Here in the Philosophy Department at Santa Barbara City College we took issue with The Times editorial of April 21, "It's a Mad/Creative World." Creativity is by nature different because it is rare, but not everything that is different is creative--there is some qualitative separation, albeit ambiguous, between a sculpture and a brick wall. Is a paranoid schizophrenic, because he is radically different just a misunderstood manic genius?
The apparent madness that writers suffer from is not necessarily the impetus for their writing but more often the result of social forces on their craft. The primary motivation in a writer's quest to be published is the need to express oneself; a need that is often stifled by the business of publishing, by the hard mental work of writing, the mundane tasks of typing, photocopying, stuffing envelopes, the mounds of rejection and the financial hardships of being a "struggling artist."