhhh! in your regular day-to-day life. You simply cannot sit down with a sane mind in the middle of the day, all thoughts sorted out and no worries on your mind to produce the greatest idea of your life.
I remember doing some of my best architectural work during long night outs in ghostly studios; the unearthly hour or deathly silence somehow gave me the kick that no mid-day sun in picture-perfect surroundings ever would. I bet everyone needs to be a bit zoned out to think out of the box and produce that idea which no one ever has thought of. Didn’t Kekule dream of the benzene ring in his sleep?
But I digress. The question I should be asking is does one need to be a crazy junkie to produce some of man’s wildest creative works? Should you be out of the box to think out of the box? Do you need to have some idiosyncratic behavior to bring the best out in you? Think of the closest genius individual near you and then ask, is he/she a “regular” person? Isn’t he/she more likely to be a bit whimsical or eccentric than a normal person? Is it nature’s way of balancing out the gifts that she bestows upon us that make us the individual we are? A little googling reveals that I am not the only crazy one to think about this; some do entire dissertations on creativity triggers.
I also wonder; ermm, I am just too caffeinated right now; so I better stop and let you take over. I forgot what I was talking about. But I hope you get the drift.