If You Think You’re a Genius, You’re Crazy

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Both geniuses and madmen pay attention to what others ignore.

When John Forbes Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician, schizophrenic, and paranoid delusional, was asked how he could believe that space aliens had recruited him to save the world, he gave a simple response. “Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way that my mathematical ideas did. So I took them seriously.”

Nash is hardly the only so-called mad genius in history. Suicide victims like painters Vincent Van Gogh and Mark Rothko, novelists Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway, and poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath all offer prime examples. Even ignoring those great creators who did not kill themselves in a fit of deep depression, it remains easy to list persons who endured well-documented psychopathology, including the composer Robert Schumann, the poet Emily Dickinson, and Nash. Creative geniuses who have succumbed to alcoholism or other addictions are also legion.

Instances such as these have led many to suppose that creativity and psychopathology are intimately related. Indeed, the notion that creative genius might have some touch of madness goes back to Plato and Aristotle. But some recent psychologists argue that the whole idea is a pure hoax. After all, it is certainly no problem to come up with the names of creative geniuses who seem to have displayed no signs or symptoms of mental illness.

The most important process underlying strokes of creative genius is the tendency to pay attention to things that normally should be ignored or filtered out.

Opponents of the mad genius idea can also point to two solid facts. First, the number of creative geniuses in the entire history of human civilization is very large. Thus, even if these people were actually less prone to psychopathology than the average person, the number with mental illness could still be extremely large. Second, the permanent inhabitants of mental asylums do not usually produce creative masterworks. The closest exception that anyone might imagine is the notorious Marquis de Sade. Even in his case, his greatest (or rather most sadistic) works were written while he was imprisoned as a criminal rather than institutionalized as a lunatic.

So should we believe that creative genius is connected with madness or not? Modern empirical research suggests that we should because it has pinpointed the connection between madness and creativity clearly. The most important process underlying strokes of creative genius is cognitive disinhibition—the tendency to pay attention to things that normally should be ignored or filtered out by attention because they appear irrelevant.1

When Alexander Fleming noticed that a blue mold was killing off the bacteria culture in his petri dish, he could have just tossed the latter into the autoclave like any of his colleagues might have done. Instead, Fleming won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of penicillin, the antibacterial agent derived from the mold Penicillium notatum. Many people have gone for a walk in the woods and returned with annoying burrs attached to their clothing, but only George de Mestral decided to investigate further with a microscope, and thereby discover the basis for Velcro.

Cognitive disinhibition proves no less beneficial in the arts than in the sciences. Artistic geniuses will often report how the germ for a major creative project came from hearing a tiny piece of casual conversation or seeing a unique but otherwise trivial event during a daily walk. For example, Henry James reported in his preface to The Spoils of Poynton that the germ of the story came from an allusion made by a woman sitting beside him at Christmas Eve dinner.

Exceptional intelligence alone yields useful but unoriginal and unsurprising ideas.

But cognitive disinhibition has a dark side: It is positively associated with psychopathology. For example, schizophrenics find themselves bombarded with hallucinations and delusions that they would be much better off filtering out.2 So why don’t the two groups become the same group? According to Harvard University psychologist Shelly Carson, the creative geniuses enjoy the asset of superior general intelligence. This intelligence introduces the necessary cognitive control that enables the person to separate the wheat from the chaff. Bizarre fantasies are divorced from realistic possibilities.

According to this conception, high intelligence is essential to creative genius, but only insofar as it collaborates with cognitive disinhibition. Exceptional intelligence alone yields useful but unoriginal and unsurprising ideas. Marilyn vos Savant made it into the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s highest recorded IQ, and yet has not managed to find a cure for cancer or even build a better mousetrap.

Some domains of creativity put far more emphasis on usefulness than on originality and surprise. In such cases, the vulnerability shared between genius and madness becomes much less critical. For example, psychopathology can be negatively correlated with creative genius in the hard sciences.3The interesting exception are the scientific revolutionaries who go against the prevailing paradigms.4For them, the relation is almost as positive as found for artists and writers.

It is also possible for certain events and circumstances in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood to enhance a person’s creative potential without resorting to the symptoms associated with mental illness.5 These diversifying experiences include multicultural exposure, bilingualism, and various forms of developmental adversity, such as parental loss, economic hardship, and minority status. Creative geniuses who grew up in such environments will actually be less likely to display traits or symptoms of psychopathology!6

But many geniuses do walk the line between the normal and the abnormal. For them, the barrage of impulses and ideas they perceive is a fount of creativity. As Nash said after an extended period of delusional thinking, his return to a more rational phase was “not entirely a matter of joy.” To explain why, he gave another simple reply. “Rationality of thought imposes a limit on a person’s concept of his relation to the cosmos.”

http://nautil.us/issue/46/balance/if-you-think-youre-a-genius-youre-crazy-rp

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Is Drunk You the Real You?

by Nick Leftley

Drinking can make you an angry, obnoxious, embarrassing asshole. But is that just your regular personality turned up to 11?

