Thursday, October 6, 2011

Are many of the most talented musicians and artists autistic?

I am discussing this topic with the utmost of respect for the musicians and artists that I mention.  I am in no way attempting to defame or insult them.  This is merely an observation that I have been formulating over many years now.  Furthermore, I feel that I am qualified to discuss this topic as I am a high functioning autistic.  I was officially diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2008.  Late in life, yes, but you know what they say.  Better late than never.

Over the years, I've noticed some musicians having what I'll loosely term "mental breakdowns".  I've also observed cases where one band member has difficulty getting along with the others.  Yes, I know that this is merely people being people in many cases.  However, I believe that there are some cases where autism could be causing the social conflicts.  People who are high functioning autistics are often extremely smart and creative.  However, their emotions are a bit out of sync with their intellect.  Sometimes quite divergent.  It is this attribute that makes people like us more susceptible to social conflicts.

Throughout the ages, I think some of the most prolific artists and musicians likely had some form of autism.  Mussorgsky, Van Gogh, Mozart, and Da Vinci just to name a few.  I think it's quite arguable that even Einstein was autistic.  Honestly, to a degree, I think high intelligence and autism go hand in hand.  Thus, there's no shame in it.  Quite the opposite.  Despite our social shortcomings, we are some of the most productive and creative people in the world.  We chip away at the mysteries of the universe because we are highly analytical and persistent.  We make great artists and musicians because we are extremely creative and have profound imaginations.

I was going to name some well known people who are alive and well today that I think have some degree of autism.  However, I think it would be even better if musicians and artists, well known or not, would step forward and be proud of who they are by announcing it themselves.  I welcome comments on this post.  In fact, I'll be more than a little disappointed if I don't see any over the coming weeks.  Whether autistic or not, I'd definitely like to 'hear' from artists and musicians.  Let's spread the word that we should be highly regarded for our intellect and creativity rather than looked down upon for our social shortcomings.

1 comment:

Andréa Hector-Brown said...

i have to agree with your post ... i once thought that perhaps those of us doomed with any kind of mental 'abnormal' in the eyes of 'normal' people, are also given art as a tool to work through our demons ...