Jean Milligan and the RSCDS

David Ll. Hills

Message 1152 · 2 Mar 1995 21:25:14 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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>
> About Jean Milligan, David Hills writes:
>
> > an authoritarian, controlling persona, and as such probably
[ ... ]
> > officious bureaucrats, art critics,
>
> But wouldn't it be fair to add people like Florence Nightingale, and
> Beethoven, to this list?
>

Greetings
Not only fair but entirely appropriate, and Mozart, Berlioz, Mahler, most
of the great orchestral conductors, and shakers, rattlers and movers of
past and present, Newt Gingrich Rush Limbaugh to name but one [ :-) ]

But quite often/usually/almost always such achievers are also controllers,
the force which drives them to their, for want of a better term,
"successes" is one aspect of a character which is quite possible seriously
flawed, making them "difficult to live with". [In artists this is called
euphemistically "Artistic Temperament"]. In modern parlance, they are
to a greater or lesser degree dysfunctional - they behave in an unhealthy
way abusing others as they perhaps were abused.

While we can admire in some terms their achievements, this is I suggest no
reason to ignore, overlook, or be blind to the fact that they are
unpleasant some or all of the time. This is the stuff of countless novels,
plays, music, and visual arts throughout the ages. We think we understand
better the reasons today and can be more aware of both the good and the
bad in people's lives. To concentrate only on the one or the other is
simply deluding.

I read that Beethoven left a lot to be desired as a companion and social
human being. The author of the 9th symphony or the late quartets was in a
much cerebral pain. I suspect that Florence Nightingale was full of
compassion for the wounded and dying men at the same time as she
terrorised her nurses, revolutionising nursing as she did so.

You can be demanding and creative without being dysfunctional - but it is
admittedly a neat trick and one that is all too rarely performed. And it
speaks volumes that most of the time we let ourselves be ridden rough or
smooth shod over as these people crunch their way through life and
possibly into the history books.

Perhaps removing the Emperor's Clothes from our icons is like removing the
obscuring grime from old paintings. You do it carefully,
non-destructively, but you do it. Then you get to see them in a much
better light, although, of course, it is not the light which changes

All best

*D

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