Transnormality theories of Genius


Transnormality theories

Transnormality theories of Genius (from Lat. trans – across, over;  norma – norm, rule)  see the causes of genius in a wide variety of deviations from the actual mental, personal and social norms, in anomaly from physical, mental and spiritual health, in extraordinary circumstances of life, in the strangeness of lifestyle and behaviour and unusual way of interaction with the World.
These theories consider the deviation from the norm as the essential criterion and factor of genius and include as well the concept of positive “normal abnormality” as the idea of immanent genius pathology.
At the same time, the abnormality or rather the transnormality of the creative manifestations of genius would directly address the actual and unique of each era’s view of the Norm.
Any deviations, which at first glance may seem painful, appear as a possibility of a breakthrough into new dimensions, as a condition and a powerful stimulus of creativity, the continuous manifestation and affirmation of which is the most fundamental and deepest human Norm.
The theories of transnormality can be organized as a baseline pentabasis of phenomenal worlds every of which is served as shape-forming context of certain theories of genius, and as an essential and basic factor that specifies their content and qualitative identity.

Table 1. Theories of transnormality

Symbolic world
Psychoanalytical theory
Social world
Conflictogenic theory
Theory of divine
madness and wisdom
Object world
Overcompensation theory
Inner world
Pathological theory

1. Pathological theory.
2. Overcompensation theory.
3. Psychoanalytical theory.
4. Conflictogenic theory
5. Theory of divine madness

Pathological theory of Genius

Pathological theory of Genius states that all sorts of abnormalities and a variety of physical and mental health problems lie at the basis of the genius and that they manifest themselves in eccentric behaviour, neurosis and even mental illness and insanity.
The basic ideas of this theory were set forth in the books of Cesare Lombroso (1863), Max Nordau (1902), Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum (1928), Ernst Kretschmer (1931), Water Grant (1968).
These authors, on the basis of numerous, often biased chosen and subjectively interpreted facts, state that is a definite link between the creativity of genius and physical, mental and spiritual diseases. The first psychiatrist who has undergone the problem of genius to analyse was Moreau de Tours. He said that genius is a neurosis, and the mental arrangement of a genius and a madman is the same.
Cesare Lombroso deemed that the physiology of genius and the pathology of a madman is much in common. Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum said that almost all geniuses are psychopaths.  Ernst Kretschmer believed that psychopathological elements are the essential elements of a genius character. Max Nordau claimed that not every madman is a genius, but every genius is a madman.

1. Physical disease

 Physical disease – a general condition of an individual to which the whole body is subjected. It causes simultaneous disorders in physical, mental, social and spiritual states. It is closely connected with internal, interpersonal and social conflicts. Many geniuses had different physical anomalies, delicate bodies and low physical activity: Aristotle, Giotto, Demosthenes, Erasmus, Kant, Kafka, and Proust.
Vladimir Efroimson (1991) stated that hereditary diseases happened to be more common among geniuses. Such diseases stimulate their creativity in a special way. Vladimir Efroimson proposed five factors or so-called “stigms” of genius.

1. Susceptibility to gout. It is a hereditarily fixed level of uric acid in the blood, which acts as a biological stimulator, and internal doping of creativity, as its structure is similar to the structure of caffeine and theobromine. At the same time, the accumulation of uric acid crystals in tissues leads to gout.  Alexander the Great (of Macedon), Columbus, Peter the Great, Michelangelo, Rubens, Rembrandt, Beethoven, Turgenev, Stendhal, Maupassant, Bacon, Montaigne, Galileo, Newton and Charles Darwin and many other outstanding people had gout.
2. Morfan syndrome or disproportionate gigantism, which is characterized by long, slender limbs and large hands and feet. He is accompanied by an increased release of adrenaline, which stimulates high intellectual and physical activity. This syndrome was observed in Abraham Lincoln, Hans Christian Andersen, Korney Chukovsky, Charles De Gaulle, Nikola Tesla.
3. Morris syndrome. It is characterized by a high level of sex hormones – androgens. Those who have Morris syndrome are energetic, resolute, determined, fit and intellectual. They have a strong will and a high level of sexuality. This syndrome was observed in Julius Caesar, Peter the Great, Byron, Pushkin, Balzac, Maupassant, Heine, Goethe, as well as Joan of Arc and George Sand.
4. Manic-depressive illness or cyclothymia, which is manifested by alternating phases of an unusually productive and periods of deep depression, was observed in scientists such as Freud, Van Gogh, Goethe, Tolstoy, Diсkens, Schumann, Hemingway and Nikolai Gogol.
5. Individuals with a high forehead. A giant, high forehead is the feature of extraordinarily developed frontal lobes of the brain. They play a leading role in the intellectual processes. This syndrome was observed in Beethoven, Liszt, Napoleon, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Goethe, Montaigne, and many others.

2. Mental illness

Mental illness. In scientific and mass literature there are a lot of articles describing the mental disorders of geniuses and celebrities. Sometimes these stories are set out carelessly or even intentionally distorted. The basic statements of the theory of genius pathology must be taken into account while examining and discussing these facts:
1. Misunderstanding of the complexity, semantic depth and “fullness of the future” of the inner world of geniuses, the multidimensionality of their life and creative activity. It can not be explained from the point of view of common sense of ordinary people and in terms of the current state of knowledge.
Sometimes they are considered to be mad because contemporaries can not understand their own particular vision of the future. Thus when Roger Bacon described submarines and aircraft, ships moving without oarsmen, and chariots moving without horses he was considered to be mad.
The same happened to Giordano Bruno when he put forward the idea that the Earth is only a small planet among many other planets, that there are a lot of unknown planets, and that the stars are the distant suns. And so was Auguste Comte who suggested that it would come the time when women will be fertilized without the participation of men.
2. There was a problem with the absence of universally accepted and clearly defined norms of mental and personal health.  Since C. Lombroso saw pathology in any deviation from the current, accepted by the specialists, and sometimes only by himself,  norm.
He saw the signs of mental disease in the early and late development of a child, in the love of travelling (Torquato Tasso, Benvenuto Cellini, Edgar Allan Poe), in unlikeness to parents, in an unusual, very emotional manifestation of personality, in taking a great interest in dreams, in having grey hair and being bald, in being skinny and being a left-hander.
Although it’s generally known, that Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, Einstein, Picasso, Marilyn Monroe, Chaplin were left-handers.
Paul McCartney as well as many U.S. presidents – Ford, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama are left-handed. Lombroso called Socrates crazy only because of the fact that he was guided in his actions by his inner voice (imaginary demon). He reckoned among mental disorders melancholy, and according to him Aristotle, Mendelssohn and Molière “suffered” from it.
Some researchers believed that even tending to a vegetarian diet and meditation was pathology. They also saw the signs of pathology in using different methods that geniuses used for stimulating creativity: Zola wrote novels tying himself to a table, Milton, Rossini, Leibniz, Kant and Descartes wrote lying in bed, Baumgarten wrote while riding, whereas Helmholts while climbing the mountains. Schiller was usually inspired by the smell of rotten apples lying on his desk.
Proust needed a strong smell of perfume and could write only in a room with cork walls. Beethoven poured ice water on his head, and Shelley and Rousseau put their head to the sun to stimulate creativity. Gogol wrote in noisy pubs whereas George Bernard Shaw in the markets and on local trains. Renee and Musset could write only wearing elegant clothes, and Gabriel Marquez could do that only wearing overalls.
3. Tendency to attribute pathological features to a genius, biased interpretations of facts, from the point of view of pre-selected theory, a manifestation of so-called “Midas effect”, according to which all the unusual facts have to be interpreted like pathology.
So Lombroso put forward the idea that Dante had epilepsy only because of the lines in his poems: «The weeping earth gave vent, and flashed with crimson light, overpowering all my senses, and I fell, like a man overcome by sleep». (Inferno: Canto III. 136). V. Hirsch mocked the authors of pathological theory: “All Wagner’s creations were not appreciated by Nordau, therefore – Wagner is mad.”
4. Poverty of terminological apparatus. Scientific terminology used by the researchers of the phenomena of genius was very limited and could not adequately reflect the complex inner world of genius,  so they often used psychiatric terminology that was not acceptable for the situation. Thus Kretschmer believed that all asthenic people were schizothymics.
5. Some authors, as well as common people, tend to disparage history and geniuses, and try to assert themselves by searching for weaknesses, psychotic disorders, disease, and low passion in celebrities and geniuses. Alexander Pushkin wrote in his letter: «They will gossip about me that I am mean, foul and odious like they are. You tell a lie, rascals! Yes, that I am foul and mean like you, but in a different way “.

