Creativity, Sadness, & Anxiety | Philosophy Tube

In Part 1 of this series we learned what creativity is, and in Part 2 I gave you three rules to unlock your creativity. And in this Part 3 we broaden our horizons and start to look beyond ourselves. Have you ever noticed that a lot of creative people can
be quite sad? Even depressed, sometimes? Virginia Woolf had bipolar disorder; the playwright Sarah Kane had depression; Van Gogh cut his own ear off! Is there a link between creativity and sadness, even illness? Some people have claimed that there are statistical correlations between creativity and various forms of neurodivergence – that’s a fancy word meaning brains that
are statistically less common. Not necessarily ill, or disabled, just examples of natural
variation in human brains. The idea is that if you have a different brain you can think
in ways that are more creative and original than somebody with a more statistically common brain. Like for instance, one study has said that there’s a correlation between creativity and dyslexia,
which may have a neuroanatomical component. Moving from the neurological to the psychological,
some creative people say that they have Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is not believed to be a mental or psychological disorder. It is not classified as a medical issue despite the medical-sounding name. It’s the tendency for some people to be
unable, to a greater or lesser degree, to internalize their achievements. To accept
that they have done well. People who have these feelings sometimes say that they worry people will find out that they’re a fraud, that they’re not as talented as everyone says, or that they just got lucky. Some studies say that women are more likely to experience these feelings that men; other studies say that men are just less likely to report feeling them. Some people who say that they have these feelings are Dame Judi Dench, Emma Watson, and YouTube’s own Tomska. In his book “The Master and His Emissary,” Ian McGilchrist says that the right hemisphere of the brain, which has long been thought
to be the more creative of the two, is also more prone to experiening feelings like sadness. If it is the case that the right hemisphere plays a central role in creativity that might explain why creative people can sometimes get sad as well. But – eeeehhh. “The Master and His Emissary,” very interesting book, but in a few places it goes too far and I know in a few places it’s actually just downright wrong. The lateralisation of brain activity is not well understood and it’s tempting to let the myths about creativity run away with you and say more than brain science really can. We also need to be very careful not to romanticise mental illness:
the stereotype of the tormented artist whose illness is integral to their creativity: it’s
not a useful one when it comes to helping people live happy, healthy lives. So maybe we need a different kind of theory. In their book “Art and Fear” David Dayles and Ted Orland say that creativity is by its
nature personal and vulnerable. So of course it can make you sad or anxious sometimes! I asked some of the fans of this show whether being creative ever makes them feel sad, and a lot of them said that they worry they don’t make anything of real value or that they’re not “real artists.” But to say that you’re not a “real artist” is to compare yourself to some image of real artist that you have in your head. And it might be a very unrealistic ideal. We compare ourselves to ideals of artists who get everything right first time and it’s totally easy to them and it all comes off without a
hitch, but that is not how art is made. Tolstoy rewrote “War and Peace” eight times. We don’t see all the times Michelangelo went, “Ah, bollocks!” We don’t see
all the bum takes and the bad rehearsals that go into a Daniel Day Lewis performance – you don’t even see all the outtakes that go into this show! We only see the product of creativity, never the process, so maybe creativity makes us sad because we have an unrealistic expectation of what it’s like. But I wanna bring this down to the real world
for a second. A while ago I went to Summer in the City, the big YouTube convention that
happens here in the UK, and I went to a panel called, “Popularity Vs Integrity.” All the panelists were all talking about what causes them to sacrifice their integrity, what causes them to feel bad about the things they create. And do you know what they all
mentioned? Money. In fact, you might not have realized it Liam, Sammy, and the others, but what every single one of you on that panel described was Marxist alienation from the act of laboring! Karl Marx said that feeling bad about what
you make, feeling frustrated or unfulfilled in your labour, happens because of capitalism: a system that pushes people to work, and work, and work constantly to make profit for someone else, rather than work when they want to and because they find it fulfilling. He says of course creation can make you sad or anxious because you’ve gotta keep doing it even when you don’t want to! Keep painting paintings, keep composing music, have a YouTube video ready every single week, coz under capitalism if you stop you lose your home and you starve to death! He says of course that’s a bleak way to live, and you’re right if it makes you upset! If you wanna know more about Karl Marx, I did a whole series about him ages ago: you can see it by clicking that card that’s just appeared in the top right. Now you don’t have to be a committed Marxist to see the point, which is that it’s real world stuff that gets creative people
down. Like Yeats didn’t write melancholy, angry poetry because he was a moody genius with a special brain; no, he wrote angry poetry because his country was occupied by the English for 700 years and it pissed him off! Of course Laurence Olivier got sad sometimes! Have you read his autobiography? The man’s personal life was a mess! Of course Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart” is a bit of a downer; it’s about a whole culture being destroyed by colonialism. Art is never made in a
vacuum: it’s always created in some sociopolitical context and that can massively affect how the creator feels. So maybe there’s nothing intrinsic about creativity that makes people sad, maybe it’s the context of production that’s the real
depressant. But here’s something really cool: we’ve looked at three different answers to this question of why creativity can sometimes go hand in hand with sadness: the brains explanation; the vulnerability and the unrealistic ideals explanation; and the background context stuff. But all three explanations are actually consistent. All three could all be going on at the same time. Which one you focus
on will depend on you, and all three are perfectly respectable avenues for research. Over the course of this series we’ve explored what creativity is, how you can be creative, and the link between creativity and sadness. There’s a list in the doobleydoo of all the sources I’ve cited, plus some extra ones!
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100 thoughts on “Creativity, Sadness, & Anxiety | Philosophy Tube

