From the beginning of time, society has admired the work of geniuses. We have sat in amazement as we read about their surreal creations come to fruition. Creatives such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Rumi have never fallen short of the label genius.
Oppositely, society has discredited the psychotic. We have categorized them as beneath us. To be associated with the insane has fallen nothing short of negative.
“Madness, provided it comes as the gift of heaven, is the channel by which we receive the greatest blessings… Madness comes from God, whereas sober sense is merely human.” – Plato
Genius: is defined as the highest form of creativity. An IQ of 165 is a prerequisite along with high levels of mental search processes. This is the ability to find solutions to problems by using memory from previous situations.
Insanity: When an individual cannot distinguish reality from fantasy.
The Neurological Links Between Insanity and Genius
In the center of the brain, there is an area called the precuneus. The precuneus deals with episodic memory, consciousness, and visuospatial processing. To the average individual (IQ of 90-120), this area is usually deactivated when focusing on cognitive tasks. However, researchers found that this area of the brain remains active when highly creative people (level of genius and insanity) are thinking actively.
Researchers found that by continuously engaging the precuneus, individuals were found to have much higher levels of creativity than the average individual. The same results of an activated precuneus were found in patients with schizotypy, a milder form of schizophrenia.
Average Minds: Tunes out external stimuli and zones in
Creative Thinkers: Use external stimuli in their creative processes
What Does Insanity Have To Do With Creative Thoughts?
It breaks down as a spontaneous and undirected association of thoughts and actions. This form of free association can reach the point where the individual begins to make strange and unusual links. This where insanity begins to surface.
Albert Einstein referred to this process as “combinatory play.” He believed that the most original ideas were derived from completely free flowing thoughts. The genius and the insane both have incredibly high levels of creativity which are derived from their free flowing thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions.
The only major difference is that the genius is able to recognize when those free-flowing thoughts begin to step into the realm of delusional whereas the insane cannot.