Friday, April 22, 2016

"Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains"

"Perhaps the most important aspect of ADHD creativity is the way ideas strike like epiphanies, lighting up the brains of people with the condition in a rush of excitement and activity, almost compelling them to try to turn them into reality. Rousseau describes stumbling upon the title of a prize essay competition in a newspaper while walking in the searing heat to visit his friend Denis Diderot in prison outside Paris. ‘Has the progress of the arts and sciences contributed more to the corruption or purification of morals?’ the question read.
‘The moment I read these words I saw another universe and became another man,’ Rousseau writes. ‘When I arrived in Vincennes I was in a state of agitation bordering on delirium.’
Diderot encouraged him to follow his urges and enter the competition. ‘I did so, and from that moment on I was lost,’ Rousseau continues. ‘My feelings, with incredible rapidity, had soon risen to the same pitch of fervour as my ideas. All my little passions were stifled by my enthusiasm for truth, for liberty, for virtue…’
People with ADHD often experience their new ideas as‘mini-epiphanies’, but those Rousseau describes seem so powerful and transformative that Littman suspects ADHD, which is more of a cognitive than an emotional condition, is not the whole story.
‘I would say that more than 45 per cent of those who come to my practice also have some kind of bipolar thing going on, and that is my suspicion here,’ she says.‘When you add bipolar, you’re simply adding the mood piece on top of it. The idea is larger and more exciting but it can also become more all-enveloping, and thwart good judgement to an even greater extent.’"


edutcher said...

It's always seemed to me ADHD was an excuse for union teachers to dope up undisciplined students rather than make them behave.

Of course, you'd need the school board and parents to actually give a damn about their kids.

Chip Ahoy said...

In the searing heat of the city while walking to visit a friend in prison he noticed an advertisement for a contest to write the best essay: How do morals advance with civilization?

Why, the very thought made his head spin.

By the time he arrived at the prison he was a changed person boink just like that. Man I hate when that happens because how is one expected to know how to dress? Who can predict the new man's requirements? And there he was a new man in his older self's clothing, wholly inappropriate for his new conditions. He felt positively foolish. Worse, he could not just rush home and change clothes, no, he had to rush into Paris and buy an entire new wardrobe, at the time, one pair of shoes, three pairs of socks, two pairs of trousers, two shirts, one jacket, and a new hat. His new self is not dapper, just more sensible, more apt, for fitting for his new sensibilities. You see in the photographs of the time a freshly appearing new man.

Yeah, that happened to me too a couple of times. Except nobody called it a condition other than simply thinking and growing up.

Methadras said...

All this does article does is try to romanticize and seek to normalize mental illness as a creative outlet for art rather than treating it like a menace.

MamaM said...

The idea is larger and more exciting but it can also become more all-enveloping, and thwart good judgement to an even greater extent.’"

And it all comes down to who determines "good judgement" and how it is measured.

Jim in St Louis said...

Man is born free and is everywhere in chains. = Bullshit

The ADHD angle seems suspect to me, it seems sort of a faddish disorder.

Btw- I have never heard of ADHD applied to a girl. Only boys are seen as too rambunctious and are punished when they can’t sit still for long periods of time listening to female teachers blah blah blah.

ricpic said...

"The ADHD angle seems suspect to me, it seems sort of a faddish disorder."

Agreed. It's also an example of the reductionism that material;sits practice. Oh, Rousseau couldn't have had a brilliant idea (by his lights) and been essentially ravished by his own brilliance. No, he had to have been in thrall to a condition. Which turns Rousseau, whatever you may think of him, into a puppet instead of a man.

ricpic said...


ndspinelli said...

There is ADHD and there is also a sinful number of over diagnosis of ADHD, particularly of normal, energetic, boys. Boys like Edison would have been so drugged they would not have been able to become anything but gas station attendants.