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A few weeks after the release of the Kony 2012 video, creator Jason Russel was hospitalized for "brief reactive psychosis", basically a stress-induced mental breakdown. While a mental break down is not in the same league as schizophrenia or a severe case of bipolar disorder, it does have similar tenants. As shown in the readings and the class discussions mental disorders have a long history of appearing in highly intelligent and highly creative individuals. The Russ article says that people with affect laden states are more creative for two reasons:
First, they have access to more cues that activate other nodes in the search process. More associations occur. Second, more emotionally salient material would get coded and stored when individuals were in an emotional state. For individuals open to affect, more would "get in", thus providing the individual with a richer network of affect-relevant associations" ( Russ 31).
Using this information and the discussion in class, Mr. Russel fits the mold of a creative individual through his adept use of emotional materials mixed with relevant facts and a revolutionary use of multimedia to spread his message. While other people and groups have used wide spread media to inform the public, Russel's use is unique in that it does not address any specific demographic. His mode is also extraordinary in his desire to 'Make Kony Famous'. His goal to increase awareness attacks the problem merely by informing as many people as possible and using these large numbers to force international action.
As mentioned in class, many attributes that quantify mental illness are, in moderation, desirable characteristics. Strict attention to detail is a valuable quality, but an excess of that leads to an anxiety disorder. Confidence and charisma benefits those that possess it, but a lack of confidence can result in a recluse and an abundance creates a narcissist. It is highly ambitious to hope to change the world, as Jason Russel hoped to do. Some may even say this type of confidence is fool hardy and unrealistic, however it is these creative and dedicated individuals that have changed the world. The possession of specific traits that make some people great while destroying others begs the question of the long term benefit of these traits. For example, if Russel did not believe himself special enough to affect wide spread change, would he ever have made the video? Was it his extreme dedication that led to his success, and eventually his undoing? Overall, if outliers of particular behaviors have positive effects, can mental illness really change the world?