Genius As A State Of Ecstasy

Stefany Anne Golberg explores “The hallucinations of Frédéric Chopin,” an article published recently in the journal Medical Humanities:

“The hallucinations of Frédéric Chopin” is thus in the tradition of what some call neurotheology, the attempt to medically explain spiritual experiences. The not-always-subtle subtext is that unexplainable visions, or other divine madnesses, have no place in our enlightened, modern world. Neurotheologists have never been comfortable with the idea that romantic visions exist, and far less comfortable with madness as the catalyst for works of genius. The impetus behind these diagnoses is a desire to secularize genius, or to democratize it, and in some cases, to do away with the notion of genius altogether. ...

In the end, [authors] Caruncho and Fernández say they want to separate romance from reality, but their diagnosis leads to a conclusion no less romantic, and no less religious, than the legend: that our own bodies can generate within us a sensation of the divine.