I see myself as an artist. I like to compare my personality -- my artistic temperament -- to a nuclear reactor. The nuclear reactor contains a quantity of controllable radioactive material that in ordinary circumstances would pose a hazard to the environment. But the reactor is a sturdy structure that contains the radioactive core, preventing the hazardous material from escaping or causing an explosion. The durable housing of the reactor enables the radioactive material to serve as a resource that can be channeled to a useful purpose.
The late Frank Barron, an expert in creativity studies, referred to "controllable oddness" as a resource in creativity. An oddness in thought or feeling, in his view, combines with an ability to reconsider and reformulate to produce a "socially communicable original meaning." David Schuldberg likewise believes that the critical factor that differentiates genius from madness may be ego strength.
A study was conducted to examine the joint influence of psychosis-proneness and ego strength on creativity in college students. Psychosis-proneness and ego strength were defined psychometrically by means of Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and California Psychological Inventory Profile, a procedure that resulted in four categories of research subjects: (1) psychosis-prone, high ego strength, (2) psychosis-prone, low ego strength, (3) not psychosis-prone, high ego strength, and (4) not psychosis prone, low ego strength. As predicted, psychosis-prone persons who were high in ego strength exhibited the highest level of evaluated creativity in their proposed solutions to an engineering problem and also the highest score on the Remote Associates Test.
The Remote Associates Test (known as the RAT) was developed by Martha Mednick in 1962 to test creativity. However, it has recently been utilized in insight research. The test consists of presenting participants with a set of words, such as lick, mine, and shaker. The task is to identify the word that connects these three seemingly unrelated ones. In this example, the answer is salt. The link between words is associative, and does not follow rules of logic, concept formation or problem solving, and thus requires the respondent to work outside of these common heuristical constraints. Performance on the RAT is known to correlate with performance on other standard insight problems.
As I like to say, a person should never be too sane or too crazy! I have a law degree, but most law firms would never offer me an associates position. I appear too unstable.