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Bogdan C.S. Pirvu, Casa Poeziei.

Bogdan C.S. Pirvu, Casa Poeziei

(Iasi: PIM. 2018)

Without saying that much, dr Bogdan C.S. Pirvu, a very young, but already renowned psychiatrist, makes it clear enough that the title of his book, Casa Poeziei/The house of Poetry is actually a metaphor for artistic creativity and, respectively, personality.

The first section of the book is thus aptly occupied by an innovative definition of creativity by and large, and artistic creativity in particular:

"With a back-up including Cosman, Rusu, Enachescu, Pamfil & Ogodescu, with a view to Cloninger, Amabile and Csickszentmihalyi, he traced outlines of creativity-as-process to be described by reward dependence, persistence, self-directedness, self-transcendence, also by intrinsic motivation and, last but not least, by a certain Zeitgeist.

In the perimeter of creativity-as-product, the master definition stipulates originality and utility, intelligence coming second, openness by all means and purposes coming first--which turns out to not be all true. If dr Pirvu may readily admit that intelligence is far from being the prevailing asset, he can hardly see openness as a personality trait, its would-be stability being questioned by a case like Tudor Arghezi, with extreme openness in his fleurs du mal poetics, with symmetrical obtuseness in his family life. Neither can he welcome the current description of creativity, which includes usefulness in the datum and thus pushes the afore-mentioned poetics out of the confines of creativity. He has chosen instead to sieve out Kant's fairly fastidious definition and come by the formulation of creativity as formative originality, i.e. an originality that is not left schizophrenically behind, but rather taken up as model, as principium individuationis.

When back in the realm of creativity-as-process in order to recuperate Kay Redfield Jamison's definition for the intensive creative episode, dr Pirvu described what in romantic tradition was called "trance"--which involves, with the notable exception of the need for sleep, overall increases in mood, cognition and behaviour: enthusiasm (79%), energy (67%), self-confidence (64%), cognitive fluency (62%), euphoria (58%), concentration (57%), emotional intensity (56%), well-being (55%) and, trailing behind, sexuality (15%), talkativeness (12%), shopping (8%). Such figures will plead, along with a virtual lithium treatment which he has described in psychopharmaceutical terms, for the introduction of (subclinical) hypomania in the equation of creativity-as-process. Thus, an "in-mirror" portrait of the artist-in-trance/hypomaniac will show, under such circumstances, that either feels on top of the world (criterion A); he is cool and high (symptom Bi), and goes about it all with no need to, and no time for sleep (symptom [B.sub.2]) because he has something important and urgent to communicate (symptom [B.sub.3]).

When back in the field of creativity-as-product, so as to deal with the biopsychosocial connections between formative originality (FO) and novelty, disinhibition, openness, flexibility, synesthesia and divergence, dr Pirvu puts psychopathology on the bill of artistic literary creativity, thus meeting with distinguished pathographic (Juda, Martindale, Jamison, Post, Ludwig, Cosman) or anamnesic research (Andreasen, Ludwig, Cosman)."

The second section of the book is filled in by a most felicitous definition of personality, drawn in such a manner as to highlight the special connotations of the artistic creativity:

"With constant references to Cosman and Cloninger, dr Pirvu drew up definitions for personality and personality traits, person, temperament and character--from a biopsychosocial perspective.

On the spectrum of introverted neuroticism (Ni), dr Pirvu framed definitions for psychoticism and psychopathy, agreeableness, harm avoidance and sensibility to punishment, the resources being Eysenck & Eysenck, Zuckerman, Costa & McCrae, Cloninger, Gray. He then focused on neuroticism, the main quotation being Jeffrey Gray.

On the spectrum of extraverted neuroticism (NE), dr Pirvu drew a line for conscientiousness, novelty seeking, sensation seeking and sensibility to reward, the recourses being Costa & McCrae, Cloninger, Zuckerman, Gray. Extraversion benefited by a rather more extended formulation, in biopsychosocial terms, the main footnotes being Jung, Eysenck & Eysenck, Costa & McCrae and Gray.

The model dr Pirvu is defending, AS, implies anxiety as introverted neuroticism in the foreground of a behavioral inhibition system, and sociability as extraverted neuroticism at the head of a behavioral activation system, biopsychosocial arguments taking him along to a concept of a mostly serotoninergically modulated anxiety (A), never too far from Jeffrey Gray but pretty close to DSM-5 and involving a semantic field that covers 1) fearfulness; 2) restlessness; 3) weakness; 4) dullness; 5) irritability with a lexical field separated into items like 1) shy, anxious, panicky, tense, shaky; 2) worried, uneasy, edgy, sleepless, agitated; 3) frail, feeble, unsteady, anemic, prostrate; 4) slow, vacuous, mindless, witless, half-witted; 5) dissastified, moody, touchy, gloomy, fretful; also carrying me off to a concept of dopaminergically modulated sociability (S), quite far from Gray, because only ambiguously related to reward, entailing a semantic field that covers 1) hyperactivity; 2) dominance; 3) self-confidence; 4) independence; 5) recklessness--with a lexical field separated into items like 1) hasty, over-excitable, high-strung, compelling, wild; 2) assertive, overbearing, authoritative, domineering, commanding; 3) poised, sanguine, undoubtful, self-assured, self-reliant; 4) unconstrained, autonomous, self-govening, self-contained, self-sufficient; 5) carefree, adventurous, inconsiderate, intolerant, mindless."

My own PhD thesis, on the musical personality, would have certainly benefitted from such groundbreaking definitions that are certain to make a difference in the years to come.

Ioan Florin Diaconu, PhD; Associate Professor of Piano, George Enescu University of Arts; Iasi, Romania;
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Author:Diaconu, Ioan Florin
Publication:Romanian Journal of Artistic Creativity
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 22, 2018
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