Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 22nd, 2011

The more eccentric, the weirder, the more successful an entrepreneur?

Almost everytime someone famous or glamorous dies, you have to brace for a stream of articles under the title of “The more eccentric, the weirder, the more successful…”.

Invariably, you have to expect the caption: “The incidence of strange behavior by highly creative individuals (and other non successful individuals?) seems too extensive to be the result of mere coincidence….”

And you are taken back to ancient Greece with Plato and Aristotle “making comments about the peculiar behavior of poets and playwrights: Aristotle make the link between creativity and depression, an association that has been substantiated by modern research…

For example, an article in the daily The Independent” went as far as stating: “The latest findings in brain imaging, creativity research and molecular biology, suggest that these perceptions are not just based on a few anecdotal accounts of “weird” scientists and artists. Apparently, creativity and eccentricity often go hand in hand, and researchers now believe that both traits may be a result of how the brain filters incoming information…”

The article resumes:

Dean Kamen, the eccentric inventor dresses almost exclusively in denim: He harnessed 100 patents to his name and invented the Segway scooter…  Kamen spent five years in college before dropping out, does not take vacations and has never married. Kamen presides over the Connecticut island kingdom of North Dumpling, which has “seceded” from the U.S. and dispenses its own currency in units of pi. Visitors are issued a visa form that includes spaces on which to note identifying marks on both their face and buttocks. Kamen presides Ministers of Ice Cream, Brunch, and Nepotism: He inspires kids to pursue careers in science and engineering….”

And I wonder: “What is so weird in dressing almost exclusively in denim and rejecting ties and formal suits…? Many billion have nothing to wear on their backs or in their feet…Certainly Kamen must look weird wearing that many cloths…

And I wonder “Why the section on Kamen covered a third of the article?  Did the writer and the daily received substantial sum of money for this implicit ad, far more potent than ads that read: “What you are reading is an ad…”)

“Albert Einstein picked up cigarette butts off the street to get tobacco for his pipe…” (I have seen many people picking up stuffs from streets and dumpsters and then spending $100,000 on a split-second decision… and I didn’t appreciate them Einstein quality…)

Howard Hughes spent entire days on a chair in the middle of the supposedly germ-free zone of his Beverly Hills Hotel suite….” (You certainly witnessed many members in your relatives exhibiting these symptoms…)

“The composer Robert Schumann believed that his musical compositions were dictated to him by Beethoven and other deceased luminaries from their tombs….” (You heard so many kinds of stories…though the end results were not of genius caliber…)

Charles Dickens is said to have fended off imaginary urchins with his umbrella as he walked the streets of London…” (Psychologists make bundles listening to these kinds of people and categorizing them with precision in the Psychoanalysis Medical Book…)

Michael Jackson was preoccupied with rhinoplasty…” (That is a low jab)

Salvador Dalí had affection for dangerous pets…” (So were the boys of Qadhafi, traveling with pet lions and tigers to attend universities in Vienna and London…?)

Icelandic singer Björk dressed for the Oscars as a swan.

“Average Joes perceive highly creative individuals as eccentric. These individuals often see themselves as different and unable to fit in.

Even in the business world, there is a growing appreciation of the link between creative thinking and unconventional behavior, with increased acceptance of the latter…” (Listen, many billion are depressed and these Average Joes are not in the humor of perceiving the famous and glamorous as creative individuals…)

“More than a century ago, Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso classified the bizarre behavior of creative luminaries in his book “The Man of Genius” and attributed this behavior to the same hereditary “degeneration” that marked violent criminals….” (What! creative luminaries dumped in the same basket as violent criminals…?)

“In the past few decades, psychologists and other scientists have explored the connection using empirically validated measures of both creativity and eccentricity. To measure creativity, researchers may look at an individual’s record of creative achievements, his or her involvement in creative activities or ability to think creatively (for example, to come up with new uses for ordinary household items). To measure eccentricity, researchers often use scales that assess schizo-typical personality….”

These measuring variables are not that convincing in “valid scientific experiments”, especially using the scale gimmick and counting subjective “creative activities” for data…

“Schizo-typical personality can appear in a variety of forms, including :

1. Magical thinking (fanciful ideas or paranormal beliefs…)

2. Unusual perceptual experiences,

3. Social anhedonia? (a preference for solitary activities—Emily Dickinson, Nikola Tesla and Isaac Newton, for example, favored work over socializing),

4. Mild paranoia (unfounded feelings that people or objects in the environment may pose a threat…”

Are the more eccentric, the weirder, the more successful an entrepreneur, scientist, inventor, musician…?

I should think again and be suspicious of such kind of articles, meant to focus on a particular individual under the smokescreen of brushing the bigger picture...




December 2011

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