Have you ever heard of the crazymakers? Even if you have not, you undoubtedly have experienced them in your life.
The term “crazymaker” was coined by Julia Cameron in her book “The Artist’s Way”. Cameron’s initial usage of this phrase was applied to the creative process, but since the book’s 2002 publication, “crazymakers” has gained a wider relevancy to our lives in general. By first explaining the crazymaker on an individual basis, I hope to shed light on our “institutional” crazymakers. I am using the personal description of a crazymaker only as a means to illuminate our societal crazymakers.
A crazymaker is a person determined to create mayhem, havoc, negativism, rifts, constant drama and ongoing stress in everyone else’s life. Know that this bent originates within the crazymaker himself; it arises from a deficit within that person. Thus, their goal is to spread dissent, discord, blame and to fill an emptiness in his own universe.
The psychological term for a crazymaker is an inadequate personality. Here is one definition. Please note that this concept does not apply to institutional entities, but I include it to shed light on the basic personality of an individual crazymaker:
An individual showing no obvious mental or physical defect, but characterized by inappropriate or inadequate response to intellectual, emotional, and physical demand, and whose behavior pattern shows inadaptability, ineptitude, poor judgment, lack of stamina, and social incompatibility.
Even if good happens in such a person’s life, it is not significant, meaningful or appreciated unless something bad happens to someone else. There is a large degree of narcissism involved in being a crazymaker. If the offender cannot or will not create order, creativity or purpose in his own life, why not then just upset everyone else’s life? Chaos is the plan to fight off his own personal inertia and paralysis. The rule of the day is negativity and the name of the game is to create such havoc in the world at large so that the crazymaker does not feel so alone.
Crazymakers can be found all around us: co-workers, friends and families. The receiver of their punishment ultimately must remove himself from the fray. Detachment is vital, lest the crazymaker continue to suck the air out of the room. Yes, the tables will be turned and the recipient will be accused of not caring about the crazymaker’s situations, being selfish and even disloyal. Do not fall for that. The crazymaker will twist his actions by saying that the recipient has failed all the little and big “love and loyalty tests”. So be it. Consider yourself lucky to be off the hook. Do not engage, but detach. Your self-preservation is on the line. It is a choice: make the correct one.
This behavior is similar to the traders at the four largest investment banking houses, who this week all reported perfect quarters, i.e. they made profits on every single day of the quarter. They thrive on volatility, not any orderly or ethical business practices. Thus, they feed on dissent, exaggeration and drama to produce the wildly fluctuating markets that will financially reward them. Steadiness, keeping an even keel, is just not as rewarding as chaos.
Likewise in politics, journalists and pundits are paid to increase drama so as to increase readership. Remember: more readers translate into higher advertisement revenues. On a personal, non-professional political front, a crazymaker will find fault across the board, i.e. with the opposing party as well as their own. It is the only way to continue the dissent and drama. The chaos goes on and is an end unto itself, in order to fulfill the incessant need for the crazymaker to surround himself with dissonance, a reflection of the deficit and incompletion within his own life. Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh are classic examples of crazymakers, sewing discord to quell their own deficiencies, with blame enough for everyone else to cover their own shortcomings. It is so much easier to thrust the blame on others for the fault that really lies within oneself.
Political purism is wonderful in theory. What a great country this would be if our leaders always did the right thing, in unison, quickly and effectively. In the real world though, governing is a far cry from pure philosophy. President Obama has been criticized just as harshly by his own liberal partymates as he has by the GOP. Sorry, folks: this is not a fairy tale where good always and totally wins in the end. President Obama is a measured, careful man, and responds just as measured and carefully in his policy formations. Not good enough for the Lefties, and we certainly know nothing he does will be accepted positively by the Righties. Our President is juggling many diverse issues, such as health care, immigration, financial reform and environmental concerns. On top of all that, throw in the unexpected events, such as terrorism, oil spills and natural disasters. The crazymakers on both sides blame him for the misfortunes that befall us, for not being quick enough to institute change. If he does makes changes, he is then brought down by complaints that change was not really needed. This is a direct reflection of the chaos and disorder in the crazymakers’ lives, not in Obama’s.
Compromises must be made, consensus has to be achieved. The crazymakers condemn this process of bringing together instead of pulling apart as the culprit. Have they ever got that wrong. Here are some antidotes to interacting with a crazymaker, as delineated by Kate Loving Shenk (a writer, healer, musician and the creator of the e-book called “Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover Your Calling and Destiny.”). After you have read this, you will surely recognize exactly a crazymaker when you meet one.
I suppose an argument can be made that politics is an area of opposing opinions and thus, the across-the board dissenters are just flexing their Constitutional rights, rather than being crazymakers. There might be some validity in that. Perhaps my analogy of the personal crazymaker and the institutional one holds no water. However, what is more meaningful to me is that our leaders and elected officials act for the betterment of the people by using reason, compassion and an effort to close the ideological gaps to get the job done. I do not see that happening in either party. Therefore, I am inclined to call their selfish need to disrupt, blame and prevent progress the work of crazymakers.
Just as we should not tolerate personal crazymakers in our lives, so we should not accept institutional crazymakers in governing our country. Life is toxic enough. Why add to the dysfunction?