charles mingus – all the things you could be by now if sigmund freud’s wife was your mother (1961)

From the record Charles Mingus Presents C.M., recorded 20 October, 1960at ‎Nola Penthouse Sound Studios, New York, with the wild Eric Dolphy on alto/bass clarinet, Danny Richmond on drums, and Ted Curson on trumpet.

helge janssen on the psychology of bullies

“Bullying represents a negative form of seeking attention. The bully is an excessively damaged person asking for help in a devastating way. While compassion is a fantastic quality, our society does not have the tools to deal effectively with this scourge. As a victim of bullying throughout my educational career (including, though less frequent, at college) I had absolutely no support from anybody. People thought bullying was ‘funny’. The bully has no control of his bullying and is not going to stop because he is shown ‘compassion’.

“The bully seeks power from the very person most likely to let him have it! It is a very weird psychology. However society does not have any mechanism (certainly not in schools, although there are pockets of greater awareness) to check this hurtful and harmful behaviour because the bully will find a way outside of school environment.

“Usually, the only thing the bully will listen to is if he is challenged directly. Sadly this challenge may come at a time when the VICTIM has lost rationale and has become desperate. Domestic violence is another form of bullying. Once a victim is forced into silent suffering the results become tragic.

“Being bullied taught me how to become INVISIBLE and it took about 10 years of my life AS AN ADULT to work my way out of this ‘death’. This was my only defence. In hind sight this has given me an invaluable tool: I am now an eternal REBEL.”

~ Helge Janssen

Written in response to THIS OPINION PIECE on bullying, published today on the Daily Maverick website.

creative minds “mimic schizophrenia”

By Michelle Roberts – Health reporter, BBC News

Creativity is akin to insanity, say scientists who have been studying how the mind works. Brain scans reveal striking similarities in the thought pathways of highly creative people and those with schizophrenia.

Both groups lack important receptors used to filter and direct thought. It could be this uninhibited processing that allows creative people to “think outside the box”, say experts from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. In some people, it leads to mental illness. But rather than a clear division, experts suspect a continuum, with some people having psychotic traits but few negative symptoms.

Salvador Dali – “Desk”

Art and suffering
Some of the world’s leading artists, writers and theorists have also had mental illnesses – the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh and American mathematician John Nash (portrayed by Russell Crowe in the film A Beautiful Mind) to name just two.

Creativity is known to be associated with an increased risk of depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Similarly, people who have mental illness in their family have a higher chance of being creative.

The thalamus channels thoughts
Associate Professor Fredrik Ullen believes his findings could help explain why. He looked at the brain’s dopamine (D2) receptor genes which experts believe govern divergent thought. He found highly creative people who did well on tests of divergent thought had a lower than expected density of D2 receptors in the thalamus – as do people with schizophrenia. The thalamus serves as a relay centre, filtering information before it reaches areas of the cortex, which is responsible, amongst other things, for cognition and reasoning.

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