I was thinking <snort> about this the other day, after listening to an NPR report on patterns.
Somebody did some research and found that when people are stressed, they have a tendency to create patterns where none exists. Such as by seeing recognizable objects in static. And that when they’re NOT stressed, they don’t do it.
The suggestion was that creating patterns is our way of gaining control, of making sense out of non-sense; the researchers drew some parallels to superstitions, where people attribute causality as a way of combating fear.
So what I wondered is if people who develop (or have) mental illness that results in a split from reality are not doing exactly the same thing, building an alternative that makes sense because what’s around them doesn’t.
Anyway, I used to believe that “you think too much” was a stupid criticism (and it’s one I’ve heard a lot). I’m changing my view; I do think it’s possible to generate a false reality through excessive rumination, and that the reality one creates is often worse than the actual one.
I also know that, as an artist, it’s important to let up on control, so that art can happen. Deliberate choices are a part of making art, but they’re not the whole thing; our conscious minds tend to kill the actual “art” and turn the drawing into an answer to a question that wasn’t being asked. Hmmm, that was vague. Here’s an example – I saw this problem in a couple of my pieces just last night, work I’d done earlier this summer. I could see I’d overworked the portraits, I’d put in more information than was needed, because I was self-conscious and uncertain. I can see, looking at the drawings now, that I was trying to prove that I’m competent. Instead of just letting art happen. I over-thought them, trying to guard against criticism that wasn’t being made (except by me).