  1. It's difficult when doing research on the brain if your an amatuer (like myself) – there's a lot of quick fix articles out there. Sure you can go through the painstaking research yourself and end up being able to condense it all down to some simple principles, but that isn't always the case nor is it always desired.

    Quite a few avenues of research have come together that coincently relate directly to this video (great minds think alike?).

    I've always been well behind on philosophy and really didn't know if I wanted to get into it. I'm sorry to say that – at least from my own understanding – that dialectics and dialectic materialism isn't going down well with me. I've attempted to read Das Capital – really you can't argue with the first few chapters I suppose, and maybe only a masochist would read futher. But the whole idea of thesis and anti-thesis just goes against my nature. I'm am much more from a scientific and engineering background – I realize that I guess I am a positivist… I don't like to argue black versus white. I'm not going to write off Marx, but realizing that dialetic materialism essentially gives a green light to risk and stress as a way of living and so is really a philosophy of conflict, and turns me off. I don't see how dialectic materialism can chime with feminism for example. Women have different priotities to men and their risky ventures. To me positivism and the scientific method seem more feminist than Marxism. Marxists (one of my friends is a Neo-Marxist cock) have always seemed very masculine to me. But then I recognise that Positivism is just a step away from technocratic absolute rule without democracy… dictatorship (oh well…).

    I've been researching brain biology for a couple of years now (I'm not an expert, and even experts are wary of making conclusions from their findings). We have two reward circuits – one for dopamine and one for serotonin: dopamine being more concentrated in the prefrontal cortex and serotonin in the frontal lobes and pretty much cross the rest of the cortex across the top of the brain to the visual cortex at the back. Just literallly before watching this video I was watching another video on arousal centres (for sex) in males and females, and also reading an article in a web psychology magazine on dopamine and serotonin in males and females and the right sid eof the brain versus the left side of the brain.

    Maybe there really is lateralization – left brain and right brain – here?… I've read plenty of stuff on the internet saying there is (but I so far haven't read any scientific paper yet – there could be some… I just haven't got around to finding them). In a magazine article I was reading the left side of the brain is more influenced by dopamine. Apparently the left side of the brain has more androgen receptors as well according to another source I read. The right side of the brain is more influenced by serotonin and this side of the brain has more estrogen receptors. Supposedly, the right side is more creative (as you say) and the left side is more analytical. Dopamine brain disorders such as schizophrenia and ADHD are more common in men, whereas Serotonin disorders such as depression are more common in women. That suggests, women use the right side of their brains more the left (though I've read research that this is not the case – and so it could just be a feature of people with depression) and MRI scans of male and female brains shows more difference between men and women in the right hemisphere, with women having thicker cortexes on the right hemisphere than men. Men do apparently use the left hemisphere more than the right hemisphere though.