Sometimes, the “good” version of you — the one that successfully holds down a job, keeps a relationship together and maintains a semblance of a normal life — is eclipsed by a different one: Enter Drunk You. This is the you that thinks eight cheeseburgers is a reasonable dinner; that sees a fistfight as a valid response to being bumped into; that thinks, hey, it’s really important that I tell my much-more-sober boss every detail of the last 10 years of my sex life. Drunk You is the you that tries to loudly undo all the good that Sober You does, a rampaging super-nemesis hellbent on your destruction.

But as the ancient expression goes, In vino veritas — “in wine, truth.” Is, as some people believe, Drunk You just the real you, let loose from their cage by the inhibition-squashing effects of alcohol? Or is it some mutant transformation that occurs in our brains when sozzled? We turned to the experts for help.

Does alcohol give me a different personality?

This is a surprisingly complicated question, not least because personalities themselves are hard to define. “There is a real debate about what a personality is,” says Rachel Winograd, an assistant research professor at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health. “Does everyone have a core personality? Or is our personality totally dependent on where we are?” We show very different versions of ourselves in different situations — the you playing poker with your buddies is very different to the you that’s having lunch with your girlfriend’s grandmother — so Winograd argues that maybe Drunk You is just one more aspect of your personality, no more or less valid than any of the others.

Interestingly, no one notices the change in personality from Sober You to Drunk You more than, well, you. “I found that if you ask drinkers to report on how they think they are when they’re sober and how they think they are when they’re drunk, you see big differences. But if you ask strangers who are watching those people get drunk if they notice any differences, they really only see the difference in extraversion, and that’s it.” In other words, even though you might wake up the next day in a panic about just how crazy you acted the night before, to the casual onlooker, nothing much changed except for the fact that whatever you did, you did it louder than normal. “A lot of your personality is hard to see — it’s in your head, it’s your mood,” explains Winograd. “We’re able to report on it, as a drinker, better than someone else who is just watching us.”

This said, since alcohol is known to affect your personality by physically altering your brain chemistry — doing things like increasing aggression and lowering inhibitions — it can be argued that it is, indeed, shaping the form that Drunk You takes. “If you’re asking if alcohol changes your personality,” says Winograd, “Then we have research to suggest that, yeah, it does.”

If alcohol influences how I behave, does that mean Drunk Me should get a pass for whatever dumb thing I did last night?

The short answer here is that alcohol may be a reason, but that doesn’t necessarily make it an excuse. “You had a choice to pick up that drink, and that second one, and that third one,” says Winograd. “That being said, blackout is real, and people will do things while they are — even though they’re still walking around — effectively unconscious. They may do things they never would have done if they were sober. Does that mean that they are not responsible for it? No — they’re still responsible for it, but it may be true that they didn’t have the intention of doing it.”

Why does Drunk Me sometimes turn into such an angry, raging douchebag?

The answer you probably don’t want to hear is that maybe you’re just an angry person in general, and that alcohol amplifies this. But it’s also true that, at a chemical level, alcohol affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain — the part that deals with complex decision-making and, while sober, the part most responsible for keeping you out of trouble. It also messes with your serotonin levels, and since people with lower levels of serotonin tend to be more violent, booze can be a shortcut to a furious shoving match.

The bad news for problem drinkers is that, over time, these anger issues are only going to get worse. “Angry rages by regular drinkers are often the result of being deprived of REM [Rapid Eye Movement] sleep — the most restorative kind of sleep,” says Nicki Nance, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Fl. “Drunk people pass out straight into deep sleep. Depriving anyone of REM sleep for several nights in a row — even if they never drink — will make them irritable, suspicious, and even paranoid. If you couple that with the released inhibitions [that come with alcohol], it writes the script for a drunken rage.”

If Drunk Me is just regular me with no inhibitions, does that mean Drunk Me is more honest than Sober Me?

