Transcript: Kay Redfield Jamison on Exuberance: The Passion for Life | Dec 11, 2004

Kay stands behind a podium and reads from her notes. She's in her fifties with short blonde hair and bangs. She's wearing a gray sweater with a black shawl and a pearl necklace.
A picture of a book entitled “Exuberance” appears to the left of Kay. Below it, a black box has a white text that reads “U of T Book Store.”

She says THIS
EVENING, I AM GOING TO BE
TALKING ABOUT “EXUBERANCE,” AND
IT IS A BOOK THAT I WANTED TO
WRITE FOR A LONG TIME, AND I
LOVED WRITING, BECAUSE IT'S A...
REALLY AT THE END OF THE DAY,
IT'S A LOVE SONG TO LIFE, AND
IT'S A LOVE SONG TO A LOT OF
THINGS THAT I THINK MAKE LIFE A
LOT MORE FUN, AND INTERESTING,
AND ULTIMATELY MORE VITAL.
MANY YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS AN
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT UCLA IN
THE PSYCHIATRY DEPARTMENT,
SEVERAL OF MY COLLEAGUES AND I
WROTE A PAPER ABOUT PATIENTS
THAT WE HAD ASKED ABOUT SOME OF
THE POSITIVE EXPERIENCES THAT
THEY HAD HAD, RELATED TO MANIA
AND RELATED TO DEPRESSION, AND
IT SEEMED, AT THAT TIME, A VERY
COUNTERINTUITIVE THING TO WRITE
ABOUT.
IT WAS A PAPER CALLED, “CLOUDS
WITH SILVER LININGS” THAT WAS
PUBLISHED IN THE AMERICAN
JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY.
AND IT WAS CALLED, POSITIVE
ASPECTS OF THE PRIMARY AFFECTIVE
DISORDERS.
BUT I WAS CONVINCED THERE WERE
POSITIVE ASPECTS TO HAVING VERY
BAD DISEASES, AND MY COLLEAGUES
AND I WERE CONVINCED THAT,
DESPITE THE FACT THAT MANIA IS A
PARTICULARLY DEVASTATING AND
DESTRUCTIVE STATE -- IT'S A
POTENTIALLY VIOLENT STATE, IT
CAUSES PEOPLE TO DO TERRIBLE
THINGS.

A yellow text box appears at the bottom of the screen. Next to a lightbulb, a caption reads “Kay Redfield Jamison. John Hopkins School of Medicine. Author, 'Exuberance: The Passion for Life.'.”

She continues VERY
OFTEN, AND MORE OFTEN THAN NOT,
PEOPLE BECOME PSYCHOTIC.
THERE'S VERY LITTLE GOOD TO BE
SAID ABOUT MANIA, AND EVEN LESS
ABOUT DEPRESSION.
WE WERE ALL STRUCK BY THE FACT
THAT IN THE VERY EARLY PHASES OF
MANIA, THERE IS A HIGHLY
CONTAGIOUS, HIGHLY INFECTIOUS
MOOD THAT IS VERY EXUBERANT IN
NATURE, AND IT IS OFTEN A VERY
PRODUCTIVE TIME.

The caption changes to “U of T Bookstore Reading Series. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. October 4, 2004.”

She continues AND
THEN IT TENDS TO FRAGMENT AND
GET COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL.
BUT THERE IS THAT EARLY PHASE,
AND PEOPLE BECOME, WHO HAVE
BIPOLAROLIS, BECOME QUITE
ADDICTED, QUITE LITERALLY, TO
THAT PHASE.
WE WERE STRUCK AT THE TIME WHEN
WE WERE REVIEWING THE
PSYCHIATRIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL
LITERATURE, HOW LITTLE THERE WAS
WRITTEN ABOUT POSITIVE ASPECTS
OF MOODS, THAT MOST OF WHAT WAS
WRITTEN, FOR MANY UNDERSTANDABLE
CLINICAL REASONS, WAS WRITTEN
ABOUT ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.
VERY LITTLE ABOUT WHAT DAVID
HUME, AND ARISTOTLE AND MANY OF
OUR INTELLECTUAL ANCESTORS HAVE
SPOKEN ABOUT ELOQUENTLY IN TERMS
OF PSYCHOLOGY, THOSE THINGS THAT
MAKE PEOPLE GREAT, THOSE THINGS
THAT INSPIRE GREATNESS.
SO WHAT I'D LIKE TO DO, IS HAVE
TWO READINGS, ONE, A SOMEWHAT
LONG ONE AT THE BEGINNING, TO
KIND OF EXPLAIN WHY I DID WHAT I
DID, AND THEN TALK ABOUT, AFTER
I READ THE INTRODUCTION, TALK
ABOUT WHAT'S IN THE BOOK AND
WHY, WHAT'S IN THE BOOK AND
WHO'S IN THE BOOK, WHO THE
PEOPLE ARE, AND THEN JUST END ON
A BRIEF SEGMENT ABOUT
RESILIENCE, BECAUSE EXUBERANCE
IS, AT THE END OF THE DAY, NOT
ONLY A MOBILISING STATE, BUT IT
IS A REGENERATIVE STATE.

