A Definition of Madness
Madness in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the rejection of the “schizophrenic” artist myth
Keywords:madness, psyche, mind, psychoanalysis, consciousness, art, contemporary, self‑knowledge, awareness, Pinel, Hölderlin, Nietzsche, Hegel, reason, moral, transgression, overcoming, schizophrenia, Jaspers
I want to compose a positive definition of madness: the feeling of psychic commotion and vertigo resulting from the individual's perception of extra knowledge about himself. I will make a historical-philosophical and literary journey on the topic with some of the leading contemporary thinkers, from Kant and Pinel, Hegel, Hölderlin and Nietzsche, to Wittgenstein and Derrida. I present a different perspective from the current humanistic cultural convention that establishes a relationship of efficient causality between the nosological entity “schizophrenia” and the artistic production, arguing that the one who creates art is the individual, the artist, not an alleged psychic failure.
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