Table 2. Types of mental disorders 

Constitution and tempera-

 Neurosis Psychosis
 Axiological   Displastic  Stuck  Paranoid  Depression  Paranoia
 Cognitive Leptosomatic (Asthenic)
  Pedantic  Schizoid Psychosthe-
 Compulsive states
Phobias Ipohondriya
 Affective  Picnic
 Hysterical Affective  Hysteria
(Dissocia-tive neurosis)
Behavioural Athletic
 Excitable  Excitable  Neurasthe-

Accentuations or psychopathies

Accentuations or psychopathies are understood as the domination of the individual structural components of Character, as a kind of pattern of the most pronounced personality traits, which characterize genius principally in terms of originality, soleness and the uniqueness of his creative personality.

One of the first attempts to correlate body build and physical constitution with personality characteristics and mental illness was done by E. Kretschmer in his book «Körperbau und Charakter», “Physique and Character” (1921). Based on the analysis of the relationships between bodies built by poets, artists, scientists, leaders, heroes, and their literary portraits, biographical sketches and works he identified two broad categories of temperament: shizotimics and cyclotymics, each of which has its own specific mental disorders and appropriate features of
creative activity.

1. Shizotimics (asthenics). Schiller, Kerner, Uhland, Tasso, Holderlin, Novalis, Platen had  shizotimic poetic temperament. All of them were slender, delicate, and thin and had beautiful corner profiles. As Kretschmer wrote, they were pathetic and romantic, artists of forms and styles with a  tendency to ideal in form and content. The heroic and idyllic are shizotimic moods that complement each other.
Shizotimics are impractical and they tend to be a book-learning scientist and demonstrate the tendency to theorize and systematize (Kant, Hegel, Newton, Copernicus, Kepler, Leibniz, Newton, Faraday), aspiring to classic beautiful forms (Feuerbach), the tendency to extreme pathos (Michelangelo, Grunewald), hankering to heroically-fanatic content (Fichte, Schelling, Schiller) and to moral idealism, despotism, fanaticism and cold prudence (Savonarola, Calvin, Robespierre).
At the same time according to Kretschmer, some shizotimics had different levels of mental disorders from schizoid psychopathy to schizophrenic psychosis.

2. Cyclotymics (Pyknic).  This group was represented by such outstanding people as M. Luther, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Goethe, H. Keller, F. Reuter, H. Kurz, H. Seidel, L. Blucher. All of them had typical pyknic body build (stocky, fat).  From the point of view of psychiatry, some of them were predisposed toward being prone to typical manic attacks and periodic mood disorders with manic-depressive features.
At the same time, pyknic persons are distinguished by flexibility, agility, mobility and ability to live a full life. Poets-cyclotymics were realists and humorists, scientists -cyclotymics had an inclination to empirical studies, and the leaders-cyclotymics were brave fighters and skilful managers.
The third,  icsotymic (athletic) type of temperament is similar to shizotymic type. Perseverance, stubbornness and rigidity are their common features and similarities. However, icsotymics are calmer and more practical than shizotymics. They are not as sensitive as shizotymics are. And they are predisposed to epilepsy.

Accentuations of character. The theory of accentuations of character and their relationship with the creative manifestations of personality was developed by K. Leonhard, who argued that accentuated personalities potentially contain the possibilities for both positive social achievements and negative social charge. Thus a variety of soft mental disorders can accentuate and enhance some features, characteristics and abilities, thus intensifying creative expression and giving it a unique identity.
1. Stuck (paranoid) accentuation (Michelangelo, Savonarola, Arthur Schopenhauer) intensifies such traits of genius personality as obsession, passion, persistence, ambition, pride, arrogance, a tendency to dominate, and a steady adherence to overvalued ideas.
2. Pedantic (psychasthenic) accentuation (John Calvin, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Marcel Proust, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, F. de Chateaubriand, Frédéric Chopin, Descartes, Giambattista Vico, Henri Bergson, Nikolai Berdyaev, Arnold Toynbee, Thomas Mann, Charles Darwin, Franz Kafka, Anton Chekhov) intensifies susceptibility, vulnerability, sensitivity to various influences of the socio-cultural environment.
It leads to self-immersed reflection and enrichment of the inner world, excessive scrupulosity, and aspiration to thoroughness, accuracy and perfection.  It also generates an excessive tendency to theorise, rank and analyse.
3. Conspicuous (demonstrative, affective) accentuation (George Sand, I. Northerner, K. Balmont, S. Dali), deepens imagination and fantasy, intensifies artistic, eccentric and extravagant features, and leads to a longing for recognition and fame.
4. Excitable (epileptic) accentuation (Napoleon, Moliere, Dostoevsky, Agatha Christie) can increase the intensity of emotions, stress, concentration, and brightness of experience. It can lead to exaltation, hallucinations, a specific state of consciousness and somnambulism when an individual creates yielding to a powerful external force, being on the thin line between the conscious and unconscious.


Neuroses are functional mental disorders involving emotional distress but when an individual keeps the lucidity of mind and critical estimation of his/her own state and behaviour is not outside socially acceptable norms. The main factors, due to which geniuses had neuroses, are various external or internal conflicts related to their specific way of life and activities, psychical traumas and protracted emotional and intellectual overstrain caused by selfless work over a long period of time.