She puts on some square glasses and reads “IT IS A CURIOUS REQUEST TO MAKE
OF GOD, SHIELD YOUR JOYOUS ONES,
ASKS THE ANGLICAN PRAYER, SHIELD
YOUR JOYOUS ONES.
GOD, MORE USUALLY IS ASKED TO
WATCH OVER THOSE WHO ARE ILL OR
IN DESPAIR, AS INDEED THE REST
OF THE PRAYER MAKES CLEAR.
WATCH NOW THOSE WHO WEEP THIS
DAY, IT GOES, REST YOUR WEARY
ONES, SOOTH YOUR SUFFERING ONES.
THE JOYOUS TEND TO BE LEFT TO
THEIR OWN DEVICES, THE EXUBERANT
EVEN MORE SO.
PERHAPS THIS IS JUST AS WELL.
THOSE INCLINED TOWARD EXUBERANCE
HAVE ENJOYED THE BENIGN NEGLECT
OF MY FIELD.
PSYCHOLOGISTS, FOR REASONS OF
CLINICAL NECESSITY OR VAGARIES
OF TEMPERAMENT, HAVE CHOSEN TO
DISSECT AND CATALOGUE THE MORBID
EMOTIONS, DEPRESSION, ANGER,
ANXIETY, AND TO LEAVE LARGELY
UNEXAMINED THE MORE VITAL,
POSITIVE ONES.
NOT UNLIKE GOD, IF ONLY IN THIS
ONE RESPECT, MY COLLEAGUES AND I
HAVE TENDED MORE TO THOSE IN THE
DARKNESS THAN TO THOSE IN THE
LIGHT.
WE HAVE GIVEN SORROW MANY WORDS,
BUT A PASSION FOR LIFE FEW.
YET IT IS THE INFECTIOUS
ENERGIES OF EXUBERANCE THAT
PROCLAIM AND DISPERSE MUCH OF
WHAT IS MARVELLOUS IN LIFE.
EXUBERANCE CARRIES US PLACES WE
WOULD NOT OTHERWISE GO, ACROSS
THE SAVANNAH, TO THE MOON, INTO
THE IMAGINATION, AND IF WE
OURSELVES ARE NOT SO EXUBERANT
WE WILL, CAUGHT UP IN THE
CONTAGIOUS JOY OF THOSE WHO ARE,
BE INCLINED COLLECTIVELY TO GO
YONDER.
BY ITS PLEASURES, EXUBERANCE
LURES US FROM OUR COMMON PLACES
AND QUIETER MOODS, AND, AFTER
THE VICTORY, THE HARVEST, THE
DISCOVERY OF A NEW IDEA OR AN
UNFAMILIAR PLACE, IT GIVES
ASCENDANT REASON TO VENTURE
FORTH ALL OVER AGAIN.
DELIGHT IS ITS OWN REWARD,
ADVENTURE ITS OWN PLEASURE.
EXUBERANCE IS AN ABOUNDING,
EBULLIENT, EFFERVESCENT EMOTION.
IT IS KINETIC AND UNRESTRAINED,
JOYFUL, IRREPRESSIBLE.
IT IS NOT HAPPINESS, ALTHOUGH
THEY SHARE A BORDER.
IT IS INSTEAD, AT ITS CORE, A
MORE RESTLESS AND BILLOWING
STATE.
EXUBERANCE KEEPS OCCASIONAL
COMPANY WITH GRIEF, THOUGH GRIEF
MAY COMMAND THE GREATER MENTION.
BLAKE'S BELIEF THAT 'UNDER EVERY
GRIEF and PINE, RUNS A JOY WITH
SILKEN TWINE' IS A RECEIVED
THEME IN FOLKLORE.
OUR GREATEST JOYS AND SORROWS
RIPEN ON THE SAME VINE, SAYS THE
AMERICAN PROVERB.
DANGER AND DELIGHT GROW ON ONE
STALK, MAINTAINS THE ENGLISH
ONE.
INTENSE EMOTIONS INHABIT A
CORRESPONDENT TERRITORY.
JOY MAY BE OUR WINGS AND SORROW
OUR SPURS, BUT THE BOUNDARIES
BETWEEN THE MOODS ARE OPEN.
WINGS AND HIGH MOODS ARE SHIVERY
THINGS, THE JOYOUS DO INDEED
NEED SHIELDING.
EXUBERANCE IS A VITAL EMOTION.
IT DEMANDS NOT ONLY DEFENSE BUT
EXPOSURE, FOR DESPAIR FAR MORE
THAN JOY HAS FOUND SYMPATHY WITH
POETS AND SCHOLARS.
JOY LACKS THE GRAVITAS THAT
SUFFERING SO EFFORTLESSLY
COMMANDS.
JOY WITHOUT REFLECTION IS
EVANESCENT -- WITHOUT
COUNTERWEIGHT, IT HAS NO WEIGHT
AT ALL, OR SO ONE WOULD THINK.
YET JOY IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR
EXISTENCE.
EXUBERANCE, JOY'S MORE ENERGETIC
RELATION, OCCUPIES AN ANCIENT
REGION OF OUR MAMMALIAN SELVES,
AND ONE TO WHICH WE OWE IN NO
SMALL MEASURE OUR SURVIVAL AND
OUR TRIUMPHS.
IT IS A MATERIAL PART OF OUR
PURSUITS, LOVE, GAMES, HUNTING
AND WAR, EXPLORATION, AND IT IS
A VIBRANT FORCE TO SIGNAL
VICTORY, PROCLAIM A TIME TO
QUICKEN, TO DRAW TOGETHER, TO
EXULT, TO CELEBRATE.
EXUBERANCE IS ANCIENT, MATERIAL,
AND PROFOUND.
LIKE MANY ESSENTIAL HUMAN
TRAITS, EXUBERANCE IS TEEMING IN
SOME AND NOT TO BE CAUGHT SIGHT
OF IN OTHERS.
FOR A FEW, EXUBERANCE IS IN THE
BLOOD, AN IRREPRESSIBLE LIFE
FORCE.
IT MAY EBB AND FLOW, BUT THE
UNDERLYING CAPACITY FOR JOY IS
AS MUCH A PART OF THE PERSON AS
HAVING GREEN EYES OR A LONG
WAIST.
FOR THEM, AS THE PSALM PROMISES,
A FULL A JOY COMETH IN THE
MORNING.
NOT SO FOR MOST OTHERS.
EXUBERANCE IS A MORE OCCASIONAL
THING, SOMETHING TO BE
EXPERIENCED ONLY AT SPLENDID
MOMENTS OF LOVE OR ATTAINMENT,
OR KNOWN IN YOUTH BUT LOST WITH
TIME.
THE NONEXUBERANT LACK FIZZ AND
RISIBILITY.
THEY NEED TO BE LIFTED UP ON THE
ENTHUSIASM OF OTHERS, ROUSED BY
DANCE OR DRUGS, IMPELLED BY
MUSIC.
THEY DO NOT KINDLE OF THEIR OWN
ACCORD.
I BELIEVE THAT EXUBERANCE IS
INCOMPARABLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN
WE ACKNOWLEDGE.
IF, AS IT HAS BEEN CLAIMED,
ENTHUSIASM FINDS THE
OPPORTUNITIES AND ENERGY MAKES
THE MOST OF THEM, A MOOD OF MIND
THAT YOKES THE TWO IS FORMIDABLE
INDEED.
EXUBERANT PEOPLE TAKE IN THE
WORLD AND ACT UPON IT
DIFFERENTLY THAN THOSE WHO ARE
LESS LIVELY AND LESS
ENERGETICALLY ENGAGED.
THEY HOLD THEIR IDEAS WITH
PASSION AND DELIGHT, AND THEY
ACT UPON THEM WITH DISPATCH.
THEIR LOVE OF LIFE AND OF
ADVENTURE IS PALPABLE.
EXUBERANCE IS A PECULIARLY
PLEASURABLE STATE, AND IN THAT
PLEASURE IS POWER.
PSYCHOLOGISTS, WHO IN RECENT
YEARS HAVE TAKEN UP THE STUDY OF
POSITIVE EMOTIONS, FIND THAT JOY
WIDENS ONE'S VIEW OF THE WORLD
AND EXPANDS IMAGINATIVE THOUGHT.
IT ACTIVATES, IT MAKES BOTH
PHYSICAL AND INTELLECTUAL
EXPLORATION MORE LIKELY, AND IT
PROVIDES REWARD FOR PROBLEMS
SOLVED OR RISKS TAKEN.
THROUGH ITS POSITIVE ENERGIES,
IT HEALS AS WELL.
ONE
JOY, THE CHINESE BELIEVE,
SCATTERS A HUNDRED GRIEFS, AND
CERTAINLY IT CAN BE AN ANTIDOTE
TO FATIGUE AND DISCOURAGEMENT.
INTO THOSE SET BACK BY FAILURE,
JOY TRANSFUSES HOPE.
EXUBERANCE IS ALSO, AT ITS
QUICK, CONTAGIOUS.
AS IT SPREADS PELL-MELL
THROUGHOUT A GROUP, EXUBERANCE
EXCITES, IT DELIGHTS, AND IT
DISPELS TENSION.
IT ALERTS THE GROUP TO CHANGE
AND POSSIBILITY.
TED TURNER, WHO WOULD KNOW,
BELIEVES A LEADER IS SOMEONE
WITH THE ABILITY TO 'CREATE
INFECTIOUS ENTHUSIASM.'
THIS IS A DEFINING QUALITY OF
MANY GREAT TEACHERS, STATESMEN,
AND ADVENTURERS.
PUT TO GOOD USE, INFECTIOUS
ENTHUSIASM IS A WONDERFUL THING.
USED BADLY, IT IS CALAMITOUS.”

She addresses the audience and says I STARTED MY BOOK WITH TWO MEN
WHO WERE BY ANYBODY'S STANDARDS,
HUGELY EXUBERANT PEOPLE,
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, AND JOHN
MUIR, MEN WHO WERE TOTALLY
DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, OF COURSE,
FROM A VERY PRIVILEGED
BACKGROUND AND A VERY LOVING
FAMILY, EXTREMELY LOVING FATHER
TO WHOM HE FELT HE OWED ALMOST
EVERYTHING THAT WAS WONDERFUL IN
LIFE, AND THE SCOTTISH IMMIGRANT
JOHN MUIR, WHO CAME FROM A
FAMILY OF VIOLENCE, AND A FATHER
WHO WAS PRETTY AWFUL IN MANY
RESPECTS.
BUT THEY BOTH LOVED THE LAND,
FOR DIFFERENT AND SIMILAR
REASONS.
AND I USE THEM TO START THE
BOOK, BECAUSE THEY SPENT THREE
OR FOUR DAYS TOGETHER IN THE
YOSEMITE, IN THE SIERRA NEVADAS,
AND THEIR PASSION FOR THE LAND--
THEODORE ROOSEVELT ACTUALLY
WROTE TO JOHN MUIR AND SAID, “I
WANT YOU TO TAKE ME TO THE
YOSEMITE, I DON'T WANT TO GO
WITH ANYONE ELSE.”
AND THERE WAS THIS INCREDIBLE
REBOUNDING EFFECT OF THESE TWO
MEN WHO WERE SIMPLY INCAPABLE OF
NOT ACTING, ONCE THEIR PASSIONS
WERE AROUSED, AND THEY WERE
SIMPLY INCAPABLE OF ALLOWING THE
AMERICAN WILDNESS AND WILDERNESS
TO CONTINUE TO BE RAVAGED BY ALL
THE FORCES THAT WERE RAVAGING
IT.
AND AFTER THEY SPENT THEIR TIME
TOGETHER IN THE YOSEMITE, MUCH
OF THE SIERRA WAS SAVED, AND
RESCUED, BUT IT WAS AN EXAMPLE
OF TWO PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR
TEMPERAMENTS, WHO--
WHO VAULTED THEIR PASSION INTO
ACTION.
AND ONE OF THE OUTSTANDING
THINGS ABOUT EXUBERANCE, WHEN IT
WORKS WELL, IS THAT IT DOES TEND
TO TAKE IDEAS AND PASSION INTO
ACTION.
IT DOESN'T JUST LEAVE THINGS,
PEOPLE ACT ON THAT.
OTHER SUBJECTS IN MY BOOKS
INCLUDE, THE FIRST PERSON WHO
PHOTOGRAPHS SNOWFLAKES, SNOW
CRYSTALS, A MAN NAMED SNOWFLAKE
BENTLEY FROM VERMONT, WHO WAS...
YOU HAVE TO READ HIS SCIENTIFIC
ARTICLES TO BELIEVE IT, AND
PARTICULARLY THOSE OF YOU WHO
READ SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES FOR A
LIVING, WILL APPRECIATE HOW
BORING AND DREDGED OF LANGUAGE,
ANY FEELING WHATSOEVER, MOST
ARTICLES HAVE.
HIS DESCRIPTION OF SNOWFLAKES,
HE WAS JUST IN LOVE WITH
SNOWFLAKES FROM THE TIME HE WAS
BORN.
IN AN AREA, AS HE PUT IT,
FARMERS IN VERMONT DIDN'T PUT
THAT MUCH OF A PREMIUM ON SNOW.
FIRST OF ALL, THERE WAS A LOT OF
IT...