    Interestingly it seems parts of the brain targeted with dopamine are linked with female sexual arousal, and parts of the brain targeted with serotonin are linked with male sexual arousal (I just took a video from ASAPscience on male and female orgasm and matched it to target areas for serotonin and dopamine in the brain). Orgasm uses the same parts of the brain in both sexes though. But this suggests that if males tried think more with the right side of their brain that is supposedly more targeted with serotonin that they will become sexually aroused. And with women, if they tried using more the left side of their brain that is supposedly more targetted with dopamine then they well become sexually aroused that way. LOL – so if men and women tried to think like each other they'll get mentally unstuck with sexual heat. I am wary of such a conclusion, but maybe it is true?… I've seen males trying to join in with their wives/girlfriends in activities such as textiles, and delicate manipulation of cloth between their fingertips while in a female type social environment drives men to pure frustration. While females can have multiple oragsms from doing hard exercise such as sprinting or ab crunches etc that would be stereotypically attributed to male workouts.

    Also, to link back to dialetic materialism and stress – dopamine is released following acheiving goals from risky or stressful activities (which includes orgasm… which is followed by a release of prolactin). Men make more dopamine in their brains than women do – this is because women have higher levels of prolactin that supress dopamine levels. Also, in recent researc I've done, it seems women thrive better than males in lower stress environments than males do – learning much better than males… whereas males learn better than females in higher stress risky environments. So men are naturally more competitve than women – this seems down to a nuclei in the brain called the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), which is sexually dimorphic (and also linked with transgenderism as transgender individuals have a BNST of the opposite sex among, other brain differences) which drives competitive learning behaviour. Remove the BNST in males and they adopt female learning patterns of behaviour (as well as mating behaviour – I am talking about studies on rodents of course… though case studies revealing the role of the BNST from disease or abnormalities in males and females of the BNST have corrobated research on rodents).

    So yeh, is the positivism and scientific approach naturally more feminine – that of curiosity (and creativity)? more calm. And Marxism and dialectoc materialsim more masculine and more political and antagonistic and heated? Well I can't say for sure – despite a couple of years of amatuer research.

    Maybe (and perhaps experts do this – Stockholm Syndrome is not a recognised psychological condition apparently.. and condition used often to portray stereotypes of male and female behaviour) their needs to be an overhauling of how we look at behaviour that isn't so male-centric perhaps? Research into painkillers shows that what works on males doesn't work in females – so applying male standards of behaviour onto women and then using that to justify Stokholm Syndrome type behaviours probably isn't the way to go if men and women use different stress circuits, reward networks and pretty much different parts of the brain for everything it seems (based on these net magazine articles I keep coming across) – I.E. we should stop thinking of women as "lesser-males" (or even of males as "Lesser Females"). We all have a masculine and feminine side that we use interchangeably given the situation at hand. Sure men and women are different – but they don't live in different worlds.

    (what a fucking ramble)

  2. Is it possible that nurodiverse people can be more creative because they get practice while finding ways to fit into the NT world?

    And as to the we don't see the mistakes thing, I think of Lata Mangeshkar. She is a singer in Hindi cinema and does the dubbed in music for actresses who can't sing, and she's able to get most songs down in one or two takes. How? It's because she's recorded over 25,000. When I'm writing and it doesn't sound very good, I just tell myself it's one more step to greatness.

  3. I've also read research that suggests those with depression have more complex brains with many shorter slower neural connections that lead to greater brain entropy. Less depressed people have less complex brains with fewer longer faster neural connects that lead to less brain entropy (as found in schizophrenia). Women and older people (with more information centent in their brains – so higher entropy) tend to suffer more from depression.

  4. I kind of go one step further than simply thinking I'm bad at the process of making art, nothing I've ever written is something I could comfortably call creative or good. It doesn't matter how positive anyone who reads it is, I can never look past the flaws (real or imagined) in something that I wrote or feel satisfied with the finished product. What happens more often than not is I start something, then I restart it over and over again until I've convinced myself whatever I was writing was a dumb idea in the first place or I f*cked it up in a way that would be near impossible to fix and I throw it all out, then I hate myself for doing that. It's not exactly a "fun" cycle to go through.