1. Depression is accompanied by feelings of emptiness, despair and hopelessness. It often happens to extraordinary artists whose nature can be characterized by sticking, the impossibility of compromise, and a sharp sense of duty and fairness. Creative depression was experienced by many geniuses; among them are Goethe, Nikolai Gogol, Henri Matisse, Ernest Hemingway, Mihai Eminescu, Akutagawa Ryunoske.
2. Obsessive–compulsive disorder is a mental disorder and diseased state, usually caused by a psychical trauma and by overstrain, at which obtrusive ideas, thoughts, unmotivated fears and motions appear at the patient involuntarily. People understand it, and perceived it as morbid, but can not control and get rid of it.
a) Rituals. This neurosis is accompanied by repetitive senseless acts of thought or actions that a person has to perform to reduce anxiety, which, in his opinion, prevents any undesired event. Nikola Tesla always went three rounds around the building of his laboratory before entering it, and, when living in a hotel, asked for a room the number of which was divisible by three. Various types of obsessions were typical for Georg Hegel, and composers Gustav Mahler and Maurice Ravel.
b) A phobia appears as an obsessive, uncontrollable fear of an object or situation which is often recognized as irrational.
Blaise Pascal, after his coach almost fell off the bridge, suffered from the fear of the abyss, which, he fell, always was ready to open wide behind his left shoulder. Louis Pasteur discovered germs touched a doorknob only with a handkerchief. After a cholera epidemy, Nikola Tesla was afraid of touching dusty objects. He always washed his hands and demanded 18 daily towels per day living at hotels.
Howard Hughes, Michael Jackson, Donald Trump and Cameron Diaz suffered from mysophobia (germophobia) – fear of germs. Nikola Tesla also avoided all round objects and Alfred Hitchcock was afraid of oval objects. Salvador Dali had a phobia of grasshoppers, and Woody Allen was afraid of all insects. Anna Akhmatova was afraid of open spaces and Michelle Pfeiffer was of closed spaces. Johnny Depp has a coulrophobia – fear of clowns.
c) Hypochondriasis or hypochondria is an illness anxiety disorder, which is characterized by fears that minor bodily or mental symptoms may indicate a serious illness.
Hans Christian Andersen was a typical hypochondriac who never ceased to complain of bad health. Rousseau had read about the symptoms of any illness and immediately felt them. Mayakovsky all his life was manically afraid to fall ill, to become infected and to be injured. He carried with him a bar of soap and iodine, and when he was ill, he took the temperature all the time. Hypochondriacal symptoms were observed in the behaviour of A. Pushkin, S. Rachmaninov, A. Durer, I. Bunin and Onore de Balzac.
3. Hysterical (modern – dissociative) disorder takes place when a patient exhibits demonstrative and theatrical, very emotional behaviour. Disposed to consider any of his/her experience as a psychological trauma he feels worried about it. It can cause functional somatic, neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Excessive sensitivity, bright hallucinations, ability to auto-suggestion and well-developed imagination can lead to the creation of unique and bizarre worlds, built on openly subjective criteria and according to the laws of a patient’s own logic.
The extreme brightness of representations of the world, the rich emotional colouring of experiences, and the tendency to auto-suggestion were observed at Scriabin, whose music was nervous and impulsive.
H. Berlioz wrote about himself: “Well, this imaginary world is still part of me, and has grown by the addition of all the new impressions that I experience as my life goes on; it’s become a real malady. Sometimes I can scarcely endure this mental or physical pain (I can’t separate the two) … I see that wide horizon and the sun, and I suffer so much, so much, that if I did not take a grip of myself, I should shout and roll on the ground. I have found only one way of completely satisfying this immense appetite for emotion, and this is music.”
Also, Honore de Balzac, suffered from some of the various symptoms of dissociative disorder that were manifested in the life and art of Honore de Balzac, Vsevolod Meyerhold, and Marilyn Monroe.
4. Neurasthenia (literally – “nervous weakness”) is a condition characterized by a combination of increased excitability and irritable weakness that is accompanied by fatigue, anxiety and exhaustion. Neurasthenia in men of genius is caused by over-fatigue, hard work and possible conflict with surrounding people who do not understand their obsession and do not recognize the results of their work. Being under constant stress often led them to a nervous breakdown. Hans Christian Anderson, Karl Marx, Bekhterev and Zoshchenko were in that state at certain periods of their lives.


Psychoses are characterized by a partial loss of connection with objective reality, an immersion into the world of his own fantasies and are accompanied by acute distress and suffering.
Vincent van Gogh had a total of over 150 psychiatric diagnoses, including three types of psychosis: schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis and epilepsy.

This did not prevent him from winning the fame of one of the most outstanding, original and great artists in history.

1. Paranoia is manifested in geniuses by the creation of their own bizarre worlds, which are systematic, logical, complex, and organized around super-valuable ideas of making revolutionary scientific discoveries, creating masterpieces in the arts, and realizing their special mission of transforming society.
Geniuses of the paranoid type are characterized not so much by the presence of morbid suspicion, chicanery, and mania of persecution as by the transformation of these symptoms into ideas of greatness and conviction in their special, high mission.
They imagine themselves as the centre of the world, jealously asserting their freedom, and are characterized by an unshakable confidence in their rightness and a passionate, unrestrained pursuit of their goal.

Just here highlights the thin line between genius and disease and reaffirms the essential criterion of genius is the high value of the results of his work, creating masterpieces and making discoveries for the progressive development of mankind. Empedocles, J. Strindberg, E. Pound, K. Malevich and P. Picasso belong to this type of great people.

