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It was Oscar Levant who joked , "there is a fine line between genius and insanity " , and now it seems there is some research that adds credence to this ,

Fine line between genius and insanity: study

Published: 18 May 10 11:38 CET

The distinction between psychological illness and creative thinking is wafer thin, new Swedish research confirms, arguing that there is a feasible explanation for why the age-old myth of genius bordering on insanity could in fact be true.

It is previously known that highly creative abilities are somewhat more common in people who have familial history of mental illness and thus carry a greater risk of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Researchers at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute have now sought to explain this link by studying receptors in the thalamic region of the brain.

"We have studied the brain and a certain type of receptor, known as dopamine D2 receptors, and we have shown that the dopamine system in healthy highly creative people is similar to that found in schizophrenics," Dr.Fredrik Ullén, who led the study at the Department of Women's and Children's Health at the institute, told The Local on Tuesday.

The study, penned by Ullén and Örjan de Manzano, and entitled Thinking Outside a Less Intact Box, indicates that certain characteristics, such as being able to make bizarre and unusual associations are common to both schizophrenics and healthy highly creative people.

"Our study indicates that certain characteristics of psychological illness can benefit those who are otherwise psychological healthy," Ullén explained.

"You could say that this study proves that genius does in fact border on insanity, but people diagnosed with psychological illness can not be highly creative, this is important to underline," he said.

While Fredrik Ullén explains that while the exact nature of the mechanisms in the brain which impact on this link are as yet unknown, the brain's dopamine system could provide a feasible explanation.

"A lower reading, common to both highly creative people and schizophrenics, may afford a greater richness of thought, less filtering of information and thus the ability to make more associations, in more ways. Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box."

The study identified "highly creative people" with the help of psychological testing which among other things assessed ability to apply multiple uses to objects and find a greater number of solutions to a problem.

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98 percent of children score at a genius level for divergent thinking, although by the time they reach adulthood this amount falls to 2 percent. I would argue that this has everything to do with the schooling process where we are taught that there is one right answer to every question and it can found in the answer sheet at the back of the book. What this leads to is most people getting their narrative of reality almost exclusively from authority. Because they have never been afforded the opportunity to discover the difference between truth and falsehood for themselves, they pretty much take the social construction of reality of their culture at face value and never escape it. Never have the hope of escaping it.

My own avatar is from the cover of a science fiction book by Robert A. Heinlein called "Stranger in a Strange Land". In it the author uses the liberty afforded by the medium to illustrate the creation of a new religion from the grassroots up that actually IS, in this universe of his, the one true religion. I think it is a fascinating thought experiment.

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I've heard of playing 20 questions, but you've taken it to a whole new level. :lol:

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  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? I'd be timeless

  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying? failing takes a lot more effort than you presume

  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? we are all a five minute conversation away from knowing the truth of ourselves. so we spend most of our lives in a self-induced hypnotic state. R.D Laing claimed this process first starts at birth when we are hypnotized by our parents, We learn from the masters..

  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? I have thousands and thousands of hours of thoughts that have amounted to nothing. And I have failed more than most. And most people fail 99 percent of the time.

  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? myself (selfishness FTW)

  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? I don't allow myself to be happy nearly enough of the time to allow myself to answer this question honestly...

  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? I'm too busy procrastinating

  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? I'd have been liberated from my parents early enough in life to cross the threshold possibly... but who knows... the entire world would be a totally different animal.

  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? according to sam harris i am a rock falling downhill. and for all my libertarianism I have yet to refute that book. but uh... 2.1

  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? I'm not so sure I've advanced this far yet.

  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do? I'd probably be Scott Bakula

  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? stay away from the deli tray

  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one? laws are a socially constructed illusion. Ergo, no laws need to be broken to saved loved ones, only illusions... am I being metaphorical.

  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? I think I have a profound appreciation for the bad kids in school when at the time I viewed them only with incomprehension.

  15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people? I over-analyze

  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? I've yet to achieve a monopoly on feelings, curse you Dr. Phil!

  17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back? Be totally honest with the people I know. I am afraid of hurting them.

  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Yes.

  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? the place where the concept of state and country are really funny. I want it because I like to laugh.

  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster? Yes. and Yes.

  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? I reject the premise of this question.

  22. Why are you, you? trauma and recovery.

  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? never.

  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? number 2

  25. What are you most grateful for? I compulsively avoid that knowledge.

  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? more binary thinking... come on man!!! um... I don't know. This is like asking if there was a moral at the end of Eternal Sunshine or not. Actually... I'd prefer to have a sort of clockwork rotation to flick in an out of whatever state is convenient in the moment. I chose hypocrisy.

  27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? No. I only feel truly healthy when I feel anger at my idols, which I generally am not capable of because I have transference issues.

  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true? all of them. many times....

  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now? I think the mind can propagandize itself out of any hurt but the body never forgets. If the two work together, than we have a case of thesis-antithesis-synthesis on our hands. Damn you Hegel.

  30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special? It's all pretty vague.

  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? Standing on a mountain, overlooking a metaphor.

  32. If not now, then when? “When you realize that eternity is right here now, that it is within your possibility to experience the eternity of your own truth and being, then you grasp the following: That which you are was never born and will never die. ” - Joseph Campell

  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? the narcotizing comfort of failure.

  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? why do you torture me with these questions????

  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? love is the propaganda, war is the program.

  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? Yes.

  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? yes.

  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? more work I enjoy doing.

  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? I have. I am a robot programmed by history.

  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? yesterday on the top of a great green ocean

  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? I think I have that person in mind. But I won't allow myself to linger on this question long enough to feel it.

  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous? no son

  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living? being alive is simply to be caught up in the blind inertia of chance in the cosmos, to be truly living is to know you are the organ of the universe that is aware of itself. you are vested with unlimited potentialities which only ever fail to live themselves out because deep down you are more afraid of living than of dying. because if you are truly living, death is just a friend.

  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right? I am actually in that mode right now. I am trying to eliminate the part of my brain which is goal directed in the strict sense of always seeing one situation as a means to an end, and instead living in that situation as its own end, whatever it may be...

  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? its because our mistakes learn from us

  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? I think this thought experiment is a crutch. ideally, I'd be able to have perfect knowledge of other people's judging me and not be adversely effected by it to any significant extent.

  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? this morning while leaving the house. I do mindfulness excersizes where I alternate between breathing and listening too or watching what is going on around me, as well as the experiencing the feeling of my footsteps across the pavement.

  48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love? I am too afraid of my love to express it openly.

  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that? Yes. I have it all written down. I mean, technically that's cheating but cheating is just an invention us apes came up with so we could turn it into a club to bash each other with.

  50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? Letting others make my decisions IS a decision. In fact, I think it's the one decision doing the most damage in the world right now.

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