You’re Only Given A Little Spark Of Madness

Little spark of madness
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“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams

Robin Williams (1951 – 2014) was an American comedian and actor best known for his impersonation, and improvisational skills. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1997 for his performance in the film

“Good Will Hunting”, one of his few serious roles. He received a total of 15 awards from various awarding ceremonies including Golden Globe Award, Emmy Award, and Grammy Award.

The term “spark of madness” is an accurate description of most comedians’ psychological nature. Robin Williams’ bouts of depression and addiction have been linked to his immense creativity, a trait related to psychosis. However, psychologist Daniela S. Hugelshofer’s study suggests that humour also serves as their buffer against depression and cynicism.

Empirical evidence has shown that inner turmoil is a prerequisite for humour. In a study by a group of British scientist, psychotic traits are significantly higher in comedians than in actors and people who work in non-creative fields. Although considered as disorders, certain psychotic traits present out-of-the-box thinking necessary for creative and funny outputs.

Success in comedy, however, is a product of conscientiousness and discipline. Schizophrenic psychosis impedes humour, but a less intense form increases a person’s ability to form odd observations necessary for comedy, says Gordon Claridge of Oxford University.

The complex nature of humour has yet to be revealed, but its dark side has been apparent. As humorist and writer Mark Twain stated, “The secret source of humour itself is not joy, but sorrow. There is no humour in heaven.”

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