Friday, April 26, 2013

Finding Creativity Through Our Madness?

In TAMU Press’s new book, Madness and Creativity, author and analyst Ann Belford Ulanov utilizes her years of clinical work and reflection to come to the conclusion that madness and creativity work together. It is through the suffering of the human psyche where the foundations of creativity and genius are drawn. She pulls from the themes of Jung’s Red Book, which presents some of the most important experiences of his life—including his psychic encounters from 1913-1928.

As prompted by the title, Ulanov’s book is divided into two parts: part one-madness, part two-creativity. Within part one she delves into the madness of ourselves—of the breakdown and breakthroughs of our personal lives, and in the other part, the madness in the world—the violence of the world and our sense of meaningless within it. The second half of the book focuses on creativity. It is divided into studying the complex that haunts our lives, and then the transformation of our complex into creativity. Ulanov writes on the connection between madness and creativity in her introduction: 

"Madness dislocates us, out of our bodies, out of our minds. And yet, and yet, in the midst of madness dots of light appear; Jung calls them scintillae. These act as creative points indicating something bright, hopeful. Strung together, the dots construct a path, which can transfigure our madness into our creative contributions.”

Ann Belford Ulanov, a Jungian psychoanalyst in private practice, is the Christiane Brooks Johnson Memorial Professor of Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
To order this book, click here.
--Madeline Loving