Once is a coincidence. Two is a phenomenon. Three is a sample set. This has been my operating mantra since minoring in philosophy as a phenomenologist. So when I come across information regarding mood disorders amongst creatives, I apply my mantra to see if whatever hypothesis I’ve conjured is proven true. Well friends, I’ve been stumped, and I could really use your help on this one.
Establishing the Sample Set (n=3)
We spent an evening at the Dali Museum with an animated docent describing the zany life and scientific method of my favorite painter, Salvador Dali. His museum is one of the reasons why I chose to move here; every moment with his masterpieces results in an ekphrastic reaction. Salvador Dali spoke crazily, he painted strangely, he embedded clues purposefully. The man was not just a wielder of brushes, he was a thinker, astrophyics and nuclear technology being deeply captured in the nadir of his popularity. Yet he was considered an eccentric. A seer, I told BF, a soothsayer for our times.
Kinda like how I see myself.
The Phenomenon of Flow (or, How To Call Forward The Muse)
On a rainy afternoon I explored Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s TED talk regarding flow theory and found my scientist self becoming stoked by this presentation. My recent hospital stay included 10:00am workshops on various topics, but the one I found most interesting was the quadrant approach to bipolar disorder. If you’re near a pen and paper or post it note right now, draw a line vertically then horizontally. From the upper left to clockwise, fill in the words Anxiety, Mania, Psychosis, Depression as the headers. Now, in the hospital presentation we covered several attributes which signified these particular mood disorders (many overlapped as you can imagine) and wrote them down in their quadrant. In the TED talk, a graph was presented, backed up with a list of seven attributes which denotes a person “in flow.” Comparing the two studies, it seems the TED talk is really describing a mood disorder, while the hospital quadrant is describing how one seeks social contribution.
Now this is where I get confused. If I’m taking pills to manage my mood, am I killing my chance to be in flow? Is being in flow a threat or a promise of a better life?
Dammit. I think too much. Anyone know a flow theorist?