  5. Thunder. Old bone, wire. Knuckle beat. I know it. Great oily stone. The Cold. It's hard. Looming weight. Another wave – gentle feet – creatures, pebbles and shells. Washed under your heaving shape…. Will you ever know? – I don't join… I want to – but, still, will you ever? I breathe. I finally shiver. I must go. But I'll come back – as if I never.

  6. I just had to laugh when you jumped to Marx and capitalism because I think this video is a nightmarish future scenario of the media landscape for an alt-right 'skeptic' or whatever

  7. Hey so I have a few questions, number one why is it that people don't just disagree with but are straight up hostile towards Marxist/communist ideologies, it's probably a lot more common here in America but I don't understand why. And as someone that doesn't lean either way it's a bit annoying, I don't really understand the material fully (when I was watching your Marx series I was just like, and this is important because? I'll figure out what the deal is eventually). Also I'm wondering when thinking about the world and stuff (vague I know) how do you come up with new stuff (you probably answered this in your how to be creative vid so I'll rewatch that again but hear me out). I feel like whenever I try to talk about something I have to pull from what someone else has said before me and use counter arguments against specifically arguments I've heard get counter argued and only with those exact counter arguments, but whenever someone address a topic from a different angle or rephrases something slightly differently, even if it makes no sense, is straight up wrong, or it is just a repackaged version of the same thing I can't seem to take the new thing, think about it and logically rebut it or explain why I disagree, hopefully that made sense. So how do I think about things that I haven't been spoon fed the answer, I can't seem to think about stuff when I do it in the real world, you know what I mean (probably just because I'm dumb tho).

  8. I wonder if another problem might be that creative people are thinking more about life, and thinking more about life leads to dealing with unpleasant truths or obscure points of view.  People who are less creative might have less in their minds to work with and create new ideas out of, because they're blocking out unpleasant things, and focusing on the comfortable.

    I've given this a lot of thought, particularly why suicide rates are so high among stand-up comedians.  Speaking for myself, I think I've trained my brain to take the world around me apart and look for new material, but this leads me to overthinking everything (including this).  Overthinking leads to mental stress and fatigue, which leads to all sorts of disorders.

  9. I think I am nothing, but listening to this video sent chills down my spine. 'Imposter Syndrome' resonates powerfully with me. I now wonder why I would write this in the comments. Am I talking to 'myself'?

  10. I think there is a confounding factor in the link between creativity and emotional/mental 'torment'.
    Creative people tend to dive into themselves and reach into their psyche. Nietzsche was also keenly aware and described how diving into yourself can make you 'insane'. I don't think creativity has much to do with sadness or mental illness, in my experience as an artist in art school, I've only met one person with legitimate mental health issues. That's less than a 1/4 of a percent.
    I think that the fact people face themselves is what brings out the feelings of 'torment' and 'sadness' associated with creativity, because creativity often involves this introspection and self-confrontation. We can see this sort of introspection and self-confrontation in non-artistic fields as well, like celebrities and actors, or in people who experience clinical depression, and when people hit milestones in their lives such as the death of a loved one which makes them reevaluate themselves.

  11. Olly, I have an idea. I suggest an episode on the topic of mental illness as social construct. What is a mental illness and what is just a divergence from the norm and how this distinction is crafted by the powers that be.

  12. I think the reason that most artist (at least visual artists as a concept artist) I believe most most artists feel like imposters since we have people we look up to and compare ourselves to, which isn't helpful in the long term because, especially in visual arts: You Never stop learning and improving, so you're going to beat yourself up trying to get to the next level which is the worst way to go about it

  13. One thing that might cause anxiety is the lack of skills to transfer the abstract idea or inspiration into a real product (music track, painting, writing etc.). When the result is not what you had in mind you get frustrated. The ideas keep appearing but you don't know how to process them.

  14. Being depressed or just in a melancholic state is what fuels my creative drive most of the time. To me, inspiration is a moment of sentimental disarray. My emotions have to reach extremes in their positive or negative spectrum to inspire wayward thoughts

  15. i wanna romanticize my mental disorder. Now i demand you imagine me writing this half way through swirling a bandy glass periodically saying out loud "alass"

  16. if all businesses where state owned people would still be alienating by there work. people dependent on the state breeds lazyness

  17. While the video (and the series as a whole) have been very interesting and thought provoking, it didn't touch the heart of the problem for ME. I'm trying to be a creative person, and I do feel confident about many things I do, but I still suffer from (sometimes crippling) anxiety. For me it comes from the disappointment in myself for not living up to my potential, for not doing enough and training enough to better myself, to create ever greater art. Whenever I waste time on meaningless entertainment I'm angry at myself for wasting potential. (Also, I admit I was hoping for some advice for dealing with this sort of sadness, but I guess that's a little too much to ask for.)

