If you could cure (insert Historical Person) ????

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Prof_Pretorius
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19 Oct 2011, 4:45 pm

This is a variation on the "if you could take a pill to cure your Autism, would you? theme.

Only, if you could jump into a time machine and go back and "cure" Vincent Van Gogh, would you? Knowing his suffering would cease, but he would never paint those marvelous paintings. Or Edgar Allan Poe? Knowing he would quit drinking and never marry his cousin, and would spend his career writing newspaper articles instead of macabre tales?

Or Syd Barrett?
Or H.P. Lovecraft?
Or Stanley Kubrick?

Would you? And why? Or why not? And does this cause you to think of what you might be capable of accomplishing?


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Ettina
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19 Oct 2011, 5:08 pm

Difficult question.

I mean, in those cases where it's just neurodiversity, obviously not, but when they genuinely suffered... for example from what I understand Amy Lee is bipolar, and I strongly suspect her intensely emotional music is related to that, and it's sad to think that in order to write such great music she has to go through a lot of personal suffering.



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19 Oct 2011, 6:17 pm

Stephen Hawking. I'd make him walk again.
He always had a brilliant mind.


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Callista
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19 Oct 2011, 6:49 pm

Has. The guy's not dead, just retired. And not very retired at that. Still writing and everything.

I'd only do it if I could ask them first. I'm not into the idea of hijacking somebody's mind and/or body and forcing it into a shape I determine. That's their life, their decision. Period.


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19 Oct 2011, 6:55 pm

I would tell Bill Hicks he is aspergian and to stop trying to fix NT's

Maybe he would have calmed down a bit



Apple_in_my_Eye
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19 Oct 2011, 7:01 pm

I'd offer the person the choice, so it would be up to them. It's not my place to change their life for them.

In some cases it would be tempting to "cure" the person, though. I.e. Kurt Cobain's daughter would probably be better off with a non-famous living father rather than a famous dead one. I'd gladly toss out my Nirvana CD's if it meant she'd get her dead parent back.

And it seems a bit wrong for me to be able to choose someone being miserable and me getting the benefit of their art (or whatever) vs. their being happy and me losing out on the art/whatever. Who am I to leech a benefit off of someone else's misery? If I were them I'd say, "f*** you a**hole, go entertain yourself."

Personally, I'd rather be dull as muddy water and happy than miserable and a genius. Ultimately, the first-person experience of life is all I have. Other people's adoration (assuming a person even gets that before their death) means nothing to me.

I recall reading somewhere (maybe "Touched with Fire," by Jameson) that there seems to be a correlation between bipolar and creativity. -- But the catch is if it's uncontrolled it disrupts the person so much that they can't engage in any creative pursuits.



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19 Oct 2011, 7:31 pm

I would select the eccentric French composer Erik Satie (1866-1925). Although I would not want his eccentric nature cured (which some think was autism), I would wish for his heavy use alcohol to be cured---he died of cirrhosis. Although he did live to be 59, I believe he would have many years left in his life to compose many more amazing works.


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19 Oct 2011, 11:11 pm

I would cure King George VI of his stammering. I felt so bad for him when I watched the movie The King's Speech, especially the scene where he told Lionel Logue about his childhood, and the scene where he cried in private with his wife comforting him. But then again, he probably wouldn't have married Queen Elizabeth I if he didn't have a stammer, because in the movie, she says that she finally agreed to marry him because she knew that his stammering would force him (and thus her) to be out of the public eye. But of course they could have made that line up for the movie, I don't know.



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19 Oct 2011, 11:26 pm

Prof_Pretorius wrote:
If you could cure (insert Historical Person) ????

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (the Plague)
Ludwig von Beethoven (Deafness)
Abraham Lincoln (Marfan's Syndrome, Gunshot)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Polio)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (Back Injuries, Gunshot)
Marilyn Monroe (Drug Overdose)
Mohandas Gandhi (Gunshot)
Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig / Brian Boru (Multiple Stab Wounds)
Leonard Vincent (Temporal Dementia)
Pierre Curie (Massive Head Wound & Radiation Poisoning)
Marie Curie (Radiation Poisoning & Cancer)
The Crew of Apollo 1 (Asphyxiation, Smoke Inhalation & Incineration)
The Crew of the Shuttle Challenger (Anoxia, Impact)
The Crew of the Shuttle Columbia (Explosion, Incineration, Dismemberment)


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lotuspuppy
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19 Oct 2011, 11:26 pm

It's a moot question. Autism is a medical model construct to describe observed neurological differences. Before WWII or so, autism did not exist.

The point is that historical figures had nothing wrong with them because society had no words to describe those differences in a systematic fashion, except maybe "eccentric." It's a similar argument Michel Foucoult and Thomas Szlizard advanced in the 1960s, and will again be advanced in the 2010s.



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19 Oct 2011, 11:34 pm

IdahoRose wrote:
she says that she finally agreed to marry him because she knew that his stammering would force him (and thus her) to be out of the public eye. But of course they could have made that line up for the movie, I don't know.


