Re: Personality types (was: uncontrollable suffering)

From: Jacques Du Pasquier (
Date: Wed Nov 14 2001 - 16:03:29 MST

Anders Sandberg wrote (14.11.2001/21:24) :
> Back to the thread, I think the idea that artists are "in tune" with
> suffering might be due to the correlation between bipolar disorder and
> artistry. My guess is that the suffering per se isn't the important part
> here, but rather the mania. However, I seem to recall other results
> analysing famous artists and their work, and apparently reaching the
> opposite conclusion. Bipolar disorder is likely (IMHO) some form of
> dysregulation of the neuromodulator systems, so strictly speaking it is
> not about the cortex (some personality typing systems try to connect
> personality with neuromodulator levels - c.f. C.R. Cloningers work).
> In any case, there are obviously plenty of great artists who aren't
> depressive in any way. So depression doesn't seem to be necessary for
> art. Maybe it helps by providing wrenching dark hues to the composition.

Try, as a far-fetched thought experiment, to imagine you are not
immortal after all.

You may sense a kind of dissatisfaction with your condition, that will
happen to connect you to all of humanity so far. I don't think this
dissatisfaction (whatever the part of the brain in which it is
embodied) is a disease, but rather the result of a lucidity that makes
us different from other animals. In fact it is one of the very origin
of transhumanism. And I do think that art has often be, so far, linked
to that dissatisfaction, among others. When everything that is "not
right" looks solvable in real life, art is not very much needed. You
just solve it and spend time in happiness. But everything is never
solvable in real life, so art will always be very much needed.

To be even more precise, I don't think that what art *produces* really
keeps any link to suffering. And that's the beauty of it : you get
somewhere else than where you started. But I do think that it is
usually engendered as an answer to dissatisfaction. There may be forms
of arts remote from this mechanism, which I don't know of yet. But the
ones I know and have first-hand experience with, the ones that I have
the pleasure to see working every day, do bear such link, and it is
the potential born by the dissatisfaction that allows for something to

Of the writers I mentionned, only one, minor (Houellebecq) seems
clinically depressed. None of the others. As far as I understand it,
clinical depression makes it difficult to do anything, art included.

Back to the thread, I had a look at the Enneagram stuff, and it seemed
totally hopeless to me. To almost any question, I thought to myself
that the two options of the choice described two coexistent aspects of
my personality. I am a peacemaker, a reformer, a helper, an achiever,
an individualist, an investigator, a loyalist, an enthusiast and a
challenger. Successively, and simultaneously. Very much so :-)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:19 MDT