Some of the most famous and innovative minds of our world have been the ones whose minds have betrayed them. In the sense that they fought great battles within themselves and yet achieved great heights. The recent death of Mathematician John Nash who was the subject of the wonderful movie ‘Its a beautiful mind’ got me thinking further on this path.
I have seen a lot of TEDx videos, read a lot of self help books. They all say that we should –
Turn the pain that drowns us into something that drives us.
They talk about positive re-inforcement. They talk about agressive optimism. But none of them actually underline -How.
They all say that one should channel their pains differently, that one should believe in themselves, that all of us are capable of greatness. Yada Yada Yada.
A deeper look into the lives of such depressed people (who are famous now) shows that almost all of them didn’t have that sense of self belief.
How did they succeed you ask me.
Mental illnesses like depression incapacitate our cognitive functions.
They don’t let us be spontaneous, or take risks. We tend to create a bubble of bubble wrap around ourselves. And truthfully so, we often need that to fall back onto.
But these people.
They never stopped.
They used their passions as a get away. They kept going, untill they had nothing left in them to give. And it is because of their sacred immersion into their work that they could achieve heights like no other could.
That sense of melancholy (depression was known as melancholy for centuries) led to tragic yet beautiful discoveries. Led to amazing feats, led to world changing moments in time.
We tend to disassociate ourselves with our pains. I am guilty of the same- I often refer to my depressive state as ‘it’ as an inanimate strange object that seems to possess me from time to time. However, isn’t our depression, our pain as much a part of us as other aspects of our life?
Ludvig Van Beethoven wrote some of his most famous pieces during periods of hightened mood swings and euphoria.
Van Gogh painted his pieces during such dire times too. Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Newton. The list can go on.
I am not here to pressurise one in such a state to strive to achieve greatness. All I am trying to say is, that we are as much capable of doing so, despite our short comings. Something, which we need to be reminded of from time to time.
Reading about such lives makes me think that I am crazy but perhaps I am not ”crazy” enough. The days and times they lived in were different. While they immersed themselves in their work, I tend to immerse myself in re-runs of tv series and drown my self in comfort food. I may not be made for such great feats. But as long as I can wake up everyday and go about my basic duties and responsibilities I will be happy.
For now, a mediocre existence seems good enough.
So does a bed for Ice-cream.
What do you think? Am I over analysing?