Since we tend to spill our guts when we’re hammered, it’s tempting to assume that this is the long-guarded truth that’s finally found an outlet. But this isn’t always the case. “For some people it’s true; for others it isn’t,” says Winograd. “It’s based on what their motives are. If this is something they’ve been keeping inside them for a while and let it out after a few drinks — and it sounds sincere — then I’d say it was probably something they’d kept bottled up inside them. But we also know that sometimes, we get carried away and misspeak. Alcohol can cause that to happen, so we shouldn’t always hold people to what they said when they’re drunk.”…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/is-drunk-you-the-real-you-5d5adf758a0c#.klmt9ptn4

 

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What Your Not Supposed to Know About Recovering from Diabetes

by Phillip Schneider, Staff Writer  Waking Times

Diabetes is considered to be one of the most common illnesses in western society. Nearly one in ten Americans have it, making it one of the most serious health epidemics of the 21st century.

The pancreas of a type 1 diabetic produces little to no insulin, which the body needs to carry glucose from the bloodstream to the cells of the body. This form is only found in about 5% of the population, and is usually diagnosed in children and teenagers. Typically, a type 1 diabetic will take frequent injections in order to maintain proper insulin levels in the body.

A type 2 diabetic has a similar problem. The most common form by far, type 2 diabetes is where the body does not know how to properly process insulin resulting in hyperglycemia, a rising of blood sugar levels beyond what is considered healthy.

“At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels.” ~American Diabetes Association

Some symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, extreme hunger, sudden vision changes, dry skin and more.

Dietary Choices Found To Aid In Reversing Diabetes

In 2010, Diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in America, but it doesn’t have to be, and scientists in the fields of natural medicine and nutrition have been working to find a cure.

In the documentary “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days,” several patients with diabetes were given the challenge of dropping their regular diets and living a purely raw vegan lifestyle for thirty days. The participants came from all different backgrounds, heritages, and weights.

These participants included Michelle, age 36 and obese; Bill, age 58 and had experienced total numbness in his feet due to the diabetes; Austin, age 25 with type 1 diabetes and a drinking problem; Kirt, age 25, who had a blood sugar level of 1200 (normal is about 80-100); Henry, age 58, who took 9 pills a day in addition to insulin; and Pam, age 62, who had diabetes throughout her family.

“You can chase them around with medicines and try to get it down, but you’re just chasing your tail. The fundamental thing in treating diabetes is what you put in your mouth.”~Dr. John Picken, Pam’s doctor

After only three days, the participants were seeing results. Austin was able to cut his insulin intake in half, while Pam was able to cut hers by one-third. Simultaneously, Kurt, Bill, and Henry’s blood sugar levels had all fallen into the normal range even after dropping all of their medications.

On day twelve, Henry had successfully dropped his blood sugar levels by 256 points and relieved himself entirely of his need for medication. However, on day 17 he felt that such a sudden change to his lifestyle was too much and his family took him home.

On day thirty, the results were in and the changes were astounding. Not only were each of them taking less medication with healthier blood sugar levels, but their energy levels and moods were improved as well. Michelle, Bill, and Pam were all freed from their medication (and 81 pounds collectively) and their blood sugar levels all dropped into the normal range. Austin had lost 20 pounds and reduced his daily insulin intake from 70 units to just 5. Kirt, who had blood sugar levels so high his doctor told him he “should be dead” dropped over eleven hundred points to as low as 73.

“No matter what anybody else says to me I know what I’m feeling and I know what I felt before…and I don’t need medication to not have to feel that way. That’s amazing.” ~Kirt

New Study Shows Fasting Can ‘Regenerate Diabetic Pancreas’

Additionally, new research has come out which shows that the pancreas of a diabetic person can be regenerated through fasting. Although this method shows some promise, no short-term or long-term human trials have been done, suggesting a raw food approach may be more sound. In fact, the diet fed to these mice was similar to the diet that the participants in the documentary had, but with 25 days of eating what they want, creating intermittent periods of feast and famine.

“Our conclusion is that by pushing the mice into an extreme state and then bringing them back – by starving them and then feeding them again – the cells in the pancreas are triggered to use some kind of developmental reprogramming that rebuilds the part of the organ that’s no longer functioning.” – Dr Valter Longo, University of Southern California

Although in certain individuals fasting has been found to produce benefits such as weight loss, speeding up of the metabolism, and a regeneration of the immune system, it can also lead to negative effects such as possible malnourishment, loss of muscle, loss of energy and more. People are advised not to try this without consulting a doctor.

There is Hope for Diabetics

For many, reclaiming your health could mean reclaiming your freedom. Remember that diabetes is a lifestyle disease. It was Hippocrates who said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” An increasing amount of research is proving that by following this advice, it is possible to prevent or even reverse ‘incurable’ diseases like diabetes.

About the Author
Phillip Schneider is a student and a staff writer for Waking Times.
This article (What Your Not Supposed to Know About Recovering from Diabetes) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Phillip Schneider and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/03/09/not-supposed-know-recovering-diabetes/

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