Beers, Clifford - The positive effects of mania
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Manic Depression and Creativity – D Jablow Hershman and Dr Julian Lieb
In mania there is sometimes an overwhelming temptation to do good. One overflows with love for all creatures, including humanity. One longs to devote one's life to some worthy cause, to make some meaningful sacrifice, no matter how painful. A man who speaks from his own experience is Clifford Beer, a manic depressive who founded a clinic.
'A man abnormally elated may be swayed irresistibly by his best instinct.... He may not only be willing but eager to assume risks and endure hardships which under normal conditions he would assume reluctantly if at all'.
Indeed the courage, aggressiveness and hope needed to preach a new faith, to found a new religion, are the same assets that mania contributes to the political leader and the social prophet.
A saint's or mystic's good deeds and religious insights are not invalid because their sources happen to be manic depressive. Beethoven's music does not lose its beauty because he had the illness. Napolean's conquests were not less real because he had the disease.