A number of exceptionally talented people in the arts get freighted with a kind of unwanted godhood of exaggerated expectations.
The photo is Darren Aronofsky directing Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman in “The Fountain” [which he also wrote].
In his article From Here to Eternity in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly [Nov 17], Daniel Fierman notes, “In 1998, no one in Hollywood knew how to spell Darren Aronofsky’s name.
“He hadn’t made a movie. He didn’t know a soul. He was just another hyper-smart Harvard grad who wanted to be in pictures.
“Then came Pi, his paranoia-soaked debut that won the Directing Award at Sundance. And Requiem for a Dream, which won a bevy of raves and an Oscar nod for Ellen Burstyn. The hyperbolic praise came in a torrent.
“He was a borderline genius. The new Kubrick. The new Scorsese… Everyone knew Requiem was important, and everyone wanted to be in the Darren Aronofsky business. He was one of the most in-demand young directors in Hollywood and developed a massive roster of potential projects.”
But a major film can involve many millions of dollars and hundreds if not thousands of jobs, often revolving around the ability of the director to deliver the goods. Not exactly the solitary artist in their garret.
Archetypes can be damaging
In her article Growing Up Gifted Is Not Easy, Elaine Aron writes about people being put into a role as a beyond-human exemplar, which can start in childhood or as a teen.
She writes, “There’s one thing about archetypes: No one can be identified with an archetype without being greatly damaged by it. It’s just too much.
“Women who identify with the Great Mother, or are identified by others with Aphrodite (e.g. Marilyn Monroe), for example, or men who identify with the Hero (JFK, Martin Luther King Jr.) will sooner or later try to do things or be expected to do things beyond human capabilities, or be scapegoated for failing, or martyred in some way.
Being gifted can be hard enough
“Keeping in mind the danger of burdening an ordinary, human child with an archetype, let’s talk about real children who happen to be gifted and what problems they face. It’s lonely, for one thing, since most children of their own age find them strange, and the gifted child find his or her peers boring.
“Plus it’s clear to these children that for most adults only one thing is interesting about them: Their gifts. That they have ordinary teen age interests, fears, romances, and what not is disappointing to these adults.
“It doesn’t fit with being a Divine Child. In fact, too often adults are shy around gifted children, not wanting to ask about these ‘ordinary’ areas of their life, or assume having a high I.Q. means they have these matters worked out brilliantly.”
Photo: Pallavi Mahidhara, 15, winner of a 2003 Davidson Fellowship for music performance.
Article: Growing Up Gifted Is Not Easy, by Elaine Aron, PhD
One of her books: The Highly Sensitive Person.