She laughs and continues AND SECONDLY, AS HE SAID, YOU
COULDN'T SELL IT AND YOU
COULDN'T EAT IT.
BUT HIS LIFE, HE HAD THIS
PASSION, THIS QUEST FOR THE KIND
OF HOLY GRAIL OF SNOWFLAKES, AND
HIS WRITING ABOUT THEM IS HIGHLY
EXUBERANT, BUT HIS EXUBERANCE
WAS AN EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING MANY
EXPLORERS AND DISCOVERERS AND
SCIENTISTS DESCRIBE, WHICH IS
OVERCOMING PHYSICAL HANDICAPS OF
COLD, IN HIS CASE, FREEZING
COLD, THE SKEPTICISM OF
NEIGHBOURS AND SO FORTH, BY HIS
OWN INTERNAL ENTHUSIASM ALLOWING
HIM TO PURSUE THESE THINGS.
I TALK ABOUT CHURCHILL AND FDR,
TIGGER AND TOAD, SNOOPY, AND AS
A MATTER OF FACT, ONE OF THE
PEOPLE THAT I INTERVIEWED FOR MY
BOOK, I INTERVIEWED A LOT OF
PEOPLE -- I INTERVIEWED CHARLES
SCHULTZ'S WIDOW, BUT I ALSO
INTERVIEWED THE PERSON WHO
CHARLES SCHULTZ HAD SELECTED TO
PLAY SNOOPY ON ICE, WHO WAS A
FIVE TIME AMERICAN FIGURE
SKATING CHAMPION.
AND SHE DESCRIBES HOW -- AS YOU
KNOW, FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONS
ARE PRETTY SMALL, AND CLOSE TO
THE GROUND.
AND SHE SAID SHE WOULD PUT ON
THIS 40 POUND SNOOPY OUTFIT, AND
BE ABLE TO DO THINGS IN THE
SNOOPY OUTFIT, THAT SHE COULDN'T
DO WITHOUT THIS 40 POUNDS ON,
BECAUSE SHE WOULD GET INTO THIS
EBULLIENT MOOD, AND FEEL THAT
NOTHING WAS IMPOSSIBLE.
SHE WOULD DO THESE BACK FLIPS,
AND EVERYTHING, AND SHE
DESCRIBED HOW IT WAS CONTAGIOUS,
EVEN THOUGH THIS WAS AN ANIMAL
THAT, YOU KNOW, WASN'T REALLY
REAL.
SHE ALSO TALKED IN A VERY
AMUSING WAY, ABOUT, SHE WOULD GO
AS SNOOPY, DRESSED UP AS SNOOPY,
TO THE WHITE HOUSE, AND THE
VARIOUS RESPONSES OF THE
PRESIDENTS TO HER PRESENCE.
AND SHE DESCRIBES BILL CLINTON
AND HILLARY CLINTON AS JUST SORT
OF ACCEPTING HER AS SNOOPY.
YOU KNOW, THAT WAS JUST SORT OF
LIKE PUTTING THEIR ARMS AROUND
HER, AND IT WAS JUST TOTALLY
COMFORTABLE, AND SORT OF ALMOST
DIDN'T THINK TWICE ABOUT IT, AND
THE SENIOR GEORGE BUSH BEING
KIND OF LIKE YOU KNOW, LIKE
THIS.
[Audience laughter]
ANYWAY, BUT ONE OF THE REASONS I
CHOSE TO FOCUS EARLY ON IN THE
BOOK, FOR A BIT ANYWAY, ON
CHILDREN'S CHARACTERS, IS
BECAUSE SOME OF THE GREAT
WRITING, OF COURSE, IS DONE FOR
CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, AND MANY
OF THE GREAT CHILDREN'S WRITERS
APPRECIATED THE ROLE OF
DIFFERENCES IN TEMPERAMENT, THAT
ONE OF THEIR ROLES AS VIRGIL OR
MERLIN, OR WHATEVER YOU ARE WHEN
YOU'RE INTRODUCING CHILDREN TO
IMAGINATIVE LANDS, IS TO
INTRODUCE THEM TO DIFFERENT
KINDS OF TEMPERAMENTS AND
PERSONALITIES, AND HOW DO OTHER
KIDS RELATE TO SOMEBODY WHO'S
EXUBERANT, TO SOMEBODY WHO'S
DYSPEPTIC LIKE EYORE, YOU KNOW,
WHAT ARE THE REACTION OF THE
OTHER ANIMALS TO HIM, WHAT ARE
THE REACTION OF THE OTHER
ANIMALS TO TIGER.
AND
WHAT YOU FIND, OF COURSE WITH
THESE ANIMALS, IS THAT IN FACT,
EXUBERANT ANIMALS ARE PORTRAYED
MUCH AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT,
THEY'RE BUBBLING, THEY'RE
EXHAUSTING, EXASPERATING,
IRREPRESSIBLE, AND UNAVOIDABLE.
YOU
KNOW, THEY REALLY JUST GET IN
THE SPACE OF OTHER ANIMALS.
AND THIS IS, ON THE ONE HAND,
SEEN AS HIGHLY CHARMING AND
ENGAGING AND VERY POSITIVE -- ON
THE OTHER HAND, EXTREMELY
ANNOYING.
AND IT'S A WONDERFUL CAPACITY OF
CHILDREN'S WRITERS TO JUST STAND
BACK AND OBSERVE THAT, AND WATCH
THAT.
BUT WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT
CHILDHOOD, IS THAT IN FACT THERE
IS THIS PERIOD OF TIME, AND NOT
JUST IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, BUT
IN OUR MAMMALIAN RELATIVES,
WHERE WE'RE GIVING THIS TIME OF
HIGH EXUBERANCE, OF PLAY.
AND PLAY IS ESSENTIAL TO THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRAIN, IT'S
ESSENTIAL TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF
THE REST OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM,
IT'S ESSENTIAL TO THE
DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL SKILLS, OF
MOTOR REFLEXES AND SO FORTH.
BUT IT IS A TIME THAT IS OF--
AS LEWIS CARROLL SAID, IT IS A
TIME FOR GALUMPHING,
EXPERIMENTING, TAKING RISKS,
RUNNING AROUND, AND IT IS A TIME
WHEN THE ANIMAL IS PROTECTED,
THE ANIMAL HAS PARENTS WHO
PROVIDE THE FOOD, PROVIDE THE
SHELTER, PROVIDE THE PROTECTION,
AND IT'S A RELATIVELY SHORT
PERIOD OF TIME, BUT IT'S
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, AND WE KNOW
THAT FROM THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF
ALL SORTS OF ANIMALS, LIKE RAT
PUPS AND SO FORTH, THAT IF YOU
DEPRIVE AN ANIMAL OF PLAY,
PRIMATES, ANY YOUNG ANIMAL--
YOUNG MAMMAL, IT HAS DEVASTATING
EFFECTS ON BOTH SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
AND ON COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING.
AND ONE OF THE QUESTIONS IS,
WHAT ARE WE DOING NOW, IN THIS
DAY AND AGE, WHEN WE DON'T HAVE
AS MUCH PLAY, WHEN THINGS ARE SO
STRUCTURED.
YOU KNOW, YOU GO FROM-- AND I
LIVE IN THE CITY OF WASHINGTON,
AND IT'S A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE
ENVIRONMENT, AS ARE MOST
METROPOLITAN AREAS, AND YOU
KNOW, KIDS, FROM THE TIME, 6 OR
7 IN THE MORNING, ARE GOING FROM
ONE STRUCTURED LESSON TO
ANOTHER, TO VERY STRUCTURED
SOCCER PRACTISE AT THE END,
VIOLIN LESSONS, ALL VERY
STRUCTURED.
EVEN THE PLAY IS VERY
STRUCTURED.
A LOT OF SCHOOLS HAVE ELIMINATED
RECESS ALTOGETHER, AND THIS IS A
VERY--
HAS, I THINK, A VERY PROFOUND
EFFECT ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF
CHILDREN.
AND CHILDHOOD PLAY IS NOT A
LUXURY, IT IS A NECESSITY, AND
THAT PERIOD OF EXUBERANCE IS A
NECESSITY.
BUT THEN, IN A SENSE, THE ANIMAL
HAS TO MOVE ON, GROW, AND TAKE
ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES THAT ITS
