Are creative people less or more sane than ordinary people? Creative types are unusually sensitive to the nuances in tone of voice, body language, innuendo, and so forth. They notice more than does the average person; they are perceptive. Regrettably, this ability has a drawback in that it means creators are more vulnerable. Already at risk simply because they are who they are, creators often have a hard life, which, being sensitive, they feel keenly. If their work does not sell, they may suffer poverty. If it challenges accepted views, it may attract enough opprobrium to diminish their self-confidence and dislodge their sometimes-precarious self-esteem. For these reasons, a creator may develop a set of psychological difficulties that resemble insanity. Yet in spite of this, creators retain their special ability with nuance. They remain better equipped to test reality than more ordinary types who, at least on the surface, appear much saner. That sensitivity to nuance, to subtle differences confers upon the creator a remarkable ability to see what others overlook. Those who see more understand more.
Creative people tolerate awareness of polarities and contradictions rather than trying to bury one side or the other. This can make them seem unpredictable. (Image: public domain.)
Creators’ sensitivity to subtle differences, to nuances, makes it more likely they will see both sides of a situation. They are able to walk the middle way and thus avoid buying into one extreme position or another. They are more likely to become wise. From these abilities come the well-known stories about the creator’s willingness to tolerate polarities, opposites, and contradictions. The down side of this wonderful open-mindedness is uncertainty, a mental state that can induce a great deal of anxiety and the depression it so often spawns. Ironically, being prone to anxiety and depression may once again make creators appear less sane than those around them.
Consider what we have seen so far. The key personality trait for creators is quite clearly the willingness to put up with negative life situations such as poverty and the disapproval of others, and with negative feelings such as anxiety and depression. They are willing (or are driven by inner imperatives) to soldier on in spite of faltering self-confidence and diminished self-esteem. Most people turn away when things go so badly, yet the creator stubbornly struggles on.
Why are creators like this?
The answer lies in the creative person’s authentic self. Embedded there are a particular set of “nuanced themes,” a cluster of powerful emotionally important ideas. These came into being when the creator was very young as their genes interacted with the world around them. As adults, creators feel the need to express their set of nuanced themes, just as they feel the need to reveal the nuances that others do not see in the world around them. The inner themes become the guiding light for the creator’s life. So powerful is the desire to express the themes, and so rewarding is the chance to do so, the creator will put up with just about anything to get the job done.