In reply to Natasha:
While "suffering" as such is not necessarily connected to artistic genius, it is nevertheless true that creative thought generally involves bridging chasms between paradigms, requiring the willingness to put up with a high level of cognitive dissonance. A lot of the difference between "mundanes" and creative people is that willingness to accept uncertainty and hold two or more conflicting foci. Perhaps the artist has a stronger brain/mind constitution, by training, experience or genetically based physiology. Or perhaps his or her conviction that synthesis and resolution are possible and the effort is worthwhile is a major factor. I see some clear connections to Branden's work re self-esteem - or to Gatsby, ever convinced that one night he would see that green light...
Re: personality types and culture
For my entire youth, I fought against the idea that people were products of their culture. Then, in the mid-70's, I drove a cab for 6 months or so. While driving, I began to notice that I could predict the driving behavior of other drivers by the race/age/class of the driver, as well as the type of car. For example, one real hazard in Columbia, S. Carolina during that period were middle-aged, middle-class, overweight black women. They almost invariably bought the same model of car, a maroon Buick, occasionally a Pontiac, but almost always dark maroon. And they all drove exactly the same way. When they approached a right turn, they would suddenly and without warning swurve radically to the left, usually verging two or three feet into the next lane over - a totally unnecessary manuever .
After a few close calls, I made sure to look for possible right turn opportunities before I would dare pass one of these ladies. How was it that they all behaved exactly the same? I suspect that they all watched one another. They surely attended the same clubs, churches, etc. and probably associated more with each other than any other group. I never saw an exception to this behavior. After that, I started paying more attention to stereotypical behaviors, and, sure enough, I spotted them all over the place.
Years later, in the mid-80's, I drove a cab again in Orange County, CA. There, I soon realized that all the problems, the run-outs, driver intimidations, etc., came from a small set of discrete groups. For example, I had a 50% rate of run-outs from black fares, until I adopted an ironclad policy or money up front from any black passenger. At the same time, I never had a single instance of an ethnic hispanic running out on a fare in five years, and they were 90% of my customers.
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