The Beauty that is Madness

Black Swan close up-courtesy of

The Black Swan is an incredible movie! revealing up close, intimate details of the moments that can only be described as insane. Besides being a riveting story filled with drama, intrigue and a gamut of jealousy, it is uniquely uncommon in its plot. There are no fuzzy feelings, no white horses, no saviors and absolutely no happy endings.

There is only the unraveling of a beautiful mind, all puns intended.

The experience was only enhanced by the 50 other psychologists who packed the cinema to see it tonight, on purpose! Diagnoses flew like darts to the board, some hit and many missed, but all thrown with the same veracity.

By the end of the movie, what struck me most was the Beauty that is madness.

The World hears and feels the danger of those deemed insane; we see it in the screaming headlines, the horrific crimes committed and the pleas of mental instability in the publicized court trials.

We see the horrible torture that mental illness can commit on itself, the self inflicted pain, cutting, drinking, drug abuse and the suicide. We’ve come to expect it. But hardly any one expects beauty.

I say hardly anyone but, as @jamaicapedia artfully reminded me, those who are highly creative, the artists true to their passion, know very well the thin line that separates their ecstatic visions from full blown hallucinations. They live with this brink everyday, and sometimes worry if one day, they will simply cross the line and never return.

The Beauty that is madness can be easy to overlook in the face of deviant and terrifying destruction. But it is there. In the Black Swan it is the attaining of sheer perfection and in Van Gogh it is found in the brush strokes of Starry Night.

Marcel Proust once said, “Everything great in the world is created by neurotics. They have composed our masterpieces, but we don’t consider what they have cost their creators in sleepless nights, and worst of all, fear of death.”

In my opinion, the genius that is inherent in true creativity, great or small, is sometimes a pirouette away from insanity. Sometimes you come back from the brink, and sometimes you don’t.

But we are human beings, not perfection and Beauty does and must exist even in the madness.


One thought on “The Beauty that is Madness

  1. great post! just saw this movie for the first time. further to our convo on the issue, i’d like to say that the connection between madness and creativity is a dangerous dance on a knife’s edge. artists and the insane go to the same place for ideas. what differentiates them as you say is how much control they can maintain and come back. but in truth, once you’ve been to that place, you don’t really come back. you learn instead how to live and function in the ‘real’ world while carrying that place around with you like a knapsack. the artists manage to keep theirs closed mostly, dipping into it as needed. for the mentally ill, the knapsack proves to be more of a pandora’s box. i wonder if the two groups can’t learn from each other…

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