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Old 06-23-2017, 10:09 AM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Gold Torture the Artists

Kafka, Van Gogh, Milton, God... Pretty unhappy, broken people, but responsible for some of the most interesting and powerful works of art ever. Was it worth it?

We might hope that through the act of creation these artists, and others like them, came to rationalize, accept, and in some way cope with their pain. But I'm not sure Van Gogh's painting made him any less self-destructive. I'm afraid that Kafka was no less agonized by the process of writing than he was by life in general. If the artistic process itself could not make these artists happy, should we at least be glad to benefit from their suffering?

I wonder if, had they the resources to 'cure' whatever respective madnesses afflicted them, these people would have lived happier, healthier lives. I wonder, also, if then they would ever have given us the twisted beauty of their respective genii. I wonder, finally, if we should judge the impact their work has had on the world to be fairly utilitarian in exchange for the individual pain they, and others like them, suffered.

TLDR: Should Kafka have been given Xanax?
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Old 06-23-2017, 10:27 AM
PajamaSalad PajamaSalad is offline

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Old 06-23-2017, 10:33 AM
Saranus Saranus is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anansi View Post
Kafka, Van Gogh, Milton, God... Pretty unhappy, broken people, but responsible for some of the most interesting and powerful works of art ever. Was it worth it?

We might hope that through the act of creation these artists, and others like them, came to rationalize, accept, and in some way cope with their pain. But I'm not sure Van Gogh's painting made him any less self-destructive. I'm afraid that Kafka was no less agonized by the process of writing than he was by life in general. If the artistic process itself could not make these artists happy, should we at least be glad to benefit from their suffering?

I wonder if, had they the resources to 'cure' whatever respective madnesses afflicted them, these people would have lived happier, healthier lives. I wonder, also, if then they would ever have given us the twisted beauty of their respective genii. I wonder, finally, if we should judge the impact their work has had on the world to be fairly utilitarian in exchange for the individual pain they, and others like them, suffered.

TLDR: Should Kafka have been given Xanax?
I don't know the answer to that, but I do wonder if this idea is exaggerated somewhat because the trope of the tortured artist has this mystique and is so prevalent. How many artists have been happy, fulfilled, fully-actualized people, but we never talk about it because it's not as interesting as the tortured souls?
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Old 06-23-2017, 10:37 AM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saranus View Post
I don't know the answer to that, but I do wonder if this idea is exaggerated somewhat because the trope of the tortured artist has this mystique and is so prevalent. How many artists have been happy, fulfilled, fully-actualized people, but we never talk about it because it's not as interesting as the tortured souls?
Plenty, probably. But we're not talking about them.
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Old 06-23-2017, 11:21 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Metamorphosis is a boring, shallow story.

Which means, if he was a tortured soul, then that torture sadly gave us nothing of value.
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Old 06-23-2017, 11:30 AM
Omacron Omacron is offline


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Thomas Kinkade seemed pretty well adjusted.
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Old 06-23-2017, 02:04 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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If someone in modern times suggested another person not be given medication to help them live happily because it might affect their art, I'd smack them upside the head, same for the past. The ultimate choice of course resides with the person taking the meds, but you don't... You don't -not medicate- folks because you want the product of their pain


Moreover, I've always felt this is a false dichotomy, sure the art might not be the same, but who's to say they might not have made more art if they were in a healthier mental space?
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Old 06-23-2017, 02:10 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
Metamorphosis is a boring, shallow story.

Which means, if he was a tortured soul, then that torture sadly gave us nothing of value.
I was thinking of The Trial, you ass, Metamorphosis is hardly the only thing he wrote.

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Moreover, I've always felt this is a false dichotomy, sure the art might not be the same, but who's to say they might not have made more art if they were in a healthier mental space?
Who indeed? That's the question I'm asking. Did their art depend on their suffering, or did their suffering inhibit their art?
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Old 06-23-2017, 03:11 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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I was thinking of The Trial, you ass, Metamorphosis is hardly the only thing he wrote.
It's the only one we had for summer reading.
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Old 06-23-2017, 06:41 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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I read The Trial for fun in the halcyon summer between 9th and 10th grade.

Like Mutterscrawl, I think it's a inaccurate to assume that the mental illness was an integral part of these artists' efforts. People in states of deep depression or anxiety are unlikely to produce much of anything.

Now, negative emotions can definitely be fuel for art—but that's distinct from being so derailed by mental illness that you can barely function. And if you're in that state, it's usually pretty difficult to create art.

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Thomas Kinkade seemed pretty well adjusted.
I've heard he was a belligerent jerk. Kinkade created some pretty amazing work, but he never bothered to really stretch himself or try new things. Thus, I consider him a spiritual twin to HR Giger.
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