  18. I wasn't there so I can't say for certain, but I'm not sure artists feeling guilty about compromising their integrity for money is entirely to do with Capitalism. I mean, the fact that they're referring to money as the source of their problem is 100% capitalism and I'm sure the money itself at least plays a role in it all, but I don't think if we got rid of the money that those feelings would go away, or that they would all stop doing things they felt was compromising.

    It doesn't apply across the board, but for the most part in our capitalist societies making more money off of art often equates to reaching either a larger number of people or a more exclusive set of people. One of the hardest parts I have with doing creative work is less about whether or not I'm getting paid and more about the work I'm most proud of all falls into areas with very small demographics. For instance, I don't personally know anybody who's remotely interested in reading essays on temporal mechanics or interpretations of They Might Be Giants lyrics.

    But since we're already talking about They Might Be Giants I'd also cite them as an example of artists who have no problem taking jobs doing stuff like commercial jingles or TV theme tunes (both in their own style and in completely different styles entirely dictated by their clients). It doesn't stop them from making their own stuff or affect their personal style at all because those are just jobs to them so they don't need to worry about losing any part of their identity by doing them. I think that's what most artists actually feel guilty and/or sad about when it comes to "selling out". When they make decisions that they feel sacrifices part of their identity in some way. They may do this in exchange for money, yes, but often it's also more importantly in exchange for reaching a wider audience. TMBG don't hide the freelance work they do, but they also don't use those jobs to promote themselves so only people who are already big enough fans to bother looking those projects up ever even know about most of them, which leads me to believe that being able to separate that work from their own probably has something to do with not having to feel guilty about it.

    I think there might also be problems involving artists who are well known enough to get certain offers that are based only on their celebrity rather than their actual work, and I can see that as leading somewhere more like the alienation you describe, except that it would be less about being overworked and more about the work itself not even being necessary. I can see that making some people feel just as insecure about the actual value of the work they're most proud of as I do from my tiny demographics. But is already a TL;DR post so I'll just leave that idea there.

  19. The context idea doesn't seem right. If it's the context of art that makes the artist depressed, then there wouldn't be a greater number of depressed artists. One's environment doesn't change based on one's profession.

  20. i just uploaded a video today about me leaving my job because of my anxiety. everyone was dissapointed in me, mostly because I was making $800 biweekly but, I just couldn't do it with my anxiety.

  21. Hey Olly! I was wondering if maybe you would make a video about Cosmicism sometime, i'm a huge fan of H. P. Lovecraft and his philosophy sounds so interesting, so if you could make a video about it it would be awesome!!

  22. Your videos just make me feel good and happy, and also teach me a lot about things we usually don't over think during a normal day. Thanks for that!!!

  23. Hello Olly, I just wanted to recommend a series for the future and was wondering what you taught about the idea.

    Democracy vs Autocracy. Which one? Why? Details and such.

    I am deeply fascinated with politics. But I was wondering what would lead the human mind to prefer one over another. And I am hoping you might answer that question.

    A reply would be kindly appreciated, I really would want to know what your response would be to this request.

  24. Wait, under any system you pretty much have to work constantly or else you would not be able to get what you need to survive. As far as I learned, the alienation is not because there are consequences to not working. The consequences of not fighting to survive have always been you would die. It's just that, under capitalism, what your work does, who it benefits, why it is done, is to benefit some abstraction, especially one that can seem and be unjust: Your work serves that capitalist who owns the means of production in which you labor. And, unless you are that capitalist, or you are good friends with that capitalist, that can be very alienating.

