SANITY is the key concept in any definition of CREATIVITY:

A definition of creativity - Well, do you have to be at least a bit 'crazy' to be an artist? And is the creative process really somehow bonded with insanity, neurosis or some other form of irrationality?

No, this is NOT the case. In fact, it is quite the opposite! And the following shows why that is:

In this TED video, Robert Gupta, violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, describes his experiences of harnessing the healing power of music to help another person - a schizophrenic - to "transform rage into understanding and grace".

I highly doubt that after watching this, anyone would have a hard time seeing Mr. Gupta's experiences as anything else but a conclusive argument in favor of defining creativity as an aspect of sanity.

View this video and see what you think.

Wasn't what amazing?

We could surely assume, from the above real-life example, that sanity ITSELF is intrinsic to a definition of creativity.

We can also see how SANITY and CREATIVITY mutually bring each other into being..

But now, we don't need a lot of fancy-sounding jargon to put “sanity” into the definition of “creativity”- just some simple logic and straight thinking.

Words such as "MAD", "INSANE", "NEUROTIC" etc. are quite “emotional” words for many of us; They bring unpleasant ideas to mind.

And so the term "mad" itself has had various overlapping meanings throughout history. In fact the term originally meant "FOOLISH", [which is NOT "insane"].

It has also meant "ANGRY" and "ENTHUSIASTIC" [the derivation of which is “En-Theos” - “visited by a god”].  Actually, it still means this.

I think it's very possible that this confusion in the word “mad” itself gave rise to the mistaken ideas that: "madness is the source of creativity", or "madness is indispensable to creativity", or "too much creativity makes one mad".

So, let's put aside all these imprecise “crazy” words: "MAD", "INSANE", "NEUROTIC" etc.. Let's just define all these as; "THE [RELATIVE] ABSENCE OF SANITY".

Sanity has several definitions, each and any of could deserve their own page. There is the legal definition: “the ability to tell right from wrong”, some simple dictionary definitions: “the ability to think and behave in a normal, rational manner,” and “reasonable and rational behavior”.

Taking this further: What is "RATIONAL?" Easy. That's "what is based on fact".

Now, a “fact” is: “THE ACTUAL EXISTENCE OF SOMETHING”. A FACT is not an opinion, nor a bias, nor a hallucination. It isn't a daydream or a plan, nice as those may be.

A FACT is something REAL. Therefore “SANITY” is dependent upon FACTS.

So how would you define sanity? rationality? and “the ability to tell right from wrong”? It would have to be THE ABILITY TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR OWN HEAD [subjectivity, opinion, hallucination] AS OPPOSED TO WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE REAL WORLD. [actuality, FACTS]

And THIS is the relevance to a definition of creativity: The artist or creative person DOES KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between what's going on in his own head and what is occurring in the real world.

The insane person cannot distinguish the difference between what is only real to HIM [subjective] and what is real to ALL OTHERS [objective].

He thinks that EVERYBODY sees what HE sees! And so, he gets into trouble - or even commits crimes.

[There's more to come on the definition of creativity....]


Here are some wonderful exercises in creativity and inspiration from Benjamin Zander

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