Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence–whether much that is glorious–whether all that is profound–does not spring from disease of thought–from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things, which escape those who dream only by night
– Edgar Allen Poe
It is an eye-raising idea from the article, ” Schizophrenia: A Mind Divided,” by Nancy Andreasen who brushes on the possibility of the link between mental disorders and genius. Andreasen writes that Scott; prior to developing Schizophrenia, was an intelligent boy, ahead of his fellow peers at a young age in terms of typical development, accomplished at any sport he tried, and even ambidexteritous-ability to use both hands with equal authority.
She mentions John Nash, the mathematical genius who was struck by Schizophrenia when he was 30; after already solidifying himself as one of the worlds greatest mathematicians. A professor at Carnegie Tech (some of you know it as Carnegie Mellon University) wrote a recommendation for him with the only words on the letter, “This man is a Genius.” But I am diverging from my topic, this Nobel Prize winner in mathematics-a prize he received in 1994 for what he claimed as his “most trivial work,” associated his madness with his living on an “ultralogical” plane, “breathing air too rare” for most mortals, and if being “cured” meant he could no longer do any original work at that level, then, Nash argued, a remission might not be worthwhile in the end.
Natasha and the rest of class, to clarify what Savantism is: Here is a boy named Rex. Not only is he blind but he faced multiple different developmental disorders and yet he is a musical savant. There are other savants that demonstrate other abilities on youtube so if you still don’t understand what Savantism is, it look at those.
The common theme that all savants have is the inability to socially interact in what we consider “normal” behaviors. They also often have co-morbid disorders such as autism or other types of retardation. Do you think these specialized skills at least artistically and mentally are the results of evolution;the next step for the human brain to attain, but is held back by other biological restraints not yet prepared to evolve in parallel? Therefore, what we see as detrimental side effects are the result of the body being pulled in two directions?
As you think about this question/idea I have posted a video of an artists who had schizophrenia. In the video you can understand why schizophrenia can be described as a neurodegenerative disease.