    I am a market socialist, because I think that, while we will always feel alienated in what we must serve in a complex society, a modern society cannot function unless we work to serve larger abstractions. And, the best we can do, is make those abstractions serve us, rather than a few rich assholes. If we all owned some variety of stock, by law, then we would feel a lot better about serving that market, because it is also serving us. If we all had a Universal Basic Income, and we were all treated fairly, money would have a far warmer feel to it than it does now. Sure, we might laugh at the absurdity of it. But we laugh at the absurdity of our computers that most of us have very little or a vague understanding of. But we like how they work anyways, because they work for us. To me, when a classical socialist bemoans money as "the root of all evil" (even though Mark Twain said "THE LACK of money is the root of all evil") it's like a terribly disfigured person looking in the mirror, seeing that they are disfigured, and saying: "damn, that looks terrible, I am going to solve this by getting foggier mirrors". NO, YOU DON'T NEED FOGGIER MIRRORS, YOU NEED TO FIX YOUR FACE. Markets are a good thing, inequality is not. And inequality will always emerge from a lack of vigilance against it. Whether you set up a ridiculous command economy, or a market economy, but where the redistributive mechanisms ensured greater equality, there will always be someone looking to get an upper hand, and when people eventually do, that success will compound into more and more inequality, which will cause worse and worse alienation, because more and more of what you produce will go to few fewer and fewer people.

  25. Holodomor. Another horror most people know nothing about. It so unknown it sets of my spellchecker nearly every time. Bolshevism and Marxism are the pillows and communism is the blanket. These bedfellows made the extermination possible of over 20 million people. Capitalism has its flaws as well. I have been looking into the Venus project. The concept is fascinating.

  26. Does anyone know where I can get his version of being and nothingness that shows in the background? Can't find it.

  27. i disagree with marxs theory, i am gratified when i make something that is worth something to other people and it pushes me to continue doing so. i find myself becoming depressed when i feel myself moving nowhere either not making new music or not doing anything to further my success in music and i wouldnt be able to feel the gratification of my music becoming successful if not for capoitalism

  28. So, I think the question here is: this: do I send this to my girlfriend who is A: depressed and B: a talented musician and writer?

  29. When I read up about imposter syndrome a year or so ago, my reaction was, "Wait, are you saying not everyone feels exactly like this all the time???"

  30. Surprised you didn't talk about creativity and anxiety being linked in that they both need imagination to function, so having the capacity for creativity gives you equal capacity to imagine horrible futures. I've experienced that in I cannot be both anxious and creative- I use up all my imaginative resources on worrying about how shit could go wrong.

  31. From personal experience as an artist I can tell you that good creative work requires the artist to have a keen eye for the negative when it comes to their own work so that they can identify the things they want to improve in the future. Perhaps this constant attention to the negative reflects in the rest of an artists life.

  32. The last few comments about how art doesn't exist in a vacuum were actually very enlightening. Most, if not all art, is reactionary in some degree, whether it's in reaction to an event or an emotion. In my experience, artists themselves (myself included, though I strain to call myself an artist) tend to be very emotionally aware, for want of a better term. But this isn't just the case for negative emotions, the positive can also be greatly appreciated and influential to the artist. Take Ode to Joy for instance, when it was first written, I doubt Beethoven was feeling sadness or anger.

    Although it's also possible that artists are no more susceptible to greater emotional diversity than anyone else. The difference could be less about the feelings themselves, but our ability to express them. Artists have an outlet for our emotional experience, whatever it may be, which can lead us to feeling more open to being expressive about how we feel, whereas mostly, the average person seems content to not fully express how they feel, but still have the same level of feeling as someone who lets their emotion rise to the surface.

  33. A bit of binge watching this show has made me really hate Marx, or at least Olly for blaming capitalism for almost everything. Until robots take over the world and either kill all humans or provide all the material AND social needs, alienation will be with us.
    Ok, maybe I am a bit harsh. Genetic or social engineering that removes the ability to feel alienated form work/product is also a solution.

  34. I am not allowed to be an artist.

    Without money in the equation, I am just an insane person. So, insanity/ creativity that's commodified is legit. When it is not within the parameters of business/ enterprise, when money isn't changing hands, it is labelled, boxed up, duct taped closed, and filed under "Lunacy".
    I did way more interesting stuff when I was young and new to the world. And I've never been in any way a professional, despite having sold.
    My drive to produce has been gunned down dead by the drive-by that is commercial capitolism (and a life of poverty) because even when I attempt to make stuff now, no matter what context, I will, at some point, inevitably wonder, "yeah, but would it sell? If I were a real artist, would someone BUY IT"

    Fuuuuuuck that noise.