PARENTS HAD.
SO THAT PERIOD OF EXUBERANCE, IF
IT DOESN'T COME TO AN END,
CERTAINLY TAPERS OFF
SIGNIFICANTLY.
BUT MARGARET MEADE ASKS THE
QUESTION, WHICH IS A FASCINATING
QUESTION, IS, WHY IS IT THAT
SOME PEOPLE HOLD ON TO THAT
CHILDLIKE EXUBERANCE, TO THE END
OF THEIR DAYS?
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, IT WAS SAID,
HAD A CHILD IN HIS HEART, UNTIL
THE DAY HE DIED.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, THE BRITISH
AMBASSADOR SAID ABOUT HIM, “YOU
MUST REMEMBER THAT THE PRESIDENT
IS SIX YEARS OLD.”
[Audience laughter]
HE WAS JUST A WILDLY EXUBERANT
MAN, AND ONE OF THE NEW YORK
TIMES REPORTERS WHO HAD BEEN
FOLLOWING ROOSEVELT AROUND IN
HIS PRESIDENCY, SAID, YOU KNOW,
“YOU GO HOME AND YOU WRING HIS
PERSONALITY OUT OF YOUR
CLOTHES.”
THIS INCREDIBLY CONTAGIOUS HIGH
ENERGY SORT OF STATE.
BUT JOHN MUIR AS WELL, IN A VERY
DIFFERENT SORT OF WAY, HELD ONTO
THAT ENTHUSIASM FOR LIFE,
LIKEWISE SAID, HAD A CHILDLIKE
HEART TILL THE END OF HIS DAYS.
UM, I WROTE A LOT, OBVIOUSLY
ABOUT THE PSYCHOLOGY AND BIOLOGY
OF EXUBERANCE, WHAT WE KNOW
ABOUT THE BRAIN, WHAT WE KNOW
ABOUT GENETICS, YOU KNOW,
TEMPERAMENT, YOU KNOW OF COURSE,
HAS A VERY LARGE GENETIC
COMPONENT TO IT, AND
PARTICULARLY EXTROVERSION DOES,
AND PARTICULARLY WITHIN
EXTROVERSION, THERE IS A VERY
ENERGETIC AND JOYOUS VERSION OF
EXTROVERSION, AND THAT, OF ALL
THE TEMPERAMENTS IS THE MOST
HERITABLE.
JERRY KAGAN AT HARVARD,
PROFESSOR KAGAN, HAS DONE
STUDIES OF TEMPERAMENT IN
YOUNG-- IN INFANTS, AND HAS
SHOWN THAT THE TEMPERAMENT--
THAT INFANTS SORT OUT IN--
YOU KNOW, YOU CAN TAKE THE
EXTREMES AT EITHER SIDE, AND ONE
SIDE IS A VERY SHY, WITHDRAWN,
RISK AVERSE INFANT, AND THEN
CHILD, AND IF YOU PUT THAT
PERSON IN A ROOM WITH STRANGERS,
WITH A STRANGER OR IF YOU PUT
NEW TOYS OUT TO PLAY WITH,
THEY'RE VERY FEARFUL, VERY
CAUTIOUS.
IT TAKES THEM A VERY LONG TIME
TO APPROACH GETTING INTO THAT
KIND OF NEW EXPERIENCE.
WHEREAS THERE'S ANOTHER KIND OF
CHILD, THE VERY BOLD, SORT OF
EXTROVERTED SORT OF CHILD, WHO
IS MUCH MORE EXPLORATORY.
HE CALLS THEM THE ETHEL MERMAN
TYPES, WHO LAUGH A LOT, WHO ARE
VERY, 'HAIL FELLOW, WELL MET',
NEVER MET A STRANGER LIKE
STRANGERS.
THEY DON'T CLING TO THEIR
MOTHERS' HANDS.
IF YOU PUT THESE KIDS, WHEN
THEY'RE 5 OR 6, ON A BASKETBALL
COURT, THE KIDS THAT STARTED OFF
AS INFANTS, HAVING THE SORT OF
SHY, INHIBITED TEMPERAMENT, WILL
STAND UNDER THE BASKETBALL HOOP,
AND KEEP PLAYING AND THROWING
THE BALL IN THE HOOP, TIME AFTER
TIME AFTER TIME, TO GET IT
PERFECT, WHEREAS THE EXUBERANT
KIDS WILL START OFF, MAYBE DOING
THAT A COUPLE OF TIMES, GET
BORED, GET RESTLESS, AND START
GOING DOWN THE COURT, AND THEY
DON'T REALLY CARE SO MUCH THAT
THEY MAKE IT, AS THAT THEY HAVE
FUN.
AND THEY'RE RUNNING AND THROWING
IT FROM WAY DOWN THE COURT, AND
SO FORTH.
THIS TURNS OUT TO BE TRUE ACROSS
SPECIES.
IN PROBABLY 25 SPECIES, AT
LEAST, HAVE BEEN EXAMINED, AND
YOU FIND THE SAME, IF YOU'RE
LOOKING AT OCTOPUSES, THERE ARE
SOME OCTOPI-- PUSES--
[Audience laughter]
WHATEVER, THAT ARE VERY BOLD,
ACTIVE, TAKE CHANCES, TAKE
RISKS, GO OUT INTO TERRITORIES
FAR BEYOND WHERE THEY ORDINARILY
SHOULD BE, AND THERE ARE OTHER
OCTOPUSES THAT ARE VERY
CAUTIOUS.
AND IT
MAKES SENSE, BECAUSE WE ALL
SURVIVE, HUMANS ARE PARTICULARLY
GOOD AT THIS, BY HAVING A WIDE
DIVERSITY OF TEMPERAMENTS.
WE NEED ALL THESE DIFFERENT
KINDS OF TEMPERAMENTS.
WE CERTAINLY DON'T WANT A WORLD
OF EXUBERANCE, BECAUSE IT WOULD
BE TOTAL CHAOS.
UM, AND
WE DON'T NEED A WORLD OF TOTALLY
CAUTIOUS PEOPLE, WE NEED PEOPLE
WHO ARE IN BETWEEN, FOR THE MOST
PART, AND WE NEED SOME AT BOTH
ENDS OF THE CONTINUUM.
I MEAN, NATURE IS VERY SMART IN
HAVING PROVIDED SUCH SORT OF
PLASTICITY OF TEMPERAMENT.
I WRITE ALSO ABOUT THE
PSYCHOLOGY, I MEAN, THE KIND OF,
THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF WHAT WE KNOW
ABOUT DOPAMINE, AND CHANGES IN
THE BRAIN, WHICH IS NOT A WHOLE
LOT, BUT WE CERTAINLY KNOW A LOT
ABOUT--
A CERTAIN AMOUNT ABOUT THE
REWARD SYSTEMS IN THE BRAIN THAT
MAKE PLEASURE WHETHER YOU'RE
TAKING A LINE OF COCAINE, OR
GAMBLING, OR LISTENING TO MUSIC,
OR WHATEVER, THAT GO INTO
CREATING A JOYOUS AND EXUBERANT
STATE.
I WROTE A FAIR AMOUNT ABOUT
MANIA, BECAUSE MANIA IS PROBABLY
THE CLOSEST ANALOGUE --
PATHOLOGICAL ANALOGUE OF
EXUBERANCE.
IT'S EXUBERANCE RUN AMOK.
AND WHILE MOST PEOPLE WHO HAVE
EXUBERANT TEMPERAMENTS, OF
COURSE DON'T--
I MEAN IT'S NOT A PATHOLOGICAL
STATE, FAR FROM IT, IT'S A
HIGHLY ADAPTIVE STATE.
THERE ARE SOME PLACES WHERE THAT
OVERLAP EXISTS, IN THE MILD
FORMS OF MANIA.
AND SOME OF THE SAME PEOPLE WHO
HAVE A TENDENCY TOWARD VERY
STRONG EXUBERANCE, ALSO HAVE A
TENDENCY TOWARD VERY SEVERE
DEPRESSIONS.
AND IT IS THAT INTENSITY FACTOR
THAT SEEMS TO BE WIRED INTO SORT
OF A SUBSET OF PEOPLE WHO ARE
EXUBERANT.
IT'S A VERY IMPORTANT
THEORETICAL OVERLAP, AS WELL AS
PRACTICAL AND CLINICAL OVERLAP.
EXUBERANCE, LIKE MOODS IN
GENERAL, HAS A HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS
QUALITY TO IT, AND ONE OF THE
THINGS THAT WE KNOW, I MEAN IF
YOU'RE A CLINICAL TEACHER AND
YOU TEACH ABOUT MOOD DISORDERS
TO YOUNG DOCTORS, OR GRADUATE
STUDENTS OR MEDICAL STUDENTS,
ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU
TEACH IS, MOODS ARE CONTAGIOUS.
AND IF YOU'RE IN THE ROOM WITH A
PATIENT WHO'S DEPRESSED, THE
ODDS ARE, YOU'RE GOING TO PICK
UP ON THAT DEPRESSION.
THE HEAD IS GOING TO BE DOWN,
THE ENERGY IS GOING TO BE GOING
INWARD RATHER THAN OUTWARD,
YOU'RE GOING TO FEEL SOME OF
YOUR ENERGY DRAINED AWAY.
YOU DON'T MAKE A DIAGNOSIS ON
