Skip to comments.There IS a link between genius and madness - but we don't know why we evolved this 'gift'
Posted on 06/04/2012 6:33:40 AM PDT by C19fan
There IS a link between creative genius and madness - with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder frequent in highly creative and intelligent people. The idea was investigated by a panel of scientists who had all suffered some form of mental disorder. Kay Redfield Jamison of John Hopkins school of Medicine, who suffers from bipolar disorder, said that intelligence tests on Swedish 16-year-olds had shown that highly intelligent children were most likely to go on to develop the disorder.
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And there IS a link between being born female, the moon, and bouts of temporary insanity.
We intelligent types do suffer! Sigh!
I always found John Nash to be a particularly interesting case because so much of his treatment was willpower to acknowledge his delusions as such. From there he was able to ignore them and they began to fade.
The intellect, like the will, is essentially spiritual, yet associated with the brain. If the intellect was purely material, it would reduce to a machine, capable of error, placing all thought in fundamental doubt. But since we can know some things with certainty, this premise must be false.
My point regarding the “murder gene” was meant to highlight the problem of reducing the mind and will to material phenomena.
Those who are truly smart do end up damaged. Mostly by having to deal with the utter idiocy of the rest of Humanity.
We devote a huge amount of resources to our brain because of the physical necessity of a larger brain to conduct higher cognitive function. If humans had “spirit” brains - why the associated physical cost in birthing and maintaining our large brains?
If someone gets a spike through the speech forming part of their brain and can no longer form words - is it a mechanical or a spiritual defect?
There has to be some environmental pressure which causes those people with the gene to be more successful at breeding than those without the gene. If a gene does not provide a dramatic increase in an organism's chance of breeding (or surviving to breed) then there's no reason for that gene to increase in the gene pool.
I don't see many examples of hyper-intelligence granting people increased breeding opportunities.
So in a society where intelligence was not valued - yes there would be less environmental pressure favoring greater intelligence.
But in general and in most human societies - intelligence is valued and intelligent people are favored by sexual selection - as well as general run of the mill selection - intelligence also contributing to affluence - which is also highly favored by sexual selection.
And there need not be a “dramatic increase” in reproductive success for a favored gene to reach penetrance in a population - just a minor incremental difference over many generations.
——Well any premise that intelligence or will is essentially spiritual is useless. Whereas any premise that it is a function of physical processes will be of use in terms of diagnosis, understanding, and further study.——
Truth trumps utility.
It’s not wise to base empirical sciences on false premises.
—— We devote a huge amount of resources to our brain because of the physical necessity of a larger brain to conduct higher cognitive function. If humans had spirit brains - why the associated physical cost in birthing and maintaining our large brains?——
Does anyone know? How could we know?
Because thought is associated with brain activity, we can’t necessarily conclude that thought is brain activity.
Again, if the brain is simply a complex machine, then it can malfunction. Therefore, any assertion can be doubted. All knowledge would be probable, at best. But since we know some things with certainty, I.e., truth exists, the premise that the mind is a machine must be false.
Or look at it another way. If thought reduces to a material phenomenon, then one arrangement of molecules in the brain would have no more intrinsic worth than any other arrangement. So my idea that “thought is essentially spiritual” has no more or less value than your idea that “thought is essentially material.” Yet we know with certainty that one of these ideas must be superior to the other. So the premise of a purely material intellect must be false.
-—If someone gets a spike through the speech forming part of their brain and can no longer form words - is it a mechanical or a spiritual defect?-—
Mechanical. But this is lower order brain activity, beneath the level of the intellect, which deals with universals.
This highlights another conundrum created by materialist epistemology. How can anyone know whether one’s thoughts conform with reality, if man is a machine? How can anyone know that an external reality even exists?
Aristotle answered these questions long ago. But the rigorous, commonsensical answer is very lengthy, and requires an understanding of his notion of matter and form.
This link provides an overview:
The following will only be of interest to anyone deeply interested in the subject.
There is disagreement between Aristoteleans and Thomists regarding “sense impressions” (phantasms in Thomism.) I prefer Aristotle’s brilliant solution to this problem, with his theory regarding “cognoscitive matter.”
This article by Mortimer Adler explains:
Gary Habermas and —IIRC— David Moreland are exploring this issue via studying near death and death experiences. Most folks do not realize to what extent these studies have discovered an awareness that person can have while their brain is not showing ANY activity, yet the patient has memories when brought back that they could not have based on purely a physical brain phenomenon.
The truth is generally of use - while specious theological musings are generally useless - despite how “true” the formulator of such thinks it is.
