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Must One Risk Madness to Achieve Genius?

by Scott Barry Kaufman

Must one risk getting lost in the sea of madness in order to reach the lone island of genius? While not necessarily mad, creative minds are often chaotic, untethered and unhinged. These thought processes enable a creative person to bring together lots of seemingly disparate streams of information in a unique way not immediately obvious to those grounded in “reality.” Which creates an interesting paradox: How can creative geniuses simultaneously be mad and brilliant? Only recently, however, have scientists been able to find out both what connects madness and brilliance, and what separates them. It turns out the key to this riddle is a deeper understanding of the most psychologically important dimension of human personality: Openness/Intellect.

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