2.  Schizophrenia is characterized by splitting, disorganization, loss of integrity and harmony of the internal world of the personality, and formation of separate autonomous fragments within it, including imaginary, but subjectively real, independent subjects and “voices”.
In so doing, the personality builds up fenced off from the objective world, a unique individual reality, with its own laws and values.
Violation of criticism and domination of own criteria of estimations leads to the blurring of borders between conscious and unconscious, to superimposition and mixing of real life and dreams.
This mental deviation is characterized by a deepening of reflection, auditory hallucinations, extraordinary creative productivity and a change in the perception of reality.
In this sense, we can talk about the formation of a unique way of perceiving reality, a special vision of the world, which consists in giving things and events their own unusual, often tragic, meanings, in considering them from their own, non-standard point of view.
The unusual, mysterious productivity of creative personalities who show symptoms of schizophrenia gives grounds to consider it not as a disease, but as a special form of human existence. (K. Jaspers) or as a special mode of functioning of the psyche and brain (B. O’Brien).
Currently, the predisposition to schizophrenia and the disease itself is not considered with
inferiority positions but in the context of the adaptive essence of all reactions of an organism, which allows us to understand it as a consequence of natural evolutionary changes of a species leading to the expansion of its adaptive possibilities (I.V. Davydovsky, D.F. Horrobin, I.Y. Lagun).
A full immersion into the creative process and the world of his heroes, strenuous search for the truth, the right word and the exact means of expression lead the creator into a state in which reality reveals its most bizarre and unexpected sides, in which he can experience vocal hallucinations, experience the powerful action of external forces.
So the schizophrenic symptom of the influence formed in the inner world of independent subjects,   to some extent,  recalls described by K. Paustovsky’s « rebellion of heroes», which, in the process of writing an artistic work, cease to obey the will of the author and begin to act according to their own logic.
The release of the subconscious forces, the destruction of all social barriers and the removal of professional stereotypes, and the splitting and mixing of objects of reality lead to the formation of fresh, bizarre connections, the creation of non-standard associations and the generation of novelty.
What the creative person does consciously, with the help of various methods and techniques, the person with certain schizophrenic symptoms does freely and naturally, under the influence of powerfully unfolding intrapersonal structures.
Thus, in literary creativity, this irregularity reveals itself in the juxtaposition of incomparable concepts, in an original interpretation of events, in the unjustified accentuation of minor details, and in unexpected paradoxical conclusions.
In the visual arts, it reveals itself in the tendency to detach from ordinary reality, to break the usual connections, to disintegrate the depicted objects into their constituent elements, to autonomic objects, and to depict abstract concepts and entities (V.M. Milyavsky).
In the modern literature, there are descriptions of the whole constellations of outstanding cultural figures who in their life activity and creativity exhibited various schizophrenic symptoms and syndromes:
Servants of the spirit and philosophers: Georg Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Charles Fourier, René Descartes, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Scientists: Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Herbert Spencer, James Cardano, James Harrington, John Nash.
Writers and poets: Nikolai Gogol, Konstantin Batiushkov, Ferenc Kafka, Johan August Strindberg, Johann Helderlin, Rainer Rilke, Alexander Dumas the Son, Veniamin Khlebnikov, Vsevolod Garshin, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ernest Hemingway.
Musicians: Robert Schumann, Alexander Scriabin, Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Artists: Albrecht Dürer, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Vasily Kandinsky, Michael Vrubel, Pavel Filonov, Mikalojus Ciurlionis.
Dancer: Vaclav Nijinsky.
Many perfectly healthy creative individuals, in the course of their life and creative work, may from time to time experience subdued, smoothed manageable schizophrenic symptoms.

Viewing this mental disorder from an evolutionary and cultural-historical perspective allows us to conclude that schizophrenia can be understood as a disease from a clinical point of view, as a borderline condition from a social one, and as a norm from a cultural perspective.

3. Manic-depressive psychosis (now the politically correct name is bipolar affective disorder, BPAD) is a mental disorder that manifests itself as alternating manic and depressive affective states.
This mental disorder is considered to be a disease of geniuses because a whole galaxy of the greatest creators in all fields of culture was subjected to it.  In geniuses suffering from this disorder, states of creative enthusiasm, euphoria and periods of extremely productive activity were replaced by states of stagnation, emptiness, idleness, irritability or melancholy and despondency.
The manic phase is characterized by the acceleration of a stream of thought, ease and originality of associations, activation of generation and even a “jump of ideas”. At the same time, there is also heightened productivity, a decreased need for sleep, an experience of a state of elation and impatience, as well as aspiration to great deeds, accomplishments and readiness to perform the most courageous tasks.
Depression following this condition is manifested by an experience of unmotivated melancholy, apathy and total indifference.
Such shifting alternating states, without even knowing that they are called illness, have from time to time been experienced by geniuses of all fields of culture:

Votaries of the spirit and philosophers: Martin Luther, Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet), Immanuel Kant, Henri Saint-Simon, Auguste Comte.
Scientists: Ludwig Boltzmann, Carl Linnaeus, Nikola Tesla, Rudolf Diesel, Sigmund Freud, Paul Ehrenfest.
Writers and poets: Lope de Vega, Torquato Tasso, Johann Goethe, Robert Burns, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, Edgar Allan Poe, George Byron, Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, Jack London, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Alexander Dumas the father, Sergei Yesenin, Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Mikhail Lermontov, Fedor Dostoyevsky, Guy de Maupassant.
Actors: Vivien Leigh, and Marilyn Monroe.
Musicians: Wolfgang Mozart, Robert Schumann, Edith Piaf.
Artists: Vincent van Gogh, Isaac Levitan, Edward Munch.
Statesmen: Napoleon Bonaparte, Gebhard Blücher, George Patton, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill.
Contemporary celebrities such as Sinead O’Connor, Russell Brand, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mel Gibson, Linda Hamilton, Eminem, Britney Spears, Sting, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kurt Cobain, Ozzy Osbourne, Axl Rose, and Trent Reznor have also experienced the bipolar disorder.
Psychologist Kay Redfield Jamieson, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 28, has provided an exhaustive analysis of the interaction between illness and creativity, including from her own experience with the disease.
In her work “Touched with Fire” (1993), she notes that creative individuals with this disorder are characterized by increased energy, uniqueness, heightened sexuality, risk-taking, assertiveness and high productivity – which have been associated with increasing excellence and achievement.
Geniuses and celebrities experiencing this disorder argue that it should be carefully managed without inhibiting creativity and that medications that inhibit productivity and impede free creative expression should be avoided.