THE BASIS ON THAT.
YOU OBVIOUSLY MAKE A DIAGNOSIS
ON THE BASIS OF A LOT OF OTHER
THINGS, BUT NOT THAT, BUT YOU DO
USE THAT INFORMATION, IT'S
TELLING YOU SOMETHING.
WE LIVE BY OUR MOODS, WE ARE
ANIMALS THAT LIVE IN HERDS.
I MEAN, ANIMALS COMMUNICATE BY
THEIR MOODS.
ANXIETY EXISTS FOR A REASON.
IT'S TO ALERT OTHER ANIMALS AS
WELL.
IT NEEDS TO SPREAD, TO ALERT
OTHER ANIMALS IF THERE'S
SOMETHING TO BE ANXIOUS ABOUT.
SO ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I
FOUND VERY DIFFICULT AS A--
WHEN I WAS FIRST--
I WAS DIRECTOR OF THE MOOD
DISORDERS CLINIC AT UCLA, AND
WHEN I WAS FIRST STARTING TO TRY
AND TEACH RESIDENTS ABOUT MANIA,
I REALISED THAT THE LANGUAGE
EXISTS ABOUT DEPRESSION.
EVERYBODY CAN RELATE TO
DEPRESSION, IN THE SENSE THAT,
UNLESS YOU'RE COMPLETELY...
EITHER NOT FEELING, OR HAVEN'T--
HAVE BEEN REMARKABLY LUCKY IN
LIFE, YOU'VE HAD SOME EXPERIENCE
OF SETBACK AND DEPRESSION.
YOU HAVE SOME NOTION -- IT MAY
NOT BE CLINICAL DEPRESSION, BUT
YOU HAVE A SENSE OF WHAT IT
MEANS TO BE DEPRESSED.
SO TEACHING ABOUT THAT TO
RESIDENTS, IS A LOT EASIER THAN
TEACHING ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO
BE HYPO-MANIC, MILDLY MANIC.
SO ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I DID
AT THAT TIME WAS, I HAD GONE TO
SEE BARNUM, AND THE ACTOR, JIM
DALE WAS PLAYING THE LEAD ROLE
OF BARNUM, AND I WROTE TO HIM,
AND I SAID, YOU KNOW, LOOK, I
HAVE THIS PROBLEM.
I'M TEACHING ABOUT MOODS, AND I
DON'T HAVE ANY IDEA REALLY, HOW
TO CONVEY TO YOUNG DOCTORS WHAT
IT MEANS TO BE EXHILARATED,
REALLY, REALLY, REALLY
EXHILARATED.
AND BARNUM WAS REALLY, REALLY
EXHILARATED, AND THE MUSIC IS
VERY MUCH SO.
AND HE WAS TERRIFIC.
HE SAT DOWN WITH ME FOR A LONG
TIME, AND HE SAID LOOK, IT'S
ACTION, IT'S THE WAY YOU MOVE.
AND SO I ENDED UP USING A COUPLE
OF CUTS FROM THE BARNUM ALBUM TO
TEACH RESIDENTS.
AND AS SOON AS YOU PLAY THIS
VERY MANIC MUSIC, YOU CAN TEACH
MORE ABOUT THE MOOD STATE BY
DOING THAT, THAN BY YOU KNOW,
LISTING ALL THE DIAGNOSTIC
CRITERIA IN THE UNIVERSE, WHERE
PEOPLE JUST SIT, IT'S GLAZE OVER
TIME.
AND WHEREAS EVERYBODY STARTS
MOVING THEIR FEET, AND GETTING
ACTIVATED.
AND THESE -- WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT
MANIA IS ALSO TRUE ABOUT
EXUBERANCE.
IT'S AN ACTIVATING, CONTAGIOUS
STATE.
ALSO YOU KNOW, THINGS LIKE
LAUGHTER AND LOVE ARE
CONTAGIOUS.
I MEAN THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS
THAT SHARE A COMMON EXHILARATED
BORDER.
AND WE NEED THAT, WE NEED THAT
KIND OF CONTAGIOUS ENTHUSIASM TO
ACT AND TO SPREAD OPPORTUNITIES.
OBVIOUSLY A LOT OF PEOPLE TRY TO
INDUCE IT IN THEMSELVES, ALMOST
INVARIABLY CATASTROPHICALLY.
NOT ALWAYS, BUT IT DOESN'T TEND
TO WORK OUT REAL WELL.
THE GENERAL WAY IS THROUGH
MUSIC, WHICH DOES TEND TO WORK
OUT WELL, OR DANCE.
THE THINGS THAT TEND TO BE
OBVIOUSLY NOT PARTICULARLY
ADAPTIVE ARE COCAIN, ALCOHOL,
HASHISH, AND IN THE 19th
CENTURY, A DRUG THAT REALLY DID
SOUND, FROM THE DESCRIPTIONS OF
IT, QUITE WONDERFUL, UNTIL IT
WAS A NIGHTMARE, NITROUS OXIDE,
WHICH WAS REALLY A TRULY
EXHILARATING DRUG.
BUT PEOPLE, FOR THOUSANDS OF
YEARS, OBVIOUSLY HAVE SOUGHT
WAYS OF INDUCING THESE STATES IN
THEMSELVES.
BUT WHAT I ENDED UP FOCUSSING
QUITE A BIT ON, WAS ON
SCIENTISTS, AND I DID THAT FOR A
LOT OF REASONS.
PERSONAL REASONS, MY FATHER WAS
A SCIENTIST, AND HIS FRIENDS
WERE SCIENTISTS AND
MATHEMATICIANS.
AND THEY WERE, FROM A CHILD'S
POINT OF VIEW, THEY WERE GREAT,
BECAUSE FIRST OF ALL, THEY WERE
KIND OF GROWNUP KIDS, THEY LOVED
IDEAS AND THE LOVED TRYING TO
FIGURE OUT YOU KNOW, WHY TREES
SOUND THE WAY THEY DO, AND WHY
SNOW CRUNCHES THE WAY IT DOES.
I MEAN, THEY JUST--
A LOT OF SCIENCE IS ASKING THE
KIND OF QUESTIONS THAT CHILDREN
ASK NATURALLY, AND THAT AT SOME
POINT ALONG THE WAY, SCIENCE
BECOMES VERY BORING TO PEOPLE,
UNFORTUNATELY.
BUT WHAT WAS PARTICULARLY GREAT
ABOUT THEM, WAS THAT THEY NEVER
SQUASHED KIDS' ENTHUSIASM.
I MEAN,
YOU KNOW, THEY JUST SAW
EXUBERANCE AS A VERY NATURAL
REACTION TO THE NATURAL WORLD.
THAT WAS THE MOST NATURAL THING
IN THE WORLD.
SO THERE WAS NONE OF THIS
BUSINESS OF, REIGN IT IN, OR ANY
OF THAT KIND OF THING.
AND THEN OF COURSE, MY
PROFESSIONAL LIFE HAS BEEN
ALMOST ENTIRELY AROUND
SCIENTISTS.
AND
I'VE BEEN STRUCK, TIME AND
AGAIN, BY THE FACT THAT THE
REALLY GREAT SCIENTISTS TEND TO
BE AN EXUBERANT LOT.
THERE ARE A LOT OF EXCEPTIONS,
JUST LIKE THERE ARE IN EVERY
FIELD.
THERE ARE VERY INTROVERTED,
SCIENTISTS, SCIENTISTS WHO DON'T
GET PARTICULARLY ENTHUSIASTIC.
THEY'RE VERY OBSESSIVE AND
THEY'RE OUTSTANDING SCIENTISTS,
BUT AS A GROUP, THEY'RE AN
EXCEPTIONALLY EXUBERANT UM...
GROUP.
SO I INTERVIEWED QUITE A LOT OF
THEM, AND I WROTE ABOUT SOME
EARLIER ONES, THE GREAT
ASTRONOMER, CECILIA PAYNE-
GAPOSCHKIN, AND THEN I DID A
LONG--
I DIDN'T INTERVIEW HER, SHE'S
DEAD, BUT I USED HER AS AN
EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE WHO FACED
TREMENDOUS DISCRIMINATION AS A
WOMAN SCIENTIST -- WASN'T
ALLOWED TO GET AN UNDERGRADUATE
DEGREE AT CAMBRIDGE, HAD TO BE--
YOU KNOW, VIRTUALLY CHAPERONED
TO CLASS, WASN'T ALLOWED TO
BECOME A PROFESSOR, AND THEN
ULTIMATELY DID BECOME THE FIRST
PROFESSOR AT HARVARD, ACTUALLY.
BUT SHE-- HER ENTHUSIASM KEPT
HER THROUGH IT.
SHE, AT SOME POINT SHE JUST--
HER LOVE OF THE STARS WAS JUST
SO MUCH MORE INTENSE TO HER THAN
THE DISCRIMINATION, THAT IT WAS
LIKE A LOT-- AGAIN, LIKE A LOT
OF THE DISCOVERERS, THEIR
ENTHUSIASM CARRIED THEM THROUGH
A LOT OF DIFFICULTY.
BUT SOME OF THE PEOPLE I DID
INTERVIEW, I INTERVIEWED THE
MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST JIM WATSON
