Lauren Bacall and her husband ‘Bogie’ often entertained their show-business friends at their home.
Bacall was voted “den mother” of what became known as the Holmby Hills Rat Pack. She wrote in her autobiography:
“In order to qualify, one had to be addicted to nonconformity, staying up late, drinking, laughing, and not caring what anyone thought or said about us.
“Spence [Spencer Tracy] was only an honorary rat, because he lived a secluded life, but his heart was in the right place.”
From By Myself and Then Some by Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)
Spencer Tracy was among many introverted actors and other artists – see article: Introverted, Shy or Highly Sensitive in the Arts.
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In his Wired magazine article The World Needs More Rebels Like Einstein, Walter Isaacson notes that Einstein’s concept that “time is relative depending on your state of motion” had been explored by other scientists, who “had come close to his insight, but they were too confined by the dogmas of the day.
“Einstein alone was impertinent enough to discard the notion of absolute time, one of the sacred tenets of classical physics since Newton.”
Isaacson wrote the biography Einstein: His Life and Universe
Photo: “I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein
From article: The Creativity Conference with David Burkus.
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Robert Ornstein, PhD, author of The Psychology of Consciousness commented, “If you spend too much time being like everybody else, you decrease your chances of coming up with something different.”
“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” Albert Einstein
That quote affirms one of the main values of non-conforming. It is in the book by Neuropsychologist David Weeks – Eccentrics: A Study of Sanity and Strangeness, and Weeks lists as other eccentrics William Blake, Alexander Graham Bell, Emily Dickinson, Charlie Chaplin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Howard Hughes.
One of Einstein’s characterstics, shared with many other eccentrics, was his “childlike propensity of the creative mind,” Weeks writes. Another example was artist William Blake, who was “often described by his contemporaries as being childlike.”
Weeks notes that a “good proportion of computer hackers are eccentric… Because of their innate ability to innovate and their penchant for the unorthodox, many young science jocks are are able to live a solitary, nocturnal life…”
Some of those aspects help support being creative, but can also fuel the ethical distortions and costly destructiveness perpetrated by some hackers.
Keeping an identity and staying comfortably eccentric as an adult can be a challenge, with so much social pressure to conform.
The book Gifted Grownups: the Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential quotes researcher J.M.Tolliver, who has studied gifted and creative people, about the danger of not allowing non-conformity:
“Of all the disservice we do our students, perhaps the most critical is demanding that they ‘fit’… we are intolerant of deviant discretions, expelling those who do not learn their (conformity) lessons well… A cynicism develops concerning the generation of ideas.”
Being childlike and eccentric can work very well as an artist and actor.
Rex Lee played agent assistant Lloyd on the HBO series “Entourage” – and says he has “always understood that I’m incredibly strange.
“And at some point in my life I decided that I really liked myself the way I was..”
[More on The Inner Actor]
“I think being different, being against the grain of society, is the greatest thing in the world.”
– Actor Elijah Wood
Quote also used in post: Exceptional and out of bounds – eccentrics and society.
[Photo from facebook.com/officialelijahwood.]
Cecil Beaton [1904-80; fashion and portrait photographer, and stage and costume designer] encouraged actively being non-comforming:
“Be daring, be different, be impractical; be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
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“I hope I’m becoming more eccentric. More room in the brain.”
– Musician Tom Waits
From article: Being Eccentric and Creative.
Related posts on Eccentricity / non-conformity.