4. Epilepsy is a mental disorder characterized by recurrent seizure-like disturbances of consciousness or mood.
Epileptic seizures or episodes can be not only motor but also psycho-sensory, associated with shallow obscurations of consciousness, with hallucinations, often fantastic and mystical in nature, with a sense of derealization, with disorders of perception of shape, size, number of objects and own body parts, and accompanied by sudden changes in mood, phenomena of somnambulism and trances.
At the same time, the phenomena of depersonalization, derealization (with distortion of ideas about space and time), sensations of increase or decrease in the size of own body or its parts, visual illusions, pseudo hallucinations are called the “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome (V.M. Bleicher),
whose manifestations were described in Carroll’s book of the same name. According to G.V. Segalin, constant tension and fear of losing his “body” or the same fear of losing consciousness, constant variability of this consciousness, experienced as a “stop of life”, psychic “failures”, ecstatic and aural experiences – all this develops in epileptoid sharpened attention to the real and equally to the unreal, to the physical and metaphysical.
An epileptoid has the ability to see objects, natural phenomena, people and their mental processes through the prism of hypermnesic aggravation, the ability to “see” everything in an unusually bright, emphasized penetrating way.
Many creative personalities noted the similarity of epileptic attacks with a state of inspiration, manifested in a sense of the action of some higher, extraneous to the personality, in the emergence of rapid and unforeseen associations and representations, original imagination and sensitivity that exceeds normal (Moreau de Tours, Michael Arnaudov).
An epileptic attack is often preceded by aura (from the Greek αὔρα, Latin aura – blow, breeze, wind), which was brilliantly described by Fyodor Dostoevsky: “The feeling of life, self-consciousness was almost doubled in those moments, which continued like lightning. The mind and heart were illuminated with an amazing light; all his worries, all his doubts, all his anxieties were as if pacified at once, resolved into some calm, full of clear harmonious joy and hope, full of reason and ultimate reason.
But these moments, these glimpses were still only a premonition of the final second (never more than a second) with which the seizure itself began. That second was, of course, unbearable.
“What is the disease,” says Fyodor Dostoevsky, through the mouth of his hero, “if the very result, if the minute of sensation, remembered and considered already in a healthy state, turns out to be in the highest degree of harmony, beauty, gives unheard of and unprecedented before the feeling of completeness, measure, reconciliation and troubled, praying merger with the highest synthesis of life?”
Life knows,” P.I. Karpov wrote, “that epileptics are often reformers in one area of human knowledge or another. Epileptics enrich science, art and technology with new values, enrich life with new ideals, new aspirations
According to various sources, epileptics, or rather geniuses who have ever exhibited certain epileptic symptoms or syndromes, include:
Ministers of the Spirit and philosophers: Buddha, Aristotle, St. Paul, Socrates, Muhammad, Nostradamus.
Scientists: Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Alfred Nobel.
Writers and poets: Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarch, Gustave Flaubert, Alfred Tennyson, George Byron, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jean Baptiste Moliere, Edgar Poe, Stendhal (Henri Marie Beillet), Edward Lear, Alexander Bloch, Lewis Carroll, Agatha Christie.
Musicians: Niccolò Paganini, Georg Friedrich Handel, Ludwig van Beethoven, Peter Tchaikovsky, Neil Young.
Artists: Vincent van Gogh.
Military leaders: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon Bonaparte, Peter the Great, Richelieu, Charles V, Joan of Arc.
From Lambroso’s books, long lists of geniuses “suffering from epilepsy” are repeatedly rewritten and uncritically supplemented. At the same time, the very principle and method of referring geniuses to epileptics were tendentious and highly hypothetical. Often, the conclusion that a genius had epilepsy was drawn by Lambroso on the basis of the confessions of great people, who with a certain amount of fiction and exaggeration described their experiences in a state of inspiration.
Thus, as proof of the presence of signs of epilepsy in Goncourt and Buffon, is their confession that in a state of inspiration, they felt the action of an unknown, powerful, overpowering force that struck them like an electric shock and made them obedient performers.
Experts have noted the amazing accuracy of descriptions of seizures in their heroes by F. Dostoevsky, C. Dickens and L. Carroll, who apparently themselves have experienced these borderline experiences.
It is likely that in the vast majority of cases, it is about individual symptoms or manifestations of excitable accentuation, which serves as a powerful source of vital, rich creativity and higher values, and energy. A deeper and more respectful acquaintance with the pathological theory of genius allows us to conclude that geniuses lived their own, intense, dramatic and happy creative lives, unaware that it would ever be described using medical terminology. Their lives and works evoke appreciation, a keen and warm human sympathy, as well as an overwhelming admiration for their exploits, strength and glory.


In addition, a number of independent syndromes can be identified that are most closely associated with the creative manifestations of outstanding personalities:

1. Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by excessive self-love, a belief in one’s own importance and uniqueness, a conviction that one is superior to others, an exaggerated opinion of one’s talents and accomplishments; a preoccupation with fantasies about one’s successes.
Healthy narcissism manifests itself in the presence of realistic high goals, a rich inner life, personal maturity, self-sufficiency and self-centeredness, independence, self-assertion, and a need for dominance and superiority.

Such was the infinite self-love of Gustave Courbet, who liked to depict himself in his paintings, Igor Severyanin, whose poetry was marked by self-love and self-admiration, and also Salvador Dali.

2. Autism is a mental disorder characterized by withdrawal from contact with reality, impaired social interaction, poverty of emotional expression, phenomenal memory and selectivity of activity areas in which excellence can be achieved.
In this form of the disorder, the intellect is not affected, but there is a significant decrease in social abilities. Such geniuses as Mozart, Kant, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Mendeleev, Carnot, Boltzmann, Planck, Ehrenfest, Schroedinger) experienced this type of mental and social disorder.

3. Savant syndrome (savantism, from the French word for “scientist”) is an extreme form of autism in which individuals with deviations in personal and social development exhibit an “Island of genius” phenomenon, that is, the presence of outstanding abilities in one or more spheres of activity.
This phenomenon is explained by hypertrophied development of some areas of the right hemisphere of the brain responsible for the manifestation of intuition, feelings and holistic perception. According to A. Snyder and D. Mitchell, the cause of savantism is a special way of perceiving reality, in which the processes of categorization, generalization and compression of primary information are absent.
outstanding abilities in one or more spheres of activity.
If an ordinary person instantly and automatically passes from a multitude of details to unambiguous abstract concepts, savants immerse themselves in an avalanche of primary virgin information. They perceive the world as it is, without excessive censorship and editing, in all the richness and uniqueness of its important details, remarkable details and subtleties. Savants react to the information they directly receive with complete clarity and unconsciously, instinctively, intuitively, and precisely. They are distinguished by their phenomenal memory and extraordinary ability to count.

They are fluent in dozens of languages, including those invented by them, can memorize by heart the contents of thousands of books, including telephone directories, can multiply ten-digit numbers in their head, extract the root of the 13th degree from a number containing 500 digits, and give the result as if they knew it in advance. The mathematicians’ Carl Gauss and André Amper possessed phenomenal powers of counting, and outstanding savants included the musicians D. Paravicini, L. Lemke, M. Savage, T. DeBlois, T. Mendoza, and the painters and sculptors R. Vouro, A. Clemons, G. Seth F, D. Lerman, S. Wiltshire.

4. Sociopathy is a type of personality disorder based on the inability or unwillingness to
socially adapt, on the inability to form and maintain interpersonal relationships, to show feelings of affection, empathy and responsiveness. C. Lombroso characterized geniuses as people who were lonely, cold, and indifferent to family and social obligations. It should be noted that creative individuals affected by this deviation behave more like latent sociopaths who do not deny social norms and values of society, do not show aggression or other asocial forms of behaviour, but consciously distance themselves from society in order to get opportunities and time to implement their creative plans. Conscious distancing from society and the world, leads to overcoming situationality and ordinariness, captivity to non-obstacles and worlds.
Just as sensory deprivation gives rise to hallucinations, so loneliness awakens and enhances the creative imagination. Thus, Michelangelo, a brilliant and austere solitary artist who felt alien and unsettled in society, fought courageously all his life for his independence and the right to create.  “Art is a jealous thing- he said, – it requires the whole and entire man.”. “I already have a wife who is too much for me.. she is my art, and my works are my children.” This phrase was later repeated by many great men. So having failed in family life, Karl Bryullov wrote in one of his letters, “My wife is an art.”