ABOUT HIS CO-DISCOVERY OF DNA,
WHAT IT FELT LIKE AT THE TIME,
WHAT ROLE EXUBERANCE HAD PLAYED
IN HIS LIFE AS A SCIENTIST.
I ASKED HIM TO YOU KNOW, JUST
SORT OF HYPOTHETICALLY, ON A 10
POINT SCALE, HOW EXUBERANT, 10 PLUS,
FRANCES CRICK, 10 PLUS PLUS...
BUT IT WAS-- SOME VERY
INTERESTING INSIGHTS FROM HIM
ABOUT THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE IN
SCIENCE, AND HOW IMPORTANT THAT
IS, AND HOW THE PURSUIT OF
KNOWLEDGE, HOW IMPORTANT THAT
IS.
I ALSO INTERVIEWED BOB GALLOW,
THE AIDS RESEARCHER, WHO ONCE
SAID THAT HE DIDN'T WEAR
SHOELACES, BECAUSE IT TOOK HIM
TOO MUCH TIME IN THE MORNING,
AND HE COULDN'T WAIT TO GET TO
THE LAB.
IT TOOK HIM TOO MUCH TIME TO TIE
HIS SHOES.
AND WHAT YOU FIND FROM A LOT OF
SCIENTISTS, BECAUSE SCIENTISTS,
I MEAN BECAUSE SCIENCE IS
RIDDLED WITH SETBACKS, ANYBODY
WHO'S GOTTEN DEVASTATING
LETTERS, REJECTING YOUR ARTICLES
AND YOUR IDEAS, AND EXPERIMENTS
THAT DON'T WORK OUT AND SO
FORTH.
AND THE ENTHUSIASM HAS TO BE
ABLE TO BE REGENERATED, OR
PEOPLE WOULD JUST GIVE UP PRETTY
EARLY IN THEIR CAREERS.
CARLETON GAJDUSEK, WHO RECEIVED
THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR HIS WORK ON
UM, KURU AND SLOW VIRUSES,
SEVERAL ASTROPHYSICISTS AT THE
HOPKINS APPLIED SPACE CENTRE,
WHO WERE INCREDIBLY, I MEAN,
LIKE THEY WERE REALLY OUT THERE
IN TERMS OF EXUBERANCE.
THEY MADE EVERYBODY ELSE LOOK
LIKE PIKERS.
[Audience laughter]
I INTERVIEWED SEVERAL BIOLOGISTS
WHO STUDIED ELEPHANTS, JOYCE
POOLE AND KATIE PAYNE IN
PARTICULAR, WHO ARE ALSO GREAT
WRITERS IN ADDITION TO BEING
TERRIFIC BIOLOGISTS, AND TALKED
ABOUT WHAT THEY SAW AS
EXUBERANCE, OF EVERYTHING FROM
MYSTICAL STATES TO THINGS THAT
KEPT THEM GOING THROUGH ORDEALS
OF BEING OUT IN THE FIELD, BUT
HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS IN THEIR
SCIENTIFIC WORK.
I MEAN, AND IT WAS INTEGRAL TO
BOTH THEIR LIVES, AND SO FORTH.
THEY TALKED A LOT ABOUT THE
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES,
ALL THE SCIENTISTS, THE
ADVANTAGES, OBVIOUSLY IN TERMS
OF ENERGY AND OVERCOMING
OBSTACLES, TAKING RISKS THAT YOU
OTHERWISE WOULDN'T DO, SPREADING
IDEAS ABOUT SCIENCE, BECAUSE
YOU--
ONE OF WATSON'S DESCRIPTIONS
WAS, WHEN YOU--
WHEN HE AND FRANCES CRICK
REALISED THEY REALLY HAD
DISCOVERED THE STRUCTURE OF
LIFE, THEY COULDN'T KEEP IT TO
THEMSELVES, YOU KNOW, FOR
OBVIOUS REASONS, AND, BUT THAT
THAT WAS TRUE IN SCIENCE IN
GENERAL.
THERE'S A TENDENCY TO WANT TO
SPREAD THE IDEAS.
AND IN THAT VERY INTENSITY AND
ENTHUSIASM, IT MAKES OTHER
SCIENTISTS FEEL THAT THAT'S AN
IMPORTANT PROBLEM TO AT LEAST
LOOK AT AND CONSIDER.
I ALSO WROTE QUITE A BIT ABOUT
TEACHING, BECAUSE I THINK
TEACHERS DON'T NECESSARILY GET
ENOUGH CREDIT FOR HOW IMPORTANT
ENTHUSIASM IS IN TEACHING, AND I
TALK ABOUT MICHAEL FARADAY, AND
RICHARD FEINMAN AND PAT CONROY,
THE NOVELIST WHO WROTE A
WONDERFUL BOOK ABOUT TEACHING.
IT WAS ONE OF HER FEW NONFICTION
BOOKS, “THE WATER IS WIDE,”
ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT EXUBERANCE
WAS IN SUSTAINING HIS TEACHING
OF YOUNG CHILDREN.
I ALSO WROTE ABOUT THE DANGERS
OF EXUBERANCE, WHICH ARE MANY.
ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT IT
LACKS -- IT APPARENTLY LACKS THE
GRAVITAS AND PEOPLE HAVE A SENSE
THAT IT'S NOT REALLY DEALING
WITH THE PROFOUND ISSUES OF
HUMANITY, BECAUSE IT'S NOT
TRAGIC.
IT DOESN'T HAVE ANY TRAGIC
OVERTONES.
AND IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO TAKE
JOY SERIOUSLY IN A VERY STRANGE
SORT OF WAY.
WE FIND THAT TIME AND TIME
AGAIN.
AND REALLY, IF YOU WANT TO READ
ABOUT JOY, YOU END UP READING IN
THEOLOGY, WHERE THEOLOGY REALLY
DOES TAKE JOY VERY SERIOUSLY.
BUT IT'S NOT BEEN VERY MICH
CONSIDERED IN PSYCHOLOGY.
THERE'S ALSO A QUALITY OF
THINKING IT'S ALL FIZZ AND NO
GIN, THAT THERE'S A LOT OF
ENTHUSIASM, BUT NOT NECESSARILY
MUCH SUBSTANCE, OR THAT A PERSON
HAS NO FIXITY, THAT THE PERSON
IS SO EASILY CAUGHT UP IN ONE
IDEA, OR ONE NEW THOUGHT THAT
THEY KIND OF SCAMPER AROUND FROM
IDEA TO IDEA AND DON'T HAVE THE
SUSTAINED INTELLECTUAL POWER TO
SEE THINGS THROUGH.
AND THERE'S A LOT OF TRUTH IN
ALL OF THESE THINGS, AND YOU
KNOW, OBVIOUSLY THE BEST
THINKERS PROBABLY COMBINED
FIXITY WITH A LACK OF FIXITY.
THERE'S ALSO A REAL TENDENCY,
AND THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT
SCIENTISTS CAME BACK TO TIME AND
AGAIN, WHICH WAS A FUNNY SORT OF
THING, BECAUSE NONE OF THESE
SCIENTISTS WAS LACKING IN EGO,
TO SAY THE LEAST.
I MEAN-- BUT I WOULD SAY THAT
WOMEN SCIENTISTS WERE, I
WOULDN'T SAY LACKING IN EGO, BUT
THEY WEREN'T EGOMANIACS.
BUT THEY WERE--
YEAH, EVERYBODY HAD A PRETTY
STRONG SENSE OF HIMSELF OR
HERSELF, BUT THEY, ALMOST ALL OF
THEM DESCRIBE FEELING THAT
EXUBERANCE HAS A FAINTLY
RIDICULOUS QUALITY TO IT.
IT
MAKES YOU VERY VULNERABLE
BECAUSE YOU'RE VULNERABLE TO THE
CARL SAGAN EFFECT, THAT HERE WAS
SOMEBODY WHO LOVED ASTRONOMY,
AND WHO WAS A SUPERB ASTRONOMER,
WHO MADE A LOT OF CONTRIBUTIONS
TO SCIENCE, BUT BECAUSE HE WAVED
HIS ARMS UP IN THE AIR, AND
TALKS ABOUT BILLIONS AND
BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF STARS,
THAT THAT WAS SOMETHING--
YOU
COULDN'T QUITE TAKE HIM
SERIOUSLY AS A SCIENTIST,
BECAUSE HE WAS SO ENTHUSIASTIC.
AND SO THAT'S KNOWN AS SORT OF
THE CARL SAGAN EFFECT.
AND THAT'S VERY DAMNING OF
SCIENCE IN A WAY, TO SAY THAT
THAT'S THE CASE, BUT EVERYONE
DOES, AND EVERYBODY ALSO HAD THE
SAME REACTION, THAT, YOU KNOW,
IF YOU GO LECTURE SOMEPLACE, THE
FURTHER NORTH YOU GO, IF YOU'RE
IN ENGLAND, YOU REIGN IT IN,
RIGHT?
BECAUSE THERE IS THAT WORD-

