Approached by something truly creative, someone will inevitably say, “What kind of drugs was he taking?” I’ve heard this ever since I could remember, but I have always found it strange.
Do drugs really cause creativity?
“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.”
There seems to be a clear connection between drugs and art style and creative people are more likely to use drugs , but the connection between narcotics and producing masterworks is hazy at best. Another study showed that artists used drugs to help regulate the emotions that crop up during the creative process.
In my own experience, drugs have only served as a dampener to creativity. I may feel euphoric, but I don’t do anything. When I do find the energy to create something, usually it is subpar at best.
I will confess that I haven’t tried any drugs that were not prescribed to me. The drug with the most euphoric effect I have taken is Xanax, but I don’t think that invalidates my argument.
I don’t think screenwriting is therapeutic. It’s actually really, really hard for me. It’s not an enjoyable process.
I don’t begrudge anyone that takes drugs for recreational purposes. Life is difficult. Creative people tend to be more emotional and have a harder time regulating that emotion, but the whole idea of taking drugs to “be more creative” sounds disingenuous.
Being creative consistently is difficult. The entire process is filled with doubt and fear. Most drugs dampen those feelings, but those feelings are necessary to create good work.
Without a healthy amount of fear, your work will be filled with embarrassing mistakes. The overall quality will drop and the pieces won’t be an accurate expression of yourself, but an expression of your current mind state.
How sustainable can this process be? Countless brilliant artists’ lives were cut short by this harmful creative process. You can take too many on drugs, but you can’t overdose on creativity.
“We are all in search of feeling more connected to reality…We indulge in drugs or alcohol, or engage in dangerous sports or risky behavior, just to wake ourselves up from the sleep of our daily existence and feel a heightened sense of connection to reality. In the end, however, the most satisfying and powerful way to feel this connection is through creative activity. Engaged in the creative process we feel more alive than ever, because we are making something and not merely consuming, masters of the small reality we create.”
I want to feel something genuine. My whole attraction to art stems from that idea. Drugs aren’t a valid gateway to get the experiences that I crave. I want to be as present as possible and learn from my experiences.
That is Art to me. It is not novelty for novelty’s sake, but an expression of a human experience unique to the artist and simultaneously common to the species.
What do you think about the relationship between drugs and creativity?