Misery begets Genius?

Well, it does apparently, in some long-winded way. So I found out today over my Sunday breakfast with a copy of The Star. Read this thought-provoking piece by A.Asohan, an individual I had the good fortune of having had some chats with, and much admire still.

 The good in hurting talks about how one needs pain, anxiety and the whole works (perhaps) in order to function as one’s self. He quotes Nietzsche as saying, “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star”

Makes a lot of sense to me. I often do my most impassioned work when besieged by profound feelings, of sadness, grief, anger, disillusionment, love. Not that I’m some great author on the cusp of Salman Rushdie-like works of divine beauty. Still, I work in an area where creative output is a pre-requisite.

The creative juices however, is not something that you pay subscription for and have it piped in to your tap, like that Shah of Blah in Haroun and the Sea of Stories. How I wish it was though. Every single original thought in my head has, unfortunately, come inadvertently. Fleshing it out is one hell of a bleeder. And each time that I finish, there is this drained feeling, like when I just get off the Stairmaster at the gym, but minus the feel-good shot of endorphins.

I agree that the pain and suffering makes us, well, us. Take that away and I might feel like I’ve lost something. Just imagine 10 years of your memory is totally wiped out….like something out of Michel Gondry’s  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Painful as a lot of my past has been, there were still profound moments of joy, of love, of learning and realisation that I will not trade them even for ownership of a library the size of The White House (and that thought I consider the height of enticement).

There’s a guy I know who said once, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’m used to taking pain.” Now that I think of it, I believe that he not only thrives on pain and hardship, but if you take that away from him, he might seem less a man in his own estimation.

Now, I know what happens when a person of standards falls in his own estimation. Not a nice thought…that.


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