Lol. That's totally FAKE. No one who sought high social status (Or someone of high social status) would choose to marry someone on the basis of some quality keeping them out of the public eye; I'm guessing if the movie mentioned this, it was probably just joking.

I hope.



Callista
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20 Oct 2011, 1:20 am

Quote:
And it seems a bit wrong for me to be able to choose someone being miserable and me getting the benefit of their art (or whatever) vs. their being happy and me losing out on the art/whatever. Who am I to leech a benefit off of someone else's misery? If I were them I'd say, "f*** you a**hole, go entertain yourself."

Personally, I'd rather be dull as muddy water and happy than miserable and a genius. Ultimately, the first-person experience of life is all I have. Other people's adoration (assuming a person even gets that before their death) means nothing to me.
Well...

Okay. This might be a little bit odd to say. But I have had several episodes of major depression, and since it's recurrent, it'll come back again. I have double the risk of suicide as the general population. And yet, if I had the choice, I don't think I would choose to wipe away those bad, dull, heavy times. They're part of my life, too, not just the happy times. I've been able to help others because I've experienced this and survived, at least until now. I'm different--more mature, more appreciative of life itself--because I survived those things and because I know now how to deal with it the next time.

There's no denying that depression is a bad thing. And yet--it's MY bad thing. If that makes any sense. It's part of my past, and will probably be part of my future. I look at the world more clearly because of it--seeing the bad in life without the rose-colored glasses that many people wear. And yet, because I survived, I know that the bad things in the world can be changed--that I can do something to make the world suck less in the future than it does now. You can't get that perspective without a heck of a lot of trouble.

And... I think I'd rather have a meaningful life than a happy one. There's my choice. I guess it's odd, but at least it's mine to make.


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20 Oct 2011, 2:01 pm

Callista wrote:
And... I think I'd rather have a meaningful life than a happy one. There's my choice. I guess it's odd, but at least it's mine to make.


I dont think many peeps have much of a choice......

A self actualised or self realised person would be more able?



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That when the dream was realised
It actually smelt like pooh



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20 Oct 2011, 2:57 pm

I have a problem with this type of question, but I'll get to that after answering it.

Yes. Yes I would, if it were possible. Now, here's why, and what I don't like about the question, or, rather what I don't like about the logic behind it.

"Knowing his suffering would cease, but he would never paint those marvelous paintings. Or Edgar Allan Poe? Knowing he would quit drinking and never marry his cousin, and would spend his career writing newspaper articles instead of macabre tales?"

Who says? Why is it that we are taught so much that artists must suffer in order to be great? I think that's a bunch of hogwash. Who's to say that if Van Gogh would not have produced great art if he lived a balanced and happy life?

Just because there are a great deal of artists who have produced great art during great suffering, does not necessarily mean it was the suffering that made the great art possible. The human condition is, by nature, one rife with suffering. It's everywhere. Maybe the only reason so much great art comes from suffering artists, is only because there is so much suffering to begin with!

I have no problem believing that if there were NO suffering of any kind in this world, the world would still be filled with great art.

And that is the reason I would say, "You bet your ass I would cure them all, if it were possible."

What kind of person, who could stop anyone's suffering, would not do it?


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20 Oct 2011, 3:21 pm

We could always target General McClellan with an Asperger's cure and probably improve his generalship. Shorten the war by rather a lot. (Or maybe not... his organizational/logistics ideas built the war machine that Grant & co. ended up wielding to crush the Confederacy)



Prof_Pretorius
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20 Oct 2011, 6:03 pm

MrXxx wrote:
I have a problem with this type of question, but I'll get to that after answering it.

Yes. Yes I would, if it were possible. Now, here's why, and what I don't like about the question, or, rather what I don't like about the logic behind it.


Who says? Why is it that we are taught so much that artists must suffer in order to be great? I think that's a bunch of hogwash. Who's to say that if Van Gogh would not have produced great art if he lived a balanced and happy life?

Just because there are a great deal of artists who have produced great art during great suffering, does not necessarily mean it was the suffering that made the great art possible. The human condition is, by nature, one rife with suffering. It's everywhere. Maybe the only reason so much great art comes from suffering artists, is only because there is so much suffering to begin with!

I have no problem believing that if there were NO suffering of any kind in this world, the world would still be filled with great art.

And that is the reason I would say, "You bet your ass I would cure them all, if it were possible."

What kind of person, who could stop anyone's suffering, would not do it?


To generalize, most great artists have been so very focussed on their work that there is little time (or emotional energy) left over for a 'normal' life. They are obsessed with creating art, and not much else. Would it be fun to have a pint with Stanley Kubrick? Or a plate of pasta with Da Vinci? Probably not. I'm not saying all great artists suffer, Salvador Dali appears to have led a fairly happy life and painted some iconic pictures. But I'm fascinated by those who suffered greatly and produced great art. Especially HPL.


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