If creativity is insanity
Let no cure be found:
Dr. Ruwan M. Jayatunga has written an article on G. B. Senanayaka for
a weekly. That is quite an article! It talks about GB's psychological
conditions as shown in his literary works.
This brought me to my schooldays. It should be Grade six or above.
Our Sinhala textbook had a short story or two by GB. Since that was the
beginning of the adolescence, I still remember how our teacher
interpreted the story. She said it was a self-referential story. Then I
secretly thought GB should be a psychopath, but did not dare let that
thought out. I was scared of adult wrath - it would be intellectual
wrath, if it was now.
Wait! Because I know you have misunderstood me. I do not want to
label GB as a mere psychopath. GB is a genius whose imagination was
stretched into far away regions.
So to say... If GB had psychological problems - let's say 'insanity'
for convenience's sake - I do not want medicos to find cure for that.
Because that insanity serves people; inspires nations.
What about some more examples?
Most of the world renowned literary figures do not have a perfect
health record - that is to say they were not mentally balanced. Oxford
Dictionary is said to have been initiated by a mental health patient.
Remember Shelley who said: 'our sweetest songs are those that tell of
saddest thought.' If you are normal, then you wouldn't feel the sorrow
of this world. More you become sensitive more you become insane. There
is another level even beyond sanity and insanity, but that's too hard
for the mortal layman to reach. So the man with a little insanity gladly
roams around his familiar forte.
Why do people take alcohol and say they are so much inspired by that?
Actually there is truth in what they say. A Buddhist would say such
inspiration is not necessary, because it is not right thinking. This is
true too. Creative thinking is not always right thinking. It is creative
and nothing more than that. Sometimes it can be utter silly and at times
it can be of little use.
Let's take William Shakespeare and Martin Wickramasinghe for example.
I don't know that much to say whether Shakespeare had taken alcohol or
not, but Wickramasinghe's colleagues recall good times of sharing vodka
with him. Both these literati ushered in a tradition to last long. When
the mind is relaxed, and out of senses, imagination turns out on the
boil for the right imaginative person.
The Sinhalese idioms point finger at a pundit who cannot go steady on
a bridge. This is basically because he is thought to be mentally
imbalanced. That's why we see utterly mad people come out with brilliant
Then what's the bottom line? Should we all become insane for the sake
of creativity? Insanity is good as long as it doesn't become too much,
because then it gives hard time to your associates.
E. W. Adikaram gave up reading, because too much of it spoils your
virgin mind. This is also linked with what the Zen master taught the
professor. The master let the tea cup overflow, and, upon inquiry, said
the mind should be empty to grasp something afresh. The Buddha compared
pure mind to a mud-free pond in which even a little stone is quite
Too much of reading may make you insane, but at the same time it
whets your imagination and creativity power - depending on the type of
books you read, though. As a friend of a friend of mine said, continuous
reading will make you sensitive to insensitivity; in other words, insane
to the sanity.
Back to G. B. Senanayaka. I have no dispute with Dr. Jayatunga; I
have seen many of his articles centred on psychological elements in
Even so, if GB was just sane, he would never earn this covetous
literary reputation. email@example.com