Among the brilliant bachelors include, those who made a great contribution to the development of culture, but did not succeed in social and personal life, there are:

Philosophers – Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Plato, Demosthenes, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Voltaire, Kant, Comte, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Skovoroda, Sartre;
ScientistsGalileo, Copernicus, Humboldt, Newton, Leibniz;
Writers – Herodotus, Virgil, Horace, Petrarch, Tasso, Dante, Cervantes, Rousseau, Gogol, Lermontov, Shevchenko, Turgenev, (Anton Chekhov and Bernard Shaw married after forty years);
Artists – Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio;
Musicians – Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Chopin.

The Theory of Transformative Suffering

This theory, which is a generalizing explanatory model in its own right, asserts that suffering is a powerful source and motivating mechanism for the creativity of genius.
Many great men have been distinguished by an unusually piercing sense of the tragedy of existence.
The suffering that fell to their lot did not weaken them, but, on the contrary, allowed them to purify themselves spiritually, renounce the power of commonness and one-dimensionality, and discover new profound creative meanings. Hegel wrote: “It is a privilege of higher natures to feel pain; the higher the nature, the more unhappiness it feels. The great man has a great need, and the urge to rid himself of it. Great deeds come only from profound mental suffering; “
Suffering is a condition of genius, argued A. Schopenhauer, suffering gives birth to beauty, believed Vincent van Gogh, and A. Strindberg wrote that in the moment of life crises, the soul attracts powerful transcendental forces. Genius is the ability to suffer, to suffer majestically,- Ibsen believed. “…The art of the skald is not learned,” he says through the mouth of his hero. – I received the gift of suffering and became a singer.”
At the same time, existential suffering can be accompanied by the agony of creativity, caused by the fundamental difficulty of complete and precise self-expression and the impossibility of achieving an ever-elusive perfection. “Suffering, anguish, torture – that is what creativity is.
Conception, creation – these two words encapsulate for the author a whole world of excruciating effort, anguish, despair,” wrote the Goncourt brothers. “I also work nervously, with anguish and concern,” said Fyodor Dostoevsky, “When I work successfully, I am sick even physically… “My God, if only someone would finish “Anna Karenina” instead of me! Unbearably disgusting,” – exclaimed Leo Tolstoy.
At the same time, it is not suffering itself that generates creativity but pacified, reflected and pacified suffering.  A genius creatively uses his sufferings, skillfully transforming their negative energy into the energy of creation.

Balzac said on behalf of the hero of The Magic Skin that he transforms his anguish and suffering into dreams, expresses them, portrays them and does not allow himself to be possessed by them.
The greatness of the spirit of the genius, the super-task that possessed him and the categorical imperative of creativity allow us to fuse into a single flow all kinds and modalities of experience, to tame the chaos of the inner world and the symbolic world.

The theory of overcompensation

The theory of overcompensation sees the causes of genius in a variety of deviations from the norm, in real or imaginary personality defects, overcoming which is a powerful incentive and source of productivity and growth.
According to A. Adler and supporters of his theory, awareness and experience of physical and mental defects, cause feelings of inferiority, and their subsequent overcompensation leads to the activation of creative activity and the creation of socially significant products. At the same time, this activity is based on the initial desire of the individual for self-assertion, superiority, success, perfection and a sense of community.
Examples of geniuses who achieved significant success in the process of hypercompensation of their shortcomings are: the famous orator Demosthenes, who was puny and had speech defects since childhood, composer Beethoven who had serious problems with hearing, poet Byron, whose limpness received during a birth injury, had “a strong influence on his sensitive soul and was an incentive to compensate and achieve heights of perfection (J. Clark).

The composer Smetana had a congenital hearing impairment, the painter Gauguin suffered from colour blindness, Toulouse-Lautrec, after breaking both legs as a child, turned into a dwarf with short legs, F. Roosevelt, who was three times a presidential candidate in the U.S., in 1921 got polio and never got out of the wheelchair, and several famous cultural figures – John Keats (155cm), Pablo Picasso (162cm), Edith Piaf (142cm), as well as military leaders and dictators, differed in their low growth: Napoleon (161cm), Stalin (155cm), Franco (157cm).

Psychoanalytic theory of sublimation

The theory of sublimation maintains that the cause of genius is the transformation of superpowered desires for fame, power and fortune into images of creative fantasy, as well as the overflow of sexual energy into the fields of science and art, transforming them into culturally significant and socially approved productive activities.
In the opinion of supporters of the theory founded by Sigmund Freud, the reason for the unusual creative activity of geniuses was the switching and pouring of sexual energy into the symbolic world of art or science, its transformation and rise in the constructive and creative force.
At the same time, according to this concept, many creators experienced some kind of deviation in the sexual sphere, and sometimes consciously limited and suppressed the motivating force of libido within themselves.
“The sexual urge,” wrote Freud, “provides cultural work with an enormous mass of energy; this is due to its inherent ability to change its purpose without diminishing its thrust. This ability to change the initial sexual goal for another, non-sexual one, but psychologically close to it is called sublimation.
At the same time, Freud did not limit the concept of sublimation exclusively to sexual motifs.
For example, he wrote of Leonardo da Vinci, “… he transformed his passions into a single passion to explore; he indulged in exploration with the kind of assiduity, consistency and depth that can only come from passion. In addition, describing the mechanisms of the artist, S. Freud noted: “There are crowded super-powerful cravings, he would like to receive honours, power, wealth, fame and love of women, but he does not have the means to achieve their satisfaction.
And therefore, as any dissatisfied man, he turns away from reality, and transfers all his interest and his libido to the desired images of his fantasy….”
Sublimation, as an explanatory principle of genius, is subject to one obligatory condition-it that does not manifest itself simply as fantasy, but as the objectification of desires and designs by means of various symbolic systems, as the creation of outstanding masterpieces.
G. Kraft wrote: “Great works of art arise when the artist succeeds in sustaining great inner tension and in translating it into the symbolic language of creation.
At the same time, sublimation is understood as the transformation of various traumatic and negative experiences into productive and socially significant activities. Art, in this case, is understood as a symbolic doubling of reality, as a spontaneous transfer of pathological drives into a poetic work. Anthony Storr wrote, “Only the unsatisfied man fantasizes, the happy man never does.
C. Lambroso and W.Lange-Eichbaum cite whole lists of great men who possessed various sexual deviations, which were directly linked to their sublimated increased creative activity.
At the time, the very existence of a large number of geniuses whose heightened sexual activity was directly linked to their creative achievements calls into question the very theory of sublimation. Such creators who were highly active in the creative and sexual spheres include Julius Caesar, Peter the Great, Byron, Pushkin, Raphael, Alfred de Musset, Balzac, Dumas the Father, Heine, Leo Tolstoy, Goethe, Picasso, Einstein.

