I often feel judged. I think in previous posts, I dedicated attention to it. I’ve decided to write about people that marked the foundation of our civilisation and who also had problems with mental ill-health or whose lives didn’t fall into cliches of their time.
I am not saying that all of us are brilliant because we are mad or somehow impaired. I am not even trying to say that thriving despite illness is what makes a person stronger. I am not sure about it, and I would love you to comment on the issue.
I want to point out that life doesn’t have to be a cliche to be a human life and to be owned and accepted. Guess what, cliches change in time, just like fashion in clothing.
I picked Van Gogh for this post. Everyone has heard of him, and everyone knows his most famous paintings, I am sure. His life was a struggle to find a technique to express himself and also struggle with poor mental health.
Van Gogh tried many things before dedicating himself to art, and he failed at almost everything. His career as an artist was brief. His brother Theo supplied him in his needs because in his life- he sold only one painting. Today, at auctions, his paintings have astronomical prices. So, are we quick to judge and slow to understand?
I don’t want to write the whole biography here, since experts have done it much better than I ever could. I want to argue against leaving people on the margins for being somehow impaired.
One of his quotes is omnipresent on the net: “There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” Indeed, one colour brings out the other; they coexist and make the palette useful. So why couldn’t people with different abilities coexist? Isn’t that the very essence of society?
Also: “A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.” He knew that he was great. He knew that he is contributing the best he can. It is evident in this quote. It is also a lesson for all of us in a similar situation, for everyone misunderstood that we needn’t be great to contribute, that sometimes a small act of kindness can have the value of an astonishing painting if I am allowed to turn this quote upside down.