She makes the quote symbol with her fingers and says “NOT
APPROPRIATE.”

She continues THAT PHRASE.
THAT YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T GESTURE

She waves her hands around and says AND GO LIKE THAT A LOT.
YOU GO TO ITALY, AND IT DOESN'T
MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE WHO
UNDERSTANDS WHAT, PEOPLE DON'T
GIVE YOU A BAD TIME,
NONVERBALLY, ABOUT BEING
ENTHUSIASTIC.
IT'S SEEN AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO YOU
AS A HUMAN BEING.
AND EVERY SINGLE SCIENTIST I
KNOW, WHO IS ON THE
INTERNATIONAL LECTURE CIRCUIT,
SAID EXACTLY THE SAME THING.
YOU KNOW, YOU GO NORTH, YOU GO
TO SCANDINAVIA, THE FURTHER
NORTH YOU GO, THE MORE YOU REIGN
IT IN.
AND YOU KNOW, AND I THINK THAT'S
JUST PART OF THINGS.
ANOTHER ASPECT OF IT IS THAT
EXUBERANCE CAN REALLY BE
GENUINELY OVERWHELMING AND
INTRUSIVE.
AND REALLY, BUTT UP AGAINST
OTHER PEOPLE'S FEELINGS.
AND IT IS DEEPLY OFFENSIVE TO
SOME PEOPLE TO HAVE PEOPLE KIND
OF JUST EXUBERATING ALL OVER
THEM, WHEN THEY THEMSELVES,
WOULD LIKE JUST SOME PEACE AND
QUIET, AND GENTLE TIME.
AND ONE OF THE PEOPLE I
INTERVIEWED WAS THE NOW LATE,
UNFORTUNATELY, DIRECTOR OF THE
NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART IN
WASHINGTON, CARTER BROWN.
AND CARTER BROWN IS LIKE, SIX-THREE, OR
SO, AND ACTUALLY A VERY
PATRICIAN SORT OF MAN, IN MANY
RESPECTS.
BUT HE WAS JUST WILDLY
EXUBERANT, ONE OF THE MOST
EXUBERANT PEOPLE I EVER MET.
AND HE USED TO TALK ABOUT THE
FACT THAT ON THE ONE HAND, HIS
EXUBERANCE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR
MUCH OF HIS SUCCESS AS A MUSEUM
DIRECTOR, BECAUSE HIS LOVE OF
ART WAS SO INFECTIOUS, YOU
COULDN'T BE AROUND HIM AND NOT
FALL IN LOVE WITH PAINTINGS AND
SCULPTURE AND BUILDINGS.
BUT HE ALSO SAID THAT HE HAD
THIS TENDENCY THAT HE KNEW, AND
WAS VERY AWARE OF, OF LOPING
INTO THE EMOTIONAL PASTURES OF
OTHERS.
HE JUST COULDN'T HELP HIMSELF,
SO HE'D BE LIKE THAT, AND HE'D
TRY TO HOLD IT BACK, AND HE JUST
COULDN'T DO IT.
AND HE KNEW THAT IT BOTH CREATED
ENVY, BUT IT ALSO CREATED A
CERTAIN AMOUNT OF RESENTMENT
FROM TIME TO TIME.
I MEAN MOST PEOPLE LOVED IT, BUT
IT DEFINITELY CAN BE GRATING,
THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.
AND ANYBODY WHO'S BEEN AROUND
EXUBERANT PEOPLE KNOWS THAT IT'S
EXHAUSTING.
IT ALSO CAN LEAD TO
RECKLESSNESS, AND IT CAN LEAD TO
A LOVE OF SOME PRETTY AWFUL
THINGS, NAMELY WAR.
AND THERE'S A CONSIDERABLE
LITERATURE ON -- IT'S NOT JUST
THAT PEOPLE DON'T MIND KILLING,
THERE'S A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF
PEOPLE WHO GENUINELY LOVE
KILLING IN WAR.
AND YOU KNOW, I WENT BACK TO THE
AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, BUT ALSO
THERE WAS QUITE A BIT WRITTEN
IN WORLD WAR I, AND WORLD WAR
II, AND THEN A LOT WRITTEN ABOUT
THE VIETNAM WAR, OF PEOPLE WHO
JUST WERE ECSTATIC, LITERALLY
ECSTATIC FROM KILLING, AND THAT
YOU HAD THIS KIND OF GROUP
BEHAVIOUR, GROUP KILLING
BEHAVIOUR AND YOU SEE IT IN
OTHER PRIMATES, IT'S NOT JUST
MAN, IT'S OTHER PRIMATES, AND
THAT'S A VERY KIND OF SCARY SORT
OF THING.
AND YOU SEE IT IN INDIVIDUAL
LEADERS AT TIMES.
YOU KNOW, GEORGE PATTON, A
BRILLIANT LEADER IN MANY
RESPECTS, BUT AT THE END OF HIS
LIFE, OR THE END OF HIS CAREER,
VERY MUCH-- I MEAN REALLY OVER
THE TOP INTO TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE
LEADERSHIP.
AND THEN I WROTE, I MEAN I ENDED
UP TALKING ABOUT RESILIENCE JUST
A LITTLE BIT, BUT ALSO, THERE'S
SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS, I THINK
IN MOST PEOPLE, AND WHEN THEY
THINK ABOUT MOODS, OR PEOPLE OR
TEMPERAMENT, TO SAY A PERSON IS
DEPRESSED OR A PERSON IS
ENTHUSIASTIC, AND OF COURSE MANY
PEOPLE ARE BOTH.
AND ONE OF THE EXAMPLES THAT I
USE, IS ONE THAT IS USED
GENERALLY AS AN EXAMPLE OF
DEPRESSION, IS VIRGINIA WOOLF.
VIRGINIA WOOLF, IF YOU READ, OR
WATCH THE MOVIES, IS THIS KIND
OF GLOOMY, DOOMED WOMAN, AND YOU
WOULD NEVER KNOW THAT SHE WAS,
BY ALL ACCOUNTS ONE OF THE MOST
VITAL, VIVACIOUS PEOPLE IN
LONDON, THAT PEOPLE LOVED BEING
AROUND HER.
THEY CALLED HER A LIFE ENHANCER.
THEY JUST COULDN'T WAIT, BECAUSE
SHE WAS BUBBLING OVER WITH LIFE.
IT'S TRUE, SHE HAD A VERY BAD
DISEASE, IT'S TRUE SHE KILLED
HERSELF, BUT IT'S ALSO TRUE THAT
SHE HAD THIS VERY EXUBERANT LIFE
ENHANCING QUALITY TO HER.
BUT I FOCUS PARTICULARLY ON
ROBERT LEWIS STEVENSON, NOT ONLY
BECAUSE NOT ONLY DID ROBERT
LEWIS STEVENSON HAVE THE SAME
ATTRIBUTES, BUT HE, OF COURSE
WROTE ABOUT THEM IN GREAT DETAIL
IN MUCH OF HIS WRITING, BUT MOST
PARTICULARLY IN “JEKYLL AND
HYDE,” IN THE DUALITY OF MOODS,
THE DUALITY ANY NUMBER OF
ASPECTS OF CHARACTER, BUT HOW
BEHOLDEN LIGHT IS TO THE DARK,
AND HOW BEHOLDEN DARK CAN BE TO
THE LIGHT, AND HOW MUCH BOTH CAN
PROFIT FROM ONE ANOTHER.
AND ROBERT LEWIS STEVENSON WAS
AGAIN, BY ALL ACCOUNTS OF HIS
CONTEMPORARIES, SOMEONE WHO
WOULD WALK INTO A ROOM AND
MAGNETISE EVERYONE THERE, JUST A
CHARMING MAN WHO JUST MADE
EVERYONE JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE
IN LOVE WITH LIFE.
BUT HE ALSO CAME FROM A FAMILY
OF PSYCHOTIC DEPRESSIONS.
HE, HIMSELF HAD VERY BAD
DEPRESSIONS, WROTE ABOUT THEM
EXTREMELY WELL.
HE'S ONE OF THE BEST WRITERS I
KNOW ON DEPRESSION.
BUT HE DIDN'T SEE THAT KIND OF
CONTRADICTION, AND THERE ISN'T.
I MEAN, IN SOME PEOPLE, THEY
BOTH JUST GO TOGETHER.
AND IN SOME RESPECTS EXUBERANCE
IS MADE BETTER BY THE EXPERIENCE
OF MELANCHOLY IN SOME PEOPLE,
BECAUSE IT DOES ADD A DEPTH AND
A PERSPECTIVE THAT SHEER
EXUBERANCE WOULD NOT HAVE, AND I
THINK THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE
IN THE ARTS.
THEN THE FINAL CHAPTER IS REALLY
ABOUT EXUBERANCE IN THE AMERICAN
CHARACTER, THAT--
IT'S A
LITTLE HARD, I REALISE, FOR MANY
PEOPLE TO BE UP ON AMERICA THESE
DAYS, BUT WE DID ACTUALLY USED
TO HAVE SOME QUITE WONDERFUL
CHARACTERISTICS.