Conflictogenic theory of genius

The conflictogenic theory of genius states that diverse external and intrapersonal conflicts, under certain conditions, stimulate creative activity and lead to the formation and development of a creative personality.
Thus, D. Simonton cites social conflicts and civil unrest as macro social factors that positively influence the development of creative potential, i.e. situations that require a person to comprehend the essence of events taking place, to grow up quickly and make appropriate choices.
Problems in childhood. W. Goertzel and M. Goertzel (1962) analyzed the biographies of 400 outstanding personalities and found that only 58 of them had a conflict-free childhood. Many brilliant people experienced in their early years all kinds of mental trauma, experienced a state of frustration and deprivation associated with family conflicts, school difficulties, loneliness, lack of understanding and alcoholism of parents. The authors note that 25% of the geniuses experienced the loss of their parents before age 10, 33% – to 15, 50% – to 21 years.
In turn, J. Eisenstadt (1978) analyzed the lives of 573 outstanding people and concluded that the early loss of parents leads to early adulthood and gives an impetus to the development of creativity. At age 10, 25% had lost a parent, and by age 15, 34.5% had lost a parent.
Based on research data from V. Goertzel and M. Goertzel conclude that a carefree, warm and comfortable family environment is not conducive to the formation of a creative personality. However, M. Runko (1992) cautions against the conscious use of conflicts for the stimulation of creative activity. At the same time, he distinguishes two types of conflict relations, which can both activate creativity and suppress it.
The first includes cultural, national and professional marginality (from Latin margo – edge), which is the interaction and clash of rules, norms, and traditions of different spheres of reality.  The author refers to destructive conflicts as interpersonal clashes that lead to persistent negative experiences, emotional tension and stress.
Д. Manfield, R. Albert, M. Runco believe that non-harmonious relations between parents and their dissimilarity positively influence the child’s creative personality.  Probably from early childhood a child assimilates and absorbs the essential dichotomy of the world, the difference and polarity of tendencies which are personified in the appearance of those closest to him or her.
At the same time, from an early age, he has to find compromises between different demands and expectations, reconcile and synthesize dissimilar points of view, to solve simple problems of life independently.
At the same time, various parental differences – individual psychological, national, age – have a favourable impact on the development of the child’s creative abilities. So, at the time of Goethe’s birth, his father was 39, mother -17; Tchaikovsky’s father -45, mother -27; Bernhard Shaw’s father – 45, mother -28; Honore de Balzac’s father -53, mother -21; Jack London’s father -53, mother -29; Ivan Goncharov’s father 58, mother -27; Handel’s father -63, mother -34.
Theory of mental and physical trauma. Shocks, traumas, and hurts as negative “impressionism” powerfully determine the nature and direction of the activity of a future genius.
The childhood of Isidora Duncan was marked by a series of crises. Byron, Beethoven, Picasso. A. Schopenhauer had a cold, selfish mother who ridiculed his first literary experiences, which probably shaped his misanthropy and his dislike of women. Napoleon had eight siblings, but five of them died in childhood. Over the course of their lives, Tesla, Montessori and Picasso all experienced severe mental traumas that served as catalysts for creative energy.
Genius is not the result of internal and external conflicts themselves, but of their successful resolution. Genius is formed in an environment of overcoming external or internal obstacles, struggles, and the resolution of intrapersonal and social conflicts.
At the same time, both in the first and in the second case the leading role in the growth of an outstanding creative personality is played by a strong Ego, high self-esteem and level of achievement.
The essence of the conflictogenic theory of genius is expressed by the idea, shared by many authors, that in constructive resolution of conflicts the individuality itself, its belief in itself and its forces, its creative position and active attitude to difficulties is of paramount importance (F. Barron, M. Rutter, M. Runko).

The mystical theory of genius

The mystical theory asserts that genius is the result of the action of higher, unknown forces, is generated by contact with the inexhaustible depths of the cosmos, by experiencing ecstatic and hypnotic states, mystical visions and fantastic hallucinations. At the same time, geniuses were considered happy elects of gods, possessors of magic gifts, as prophets, seers, mediums, and broadcasting messages of higher forces.
1. Divine madness. Ancient philosophers considered genius a gift of gods, divine madness, inspiration, obsession, and creativity as “delirium, given to us by gods”. Each person was attributed his own genius (demon), which had magical powers and brought inspiration (Socrates), and the poet himself, being in a state of madness, translates messages of gods to people (Plato).
At the same time the state of divine madness, strangeness and nonstandardness of genius epiphanies were understood as conditions and sources of new ideas and were positively coloured. “I am not crazy,” Diogenes said. – Only my mind is not the same as yours. So F. Nietzsche wrote about geniuses: “…the appendage of half-madness has always helped them well,” as “mad ideas often have the meaning of curative poisons.”
2. Insane wisdom. The word marvel in Dahl’s dictionary has two meanings: 1) to go mad, to lose one’s mind, to go out of one’s mind, 2) to marvel, to marvel, to be utterly surprised, to be bewildered by unintelligence (strangeness, unexpectedness, uncommonness).  The epithet “mad” may be used as a positive characteristic of the unusualness, grandiosity, and exceptional boldness of an idea, plan or project.
Madness in this case has positive connotations, coming out of Horace’s figurative expression about inspiration as “pleasant madness”, as about “sweet madness” (Ludwig Uhland) and as about “Mad wisdom” (Wes Nieker).
Thus, Wes Nieker believes that mad wisdom is based on the overwhelming immeasurability and inexhaustibility of the cosmos, as well as the inevitability of continuous change and transformation.
In doing so, thanks to such great thinkers as Lao Tzu, Zhuang Tzu, Buddha, Socrates, Dogen, Rumi, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Emerson, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Albert Camus, Michel Foucault, as well as such representatives of art Thomas Merton, Basse, Issa, William Blake, Rainer Rilke, Henri Burton, Samuel Beckett, mad wisdom expands our knowledge of reality, making daring breakthroughs into the unknown. The form and embodiment of mad wisdom are total doubt, paradox, absurdity, irony, metaphors, koans, parables, and haiku.
3. Genius is understood as a medium, a mediator, and a transmitter of the will of higher powers, which is personified in the form of a conscious personal mission or a higher destiny. As far back as the ancient Greeks understood the word genius as “whisperer”, or “divine voice”. It is fantastic being standing between God and man, or a particle of the divine in people. The genius appears as the executor of the will of the gods, as the carrier and transmitter of divine power, and as the transmitter of messages and mediators between higher powers and humanity.
Self-descriptions and autobiographies of geniuses testify to the fact that many of them in the process of creativity experienced the emergence of new images and ideas as a result of the action of external forces, as a compulsion of an extraneous will.  They felt themselves to be mere spectators, recipients and transmitters of unknown messages. They experienced a state of complete absence of a will, lack of subjectivity and, at the same time, obsession, spontaneity and unexpectedness of the creative impulse.
“Sometimes even the great man himself,” wrote G. Joly, “looking at the horizon that his own idea opens before him, is thrown into amazement and admiration before it and believes that it has descended to him from above, from some invisible, supreme force”.
The Romantics described the work of a genius as a spiritual intoxication, a miracle, listening to the mysterious and instinctive language.
Goethe, wrote down some poems involuntarily, like a sleepwalker in a somnambulic state.  Mozart described his creative process as an involuntary flow and play of images and thoughts.  This is God’s most precious gift, he believed. “Whence and how this I do not know, but I have nothing to do with it.” Turgenev wrote that “the novelist is positively possessed by something outside him and suddenly pushes him suddenly.”
4. Hearing voices. According to Socrates, Mohammed, Tasso, Tartini, Spinoza, Swedenborg, and Emerson, a spirit or genius informed them of new information, gave rise to unusual ideas, or simply gave advice. Swedenborg claimed to spend all his days in communication with spirits, while Rousseau, Feuerbach, A. Bloch, and D. London, by their own admission, were assisted in writing by their doubles.  “I wrote this poem under direct dictation, writing twelve, twenty or thirty lines at a time, without prior reflection and even against my will” (W. Blake).
At the same time, he considered the author of his works as eternity, and himself only its secretary.
5. A special ecstatic state.  Many geniuses experienced twilight, hypnotic states of consciousness in the process of their creativity. They created on a thin border between sleep and wakefulness, in states of creative somnambulism, during which they performed an enormous amount of work.
Alfieri described his creative process as a state of fever and seizure: “All day long I thought and pondered, as it always happens to me when I am seized by fever, by which I produce work, I do not know how. “Byron wrote of his work on Childe Harold: “When I composed it I was half mad, hovering among metaphysics, mountains, lakes, insatiable love, unspeakable thoughts, and under a nightmare of my own transgressions; more than once I was possessed by the desire to put a bullet in my forehead.
The affinity of the state of inspiration with the manic states is manifested in the activity of the unconscious, the rapidity of associations, the richness of the imagination and the sudden emergence of ideas and hypersensitivity. Among the main factors that stimulate the creative activity of geniuses in special states of consciousness are:
a) absence of barriers, templates and prohibitions, going beyond the usual routine.

