TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Is there a link between insanity and genius?

Insanity, genius, mental illness and madness are all labels we give to people who think and behave in ways that seem beyond, or outside what is seen as 'normal'.

Firsly, what is 'normal', and who labels it so?

Does 'mental illness' deserve such a label, or can so-called normality widen its scope to accept it as 'thinking differently' instead?

What and where is the demarcation line between madness and genius - and who draws that line?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Aug 27 2012: I agree with your second question, I think 'insanity' is thinking differently and whats 'normal' is the certain behaviours,feelings ,patterns of thinking and ways of expressing ourselves accepted by the community we live in.So in the end none of these terms actually exist,they are only created by the society.Is there a link between 'insanity' and 'genius' ?,no there is just the courage to actually think outside the box and the frustration of 'normal' people who refuse to accept it,which is why the works,ideas etc.. of many 'geniuses' were appreciated much later on in time.
    • Aug 28 2012: Hi Beste,

      If a genius is unaccepted in his/her lifetime in his/her community, does that mean he/she might be vulnerable to mental illness because of that rejection?
      • thumb
        Sep 2 2012: Yes,I think this works both ways, a genius can be seen as mentally ill which will lead to apprehension and unacceptance towards that person by the community or as you have said, he/she might already be unaccepted by the community thus feeling alone and misunderstood which can meke that person vulnerable to mental illness.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.