She laughs and continues AND ONE OF THEM WAS, THAT WE
WERE PEOPLE WHO LEFT AND WHO
SETTLED NEW SPACES, EXPLORED,
WENT NEW PLACES, AND THAT WE
VALUED ENTHUSIASM, AND I THINK
WE STILL DO.
AND WE
VALUED OPTIMISM, AND IF YOU
ACTUALLY DO THESE CROSS-CULTURAL
STUDIES OF WHO VALUES WHAT IN
WHAT CULTURES, IT TURNS OUT THAT
AMERICANS FAR AND AWAY, BY
ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE SAY THEY
VALUE--
THEY THINK ENTHUSIASM IS A
REALLY IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE
ASSET.
A LOT OF COUNTRIES DON'T FEEL
THAT WAY ABOUT ENTHUSIASM,
INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH.
IT'S HARD FOR ME TO IMAGINE
THAT, BUT IT'S TRUE.
BUT IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE
PEOPLE WHO SAID, TO HELL WITH
THE KING, GOT ON THE MAYFLOWER,
SETTLED THE EASTERN SEABOARD,
AND THEN MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY,
THOSE PEOPLE WHO LEFT THE
EASTERN SEABOARD AND WENT ACROSS
THE COUNTRY AND SETTLED THE
LANDS, IT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY--
IT WAS THAT KIND OF OPTIMISM
ABOUT -- THAT THE LANDS COULD BE
SETTLED, THAT THERE WAS A
FUTURE, THAT SOMETHING BETTER
COULD BE DONE, AND THEN ONCE
YOU'D KIND OF EXPANDED THIS WAY,
HORIZONTALLY, AS MICHAEL
COLLINS, THE ASTRONAUT SAID, YOU
REALLY HAD TO GO OFF VERTICALLY,
SO WE WENT OFF INTO SPACE.
AND HE ACTUALLY IS A GREAT
EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE WHO TALKS
ABOUT THAT IMPORTANCE IN THE
AMERICAN CHARACTER, OF OPTIMISM
AND A BELIEF THAT YOU KEEP ON
EXPLORING AND THAT THAT DOESN'T
DIE.
AND THAT IS VERY RELATED TO
RESILIENCE AND THE BELIEF THAT
THERE IS A FUTURE, AND THAT
FUTURE IS MADE MUCH MORE VITAL
BY HAVING JOY AND EXUBERANCE.
AND SO I JUST WANT TO END ON THE
FINAL COUPLE OF PAGES IN MY
BOOK.
I SHOULD SAY, I WROTE THIS
BOOK--
MY HUSBAND WAS A SCIENTIST.
MY HUSBAND DIED TWO YEARS AGO,
BUT MY HUSBAND WAS A SCIENTIST,
AND HE WAS A TERRIFIC SCIENTIST,
AND HE WAS A QUIET EXUBERANT, I
MEAN HE DIDN'T FLAIL ALL AROUND
LIKE I DO.
YOU KNOW, HE WAS VERY QUIETLY
EXUBERANT, BUT HE COULD WALK
INTO A ROOM, AND YOU KNOW, JUST
EVERYTHING WAS OF INTEREST TO
HIM, WHETHER IT WAS A PERSON, OR
THE WAY THE WALL WAS STRUCTURED
OR WHATEVER.
HE WAS CONSTANTLY, I TOLD HIM HE
WAS LIKE A FERRET, YOU KNOW
THOSE ENDLESS LITTLE CAGES.
IF HE WASN'T SPINNING, HE WAS
WANDERING, HE WAS GOING THROUGH
THE TUNNELS, HE WAS, WHATEVER.
AND HE LOVED THE IDEA OF
EXUBERANCE, AND HE THOUGHT,
PARTICULARLY IN SCIENCE, THAT
EXUBERANCE WAS IMPORTANT.
AND UM...
SO HE DIED IN THE MIDDLE OF MY
WRITING THIS BOOK, AND ONE OF
THE THINGS I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW,
I CAN'T GET BACK TO--
HOW CAN I WRITE ABOUT
EXUBERANCE, YOU KNOW?
BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS,
EXUBERANCE IS A KEY TO THE
FUTURE AND IT IS SOMETHING THAT
YOU-- IT DOES DRAW YOU ON.
AND I THINK IT'S A WONDERFUL
THING.
“FOR SOME WHO LOSE HOPE AND
VITALITY, NATURE WILL ACT ON ITS
OWN TO REINFUSE LIFE.
HOWEVER DREADFUL THE
CIRCUMSTANCES, DEATH OR MADNESS,
WAR, BETRAYAL, THE PASSION FOR
LIFE WILL SURGE BACK AGAIN.
FOR THESE INDIVIDUALS IT IS AN
INNATE AND IRREPRESSIBLE FORCE.
THEY ARE, IN EVERY TRUE SENSE,
EXUBERANT BY NATURE.
FOR OTHERS, JOY AND LAUGHTER
SEEP BACK IN MORE SLOWLY.
THEY ARE LESS RESILIENT, THEIR
HEALING IS MORE HESITANT AND
PERHAPS LESS COMPLETE.
BY WHATEVER MEANS, JOY COMES
BACK, HOWEVER NATURALLY OR
HOWEVER HALTINGLY, IT IS AN
AMAZING THING THAT IT DOES.
IT IS A GIFT OF GRACE THAT
ALLOWS US TO MOVE ON, TO SEEK TO
LOVE AGAIN.
WE HAVE ALWAYS SUNG UP GREAT
HYMNS OF PRAISE AND WONDER TO
THE HEAVENS, WE HAVE JOINED OUR
EXUBERANCE TO THAT OF NATURE,
AND HOPED IN SOME MEASURE THAT
OURS WOULD BE AS GENEROUS.
WE RECOGNISE THAT THE JOYOUS
NEED NOT ONLY SANCTION BUT
SHIELD, THAT THE POSSIBILITY OF
RENEWAL BRINGS JOY, AND THAT
RENEWAL, IN TURN, MADE MORE
LIKELY BY JOY.
IN THE WORDS OF THE 19th CENTURY
HYMN, 'AN EXULTANT SONG RINGS
TRIUMPHANT OVER DESPAIR, MY LIFE
FLOWS ON IN ENDLESS SONG ABOVE
EARTH'S LAMENTATION.
I HEAR THE SWEET, THOUGH FAR OFF
HYMN THAT HAILS A NEW CREATION.
THROUGH ALL THE TUMULT AND THE
STRIFE, I HEAR THE MUSIC
RINGING.
IT FINDS AN ECHO IN MY SOUL, HOW
CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?'
A PASSION FOR LIFE, IS LIFE'S
ULTIMATE AFFIRMATION.
TO ASK THE QUESTION IS TO KNOW
THIS IS TO BE SO.
IT IS TO KNOW EXUBERANCE IS A
GOD WITHIN.
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?
THANK YOU.

The audience applauds.

Watch: Kay Redfield Jamison on Exuberance: The Passion for Life