  35. I really identify with the topics in your videos. Thank you for doing what you do. I just subscribed.

    Have you already touched on addiction?

  36. I'd rather side with Mrs Woolf than Mr Marx.

    I always prefer the process to the product, though I have worried that I might end up "solving" something I don't want to be solved. Luckily, I haven't yet.

  37. if one made a painting whenever one "felt like" making one, no work would ever get done. That is not how you make good paintings, never has been.

  38. I completely agree that the "tormented artist" narrative needs to go away and that romanticizing mental illness doesn't help anyone. But what counts as romanticizing isn't always clear. People who experience extreme mental states need room to talk about their creativity in the context of their own emotional worlds just as much as anyone else. But it's really difficult to do this without being accused of romanticizing your symptoms, especially if you're trying to avoid medicalizing your experience. The language and narrative structures available to us are limiting and self-reinforcing. I used to feel like my bipolar disorder meant I was doomed to dysfunction, so romantic narratives of mental illness felt like the only "positive" way to see my diagnosis. I understand now that that is a terrible way to frame the issue, but I can't really blame myself for feeling backed into a corner like that, since it took a lot of digging to discover other options.

  39. Currently going through a looottt of depression.. and I'm creative by nature… And it kills me looking at the things that are imperfect.

  40. When I was a kid I somehow managed to pick up a firm belief that I couldn't be an artist because I couldn't draw a perfect circle freehand. I didn't even look into art schools for the longest time because my brain was working under the assumption, apparently, that the application process went like this:

    Art school: "Draw a circle on this piece of paper!"
    Me: (Draws something approximating a circle) "Like this?"
    Art school: "No, a CIRCLE! How dare you waste our time!?"

  41. Youtube has recently inspired to be more willing to try to be creative by viewing what I can create as content, instead of my unattainable view of what art is.

  42. fwiw … for me, sadness and anguish are what produce my best art, not the other way around… Creativity doesn't lead to me feeling down, it's me feeling down that leads me to be creative… It's how I get all that sadness and anguish out of my system. It's part of the reason I'm reluctant to seek medication for sadness and anguish and depression – I'm willing to pay that price because for me I can (most of the time) handle the mood swings and I don't want to stop feeling those things that drive me to be creative; the writing and art that have basically become my most reliable coping mechanisms. ….

  43. Art and Fear is an absolutely fantastic book, I heartily recommend it to artist types and those otherwise interested.

  44. I find that watching behind the scenes on films and tv series to be really good and inspiring. This is even for studying something like Engineering. You really get to see how much work goes into making something. You also see how much attention to detail is put into these works.

  45. Attributed to Michelangelo: "I am a poor man and of little worth, who is laboring in that art that God has given me in order to extend my life as long as possible." Also, according to his assistant's notes, he would get angry, throw his tools, and hit & curse at the marble during work.

  46. Sometimes the image of the "tortured artist" makes me feel even worse because when I'm in the throws of depression I'm useless and can't create anything. It's only when I'm back to basically functional that I can actually be productive

  47. Dear Olly as always I highly enjoy your channel and the great way you manage to explain complex topics. Regarding artists and the tortured genius idea I feel as an art historian I should mention that this is an idea that was constructed in the 19th century and lives on today as many other romantic ideas still do. I think it might be interesting to scan the deep incluence the 19th century still has on us. Regarding artists there are of course various types but Leonardo da Vince was well known for his openness and share ideas with everyone, Raffael was not only a womanizer but also sweet of temper (his father by the way wrote poems) and the architect Borromini was probably a choleric. Michelangelo though was a diva par excellence and very jealous of his art, not even the pope who commissioned the fresco of the sistine chapel was allowed to see it. He did once and Michelangelo flew into a temper tantrum. However Michelangelo as tortured genius is a construct of the 19th century. Regarding the famous Caravaggio who is said to have murdered someone recent research showed that this is untrue and in fact a bad rep given by the follower of Caravaggios artistic adversary. So he didn't kill anyone, as Sibylle Ebert-Schiffer explains in m,ore detail in her book about the painter. We tend to project our ways of thinking or what we are used to at times to earlier periods which may not have thought this way. This is by no means any critique on you or your lo9vely show as you are always very on point. I just wanted to offer a very specific history of art perspective as in the 19th century artist portraits were very en vogue, such as Eugène Delacroix' moody picture of a brooding Michelangelo in his studio.

