“We might say that both the artist and the neurotic bite off more than they can chew, but the artist spews it back out again and chews it over in an objectified way, as an external, active, work project.” — Ernest Becker
I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between creativity and madness. Timothy Leary famously said,” In order to use your head you’ve got to go out of your mind.” Now this of course implies a willingness to go to unknown places, to visit mental landscapes that are alien. A willingness to sort of leave one’s comfort zone, to recondition one’s thinking, one’s reflexive responses to stimuli and to got to other realms of the mind.
Catalyzing the imagination is like diving head first into the unknown. There’s always a potential of getting hurt.I feel that the mystic and the madman are swimming in the same waters. But the mystic, like an artist –surfing up and down– is bringing back visions and souvenirs from these ecstatic spaces and places.
But at the end of the day the artist does become depleted. The artist is sacrificing a part of himself to bring back those visions that create a phase change in the consciousness of society. He leaves the consensus trance. He leaves our cultural operating systems. He shows us different reality tunnels that gives us a sense of perspective.
We, as consumers of art, pay money for them to take us to spaces that we cannot go by ourselves. They are heroes. They are cultural luminaries! They are madmen that have somehow been able to coax and domesticate their madness towards useful ends! They bring forth ideas that have only functional output and go to awes. They see through the looking glass, tumble down the rabbit hole and somehow return to tell the tale.