Why do art? For the immense intrinsic reward and the hope of touching others as the artist himself has undoubtedly been touched. The artist hopes to share his own attempt to make sense of his experience, with the aim of adding meaning to the lives of others. Vincent van Gogh was a perfect example of this artistic vision. He is also an example of how it can all go wrong. His early works depict toiling peasants and nature, but as he developed as an artist, he became obsessed with bright colour. He ended his tormented life by shooting himself with a revolver in a field filled with ripe golden wheat, the colour of which must surely have reminded him of the huge yellow sunflowers he loved so much and is so famous for painting.
Vincent van Gogh is a sobering example of how artistic vision can lead a creative person into difficulties. (Image: WPClipart)
Some highly creative people once believed that psychoanalysis would extinguish their creative flame and impair achievement. (Photo: public domain)
In his psychiatric practice, Carl Jung dealt with many creative individuals. Jung noted how often his patients’ psychological difficulties arose from the creative process itself. The ground-breaking physicist Wolfgang Pauli was one of these troubled creators. Jung analysed Pauli’s dream imagery after the scientist’s unconventional and tumultuous life brought him to the brink of mental breakdown. Pauli had become obsessed with where the insights for his greatest discovery had come from. He felt that he had drawn upon something beyond physics. Swiss-German author, Hermann Hesse was another of Jung’s notably creative patients. Already a famous writer when treated by Jung, Hesse – like Pauli – went on to win a Nobel Prize. Hesse suffered from recurring bouts of depression that tended to strike when his writing had reached an impasse.
Not knowing what you want can cause debilitating depression. There is a remedy, and you are already carrying it around with you. (Photo: Public Domain Pictures)
Have you become discouraged in life? Has it occurred to you to question what you are doing, or where you are going? Does the nagging feeling that “there must be more to life than this” eat away at you? Worse, have you entered the midlife crisis or had a full-blown psychological breakdown? All these things are distressing to one degree or another, and all, even the less pressing, require a remedy. They all stem from a loss of personal vision. That loss has come about because of an inner conflict, a conflict that probably remains below the threshold of conscious awareness.