  48. My advice for artists:
    1. Create fearlessly, then tweak mercilessly
    2. Critique is for when you've finished
    3. Assume you are overthinking it until shown otherwise.
    4. Make bad art on purpose sometimes.
    5. Have fun!

  49. Oh nooo! I’m doing research for my own YouTube video about Art & Depression ..
    but ahhhh!!! Philosophy Tube is the best.

    Oy ! covering a topic spoken about here is bit nerve wracking as I find this channel brilliant.
    But while I watch and enjoy the video, I do find comfort in knowing I was planning on a very different approach.

    Is just cool to topic, two different aesthetics. Going to try to forget the subjective idea of “better or worse” here, partiality for my own good, as I plow ahead over the next few days.

    Thanks for all yr videos! Completely original personality.
    Jaunt Nominal
    The Recluse Queen

  50. & yes trying to keep up with making at least one YouTube video a week is splitting my brain in half.
    But I am afraid all of my subscribers will abandon me if I slack off.

  51. You state the stereotype of the tortured or mentally disturbed artist is not conducive to happy living … well obviously. The stereotype of the billionaire CEO who got there by working 100 hour weeks is not conducive to relaxing. It's built into the idea itself. In this case, the ideal of great art is valued higher than mere happiness.

    You go on to list a bunch of great artists who suffered, seemingly at odds to your previous point, but this time the emphasis is on … economic production? Because for some reason we're still belaboring this Marxist abstraction. There are multivariate causes for suffering, and of course economics and politics play a role, but to point to politics or economic production as a sole fundamental base from which everything about the artist springs forth — is a horribly tortured abstraction. For this reason Marxism and most leftist thought downstream of Marxism carries this anti-art sentiment (though some are able to invert that in a dark way and create something interesting, eg Sartre, Adorno).

    To understand Virginia Woolf, to understand Mishima Yukio, to understand Van Gogh, you need to delve into the full richness of their human life, human connections, and the reality of their love, suffering, dreams, and disappointments. To abstract everything to a Marxist univariate analysis is no more accurate than a Freudian analysis (though Freud provides a much more useful model for understanding the individual artist — in Marxist materialism production and economic classes are center stage, art and the individual after thoughts).

    Capitalism has provided more artists than any other economic system with the sort of sheltered, free life to create art untethered from real world obligations you idealize here. This is probably a good thing — but, as many are discovering, it's not conducive to great art. Great art needs that very connection to real life suffering that great society strives to cradle us above.

  52. Been creative doesn't make you sad .been sad doesn't make you creative. Yes artist get sad for others . And the way thy see the world for what it is .

  53. Great video, what pisses me off is these people taking ownership of the Mental Illness take on creativity. It’s a cop out at the expense of 99% of the general public that suffer from mental illness. It’s degrading their achievements in raising families, businesses and achieving the best they can. I’m bipolar 2 diagnosed and I have achieved a lot but have lost a lot as well and feel robbed by these people who think they own this disease due to their sacrifice to the acting art, maybe they are just playing out another part, who is to believe these people. It wasn’t more than 200 years ago that the said actors were called by the KIING to perform their said talents and if they displeased the KIING it was OFF WITH THEIR HEADS. I’ve just woken up from a long lumber and know not what to make of all this but I’ve been brought up in a certain way and a COURT JESTER does not tell me how to think!

  54. If you look at trait openness from a Big Five and biological perspective, it is quite possible that anxious people (who also rate highly on trait neuroticism) will find more ways to worry themselves in novel ways. And perhaps they will then pursue creative outlets to alleviate said anxiety.

  55. Creative ppl have imposter syndrome BC art is coded as "not important" under capitalism… Getting accolades for things that society tells us don't matter is very hard to reckon with

  56. Thank you for introducing me to the work neurodivergent. It always annoyed me that if different mental states like schizophrenia, depression, and OCD should be labeled as illness when they are so statistically common.

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