Coming Anarchy 6, Sacrifices

Note: This is a selection from Coming Anarchy, part of tdaxp‘s SummerBlog ’06







“It is not uncommon for such extraordinary individuals to be personally unhappy, to undergo breakdowns, to feel suicidal, and to become estranged from close associates, who in turn may feel that their lives have been ruined (Gardner, 1997).”
As mentioned in the obsession part above, many times great sacrifices were needed in order to achieve the great feats that many creative and successful people achieved. Sometimes they were acutely aware of the personal sacrifices, but somehow thought that they were worth it to push their domain forward. At other times, it seemed that some of the people we studied in class were oblivious to the sacrifices their families (and other children, in the case of the chess study) were making to support their passion.

Relevant Quotes From Interviews (Select):

When asked the question, “Do you find you have to sacrifice something else to continue your work on your blog?” the following answers were elicited:
Chirol: “Sometimes ‘real things’ suffer because I’ve spent too much time researching or writing”
Younghusband: “Yes of course school work… wife time… exercise.”
When asked the question, “What sort of things do you give up to blog?” the following answer was elicited:
Curzon: “Time with my loved ones; drinking with friends; work; study; exercise.”

Organizing The Information From The Quotes (Organize):

Again we see that great work in a domain requires one to minimize time with loved ones and friends. You might even stretch your imagination a little, and wonder if working in certain domains, such as weblogging, might even require physical risk (e.g., less exercise could lead to poor physical health). Again, we see a basic similarity, with real differences. Two subjects (Curzon and Younghusband) gave unequivocal answers, while the other (Chirol) qualified his. It just goes to show us that creative people are not clones of each other.

Association With Our Course Readings (Associate):

“The extraordinary amount of time we put toward this one activity takes him out of a lot of fun and games. The kid gives up an enormous amount to dedicate himself to the sport the way he does (Kiewra, et al. Developing young chess masters: A collective case study).”
“The openness and sensitivity of creative individuals often exposes them to suffering and pain. Being alone at the forefront of a discipline also makes you exposed and vulnerable. Eminence invites criticism and often vicious attacks (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).”

Nagging Questions (Regulate):

To what extent may self-reporting of things suffering be a function of heightened sensitivity of creative people? Which makes one wonder if perhaps self-reporting is a flawed mechanism for determining identity (contra Moshman), and it is up to psychologists to infer an “implicit theory of self?” In addition, the seemingly strong relationship between obsession and sacrificing comes to mind again. Do people sacrifice the things they love to do because they are obsessed with their domain, or do people obsess over their domain because they realize how much they how sacrificed in the past?

Coming Anarchy, a tdaxp series:
Coming Anarchy 1: Introduction
Coming Anarchy 2: Methods and Analysis
Coming Anarchy 3: Identity
Coming Anarchy 4: Failure
Coming Anarchy 5: Obsession
Coming Anarchy 6: Sacrifices
Coming Anarchy 7: Humility
Coming Anarchy 8: Geography
Coming Anarchy 9: Recognition
Coming Anarchy 10: The Gap
Coming Anarchy 11: Conclusion