What do you think you know of a certainty such that mind couldn't possibly be a machine?
You claim that if truth exists then the mind cannot be a machine? One does not logically follow from the other - despite how much you think it does or how many times you repeat it.
Taller people with larger brains tend to have higher intelligence. Do they have a better “spirit” brain or a better “physical” brain?
An arrangement of molecules and cells where cognitive function is achieved has more intrinsic worth (as far as cognitive function) than one where cognitive function cannot be achieved.
Someone who induced brain damage through regular excessive alcohol consumption does suffer a defect in ‘higher order’ brain function. Do they suffer from a “spiritual” defect or a “physical” defect?
When cognitive function is reduced after eating a large meal due to reduced blood flow to the brain - is the person suffering from a “physical” defect or a “spiritual” defect?
I believe there is measurable mate-selection preference between the profoundly stupid and the moderately intelligent, but in regards to mate-selection I believe that the average male is intelligent 'enough.' Additionally, it's only been fairly recent (in terms of human history) that hyper-intelligence has translated to much greater wealth than the moderately intelligent. A moderately intelligent hunter/gatherer could produce as much food and acquire as much wealth as a hyper intelligent hunter/gatherer. Neither the (hypothetical) hyper-intelligent hunter/gatherer nor his off spring gained any reproductive edge from the increase in intelligence.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that there haven't been enough generations of humans, during which hyper-intelligence would make a reproductive difference, for selection to occur and make an impact on the gene pool. The fact is that the opportunity for this type of selection to occur is passed: we pay the least capable among us to reproduce, which in turn causes the capable to have fewer children due to the lack of resources (taxes for socialism). Sure, it's possible that we may witness an increase in the number of geniuses but they'll be swamped by the moderate and low intelligent.
It didn’t evolve. It’s a natural result of being as much higher in intelligence as the average person is higher in intelligence than a moron with an IQ of 50. Imagine living in a world like that and you will understand the link between genius and madness.
There are countless things that are true that aren’t useful. Or, the uselessness of a thing does not affect its truth.
Regarding the intellect, like the will, it’s an aspect of the soul, or “form,” of the body, in the Aristotelean sense. That is, the soul is the organizing principle of the material body. It is a simple spiritual substance —it has no parts.
In life, the soul is united to the body, causing the body to act coherently as an organism. When the soul is separated from the body at death, the body breaks down into its constitutive components —it decomposes.
The difference in bodily functions in the moments before and after death are incrementally different —no different in degree from the incremental bodily changes leading up to death. Yet something radical happens at death. The body ceases to act as a whole —even while components of the body may continue to live for a time.
If the soul is the organizing principle of the body, it is fully integrated with the body, and changes to the body will affect the soul (while not decomposing it), and changes to the soul will affect the body.
Finally, the idea of the soul accounts for the experience of self, which atomistic materialism cannot explain in a noncontradictory manner.
Let me know if you have any links. I’ve heard contradictory reports about the subject.
A more intelligent human can out hunt, out trade, out farm, out fight and out plan a less intelligent human of otherwise equal ability.
Intelligence has always been correlated with wealth, for as long as there has been wealth. Every human invention and innovation has as its author - a highly successful and intelligent individual. The inventor of the spear thrower - as just one example - no doubt had great reproductive success.
There have been at least 100,000 years worth of human generations of fully modern humans - plenty of time for a gene for greater intelligence that had no associated drawback to be favored.
My point is that almost everything has a drawback - there is no such thing as a free lunch.
As far as socialism encouraging layabouts to reproduce - thankfully that is a very recent ‘innovation’ and a symptom of how little scarcity of resources is a problem in the modern industrialized world.
Is the person born with dwarfism because the organizing principle of their material body is a defective “soul” - or is it that the organizing principle of their material body is DNA with a defective bone elongation factor?
Certainly in our past that sort of superstitious and primitive thinking prevailed - and anyone born with dwarfism was reviled as having a stunted soul.
Does someone born with Down syndrome has less of a soul than most people? They are certainly less intelligent than most people. Do they also therefore have less of a soul, or do they have more DNA than was optimal?
I think we’re spinning wheels at this point. Best to you.
Well yes, because your formulation is absolutely useless and renders you unable to answer even the simplest questions about it, you are “spinning wheels” stuck in the mud of your own devising - and you will stay there - because you will not avail yourself of the physical understanding that would pull you out of the mud.
That is the fate of all who seek to explain physical phenomena via mystical means. It is useless and lead nowhere to no further understanding or discovery or application.
The truth is useful. Your theological musing that the brain is “spiritual” is useless.
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