b) release of subconsciousness. According to G.V. Segalin, it is the psychopathic component of the personality that releases the component of giftedness from the subconscious sphere and helps it to manifest itself.
6. Irregularity of vision, delusions of the senses, hallucinations and illusions.
The hallmark of genius has always been the presence of a special, unique, distinctive vision of reality. They saw the world differently, in a different way that allowed them to look beyond the frozen, flat scientific models and habitual constructions of common sense and see what ordinary people did not notice. Thus, the power of Van Gogh’s vision manifested itself in transforming and restructuring habitual patterns of perception. The physicist José Aragona argued that this vision refers to an understanding of the underlying essence of reality, manifested as a turbulent process.  Thus, many of Van Gogh’s paintings of the Saint-Rémy period were filled with all sorts of swirls and spirals.

В. Gilyarovsky believed that “the perceptive capacity sharpened by illness and the very unilateralism of thought, the propensity for painful exaggeration may allow us to better see some aspects of phenomena that really exist, but under normal conditions, sinking and escaping in the mass of others.  R. Kraft-Ebing wrote: “For artists, this ability is either merely reproductive or fantastically transformative. On it, perhaps, is based the art of some outstanding artists of drama, the strikingly plastic image of such poets as Goethe, Ossian, Homer.
According to V. Rozanov, N.V. Gogol felt, saw and knew many things, quite strange from the point of view of an apothecary store and department of railway affairs, “but not so strange for the clairvoyants Plato, Pascal, for some sages of India or sectarians of Iran.
The extreme complexity and inexhaustible depth of the creative revelations and states of geniuses could not be adequately revealed with the available explanatory principles and cognitive methods, and, therefore, they were readily described from a psychiatric perspective, using medical terminology.
For example, the French psychiatrist Louis-François Leloup coined the term “perceptual madness,” which, according to the author, was suffered by Socrates, who often fell into trance and experienced perceptual distortions and hallucinations, and by Pascal, who was visited by visions of religious content and hallucinations.
As far back as Jean-Etienne Esquirol distinguished between two kinds of delusions of the senses:
a) hallucinations, that is, visions arising without the participation of a real object;
b) illusions, when an object is not taken for what it really is, but is perceived in an altered form.
The list of geniuses who experienced hallucinations, compiled by Moro and Lombroso, was constantly growing. Among them are such great men as Socrates, Brutus, Girolamo Savonarola, Raphael, Cromwell, Luther, Bernadotte, Napoleon, Benvenuto Cellini, Byron, Cardanus, Pascal, Joan of Arc, Hoffmann, Maupassant, Derzhavin, Kramskoi.
In the creative process pseudo-hallucinations may be experienced, described by W.H. Kandinsky and G.I. Rossolimo as vivid and extreme sensual images, which differ sharply from true hallucinatory images in that they have no character of objective reality, but, on the contrary, are directly conscious as something subjective, however different from the usual images of memory and fantasy.
They proceed as inner hearing, and inner vision, close to the emergence of vivid, intense and independent perceptions, it is accessible to many healthy people in the state intermediate between sleep and wakefulness.
In turn, as an example of illusion, which was described and used in their works as an artistic device by such prominent writers as Goethe, H. Maupassant, F.M. Dostoyevsky, A. Blok, we can mention autoscopy, which manifests itself in the appearance of the illusion that the individual sees himself as if from aside.
Representatives of the art movements of modernism and surrealism consciously distorted the vision of reality, using all kinds of methods and techniques. For example, one of the founders of surrealism Salvador Dali stated: “The only difference between me and a madman is that I am completely normal.

The infantile theory of genius

The infantistic (from Latin infantia – childhood, naivety) theory states that a genius is a child who has preserved such features and virtues of childhood, as a fresh, pure, innocent, uncluttered by templates and stereotypes view of the world, as the ability to see things in their original purity and perceives them as they really are, as an insatiable interest in the world and the ability to wonder and admire the usual and commonplace.
According to this theory, a genius is characterized by such traits as naivety, trustfulness, unsophisticated, natural and direct, a rich imagination, and a passion for play. “Every child is in some measure a genius,” wrote Schopenhauer, “and every genius is in some measure a child.
The affinity of both is primarily found in naivety and sublime simplicity. Nietzsche considered creative “childishness” to be the main feature of genius.  F. Schiller argued that every true genius must be naive and divided poets into naive and sentimental. In this case, the naive poet creates carefree, being part of nature, and the sentimental poet creates deliberately, opposing nature. “The naive genius,” wrote F. Schiller, “must create everything from his nature and can create only very little from his freedom.
Among the geniuses with a child’s worldview, we can point out Lao Tzu, Mozart, J.J. Rousseau, D. Harms, A. Einstein.
They were characterized by virgin naivety, spontaneity, sincerity, playfulness, propensity for pranks and inquisitiveness.  “A normal adult will never be bothered by the problems of space and time,” wrote A. Einstein. – There are things you only think about as a child. But my intellectual development was delayed, as a result of which I began to think about space and time when I was far from young.