The Search for Genius in Humans
You may easily locate geniuses if you look about. Kanye West is referred to be a jerk genius, whereas Kim Kardashian is described as a business genius.
In modern movies, geniuses like Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stephen Hawking are all shown. Trump has described himself as an extraordinarily stable genius. How do we account for this enduring human need for genius?
Underneath this excessive and widespread usage of the term lies a deep and enduring human need to comprehend the unknowable.
Many times, geniuses take on the characteristics of saviours, inspiring hope for a brighter future. They provide consolation while also finding reasons or justifications for our failings.
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The numerous changes in the definition of “genius” throughout history are evidence that the idea of genius is contextual and arbitrary—it is determined by people.
In contemporary society, making a difference alone is not sufficient to be deemed brilliant. Since originality is important, you must strike the concealed target before someone else does.
A genius nowadays is someone with great mental faculties whose creations have a lasting influence that cuts beyond time, countries, and societies.
The most brilliant people have the biggest effects on the most people over the longest stretches of time.
Two players are required for this brilliant game: a great intellect and an open society.
Albert Einstein would not have earned his reputation as a genius if he had chosen to live on an island cut off from the rest of the world. If he hadn’t brought about change, Einstein would not have existed.
However, since it is never quite evident what constitutes a true genius, humanity will never come to a consensus.
Is it nurture or nature?
There is no conclusive response to the straightforward issue of whether upbringing or nature determines brilliance. Plato said that tremendous talent is a gift from the gods, while William Shakespeare seems to have a strong belief in the power of effort and free choice.
A genius is not born, but rather develops into one, according to French writer Simone de Beauvoir and English scientist Charles Darwin, respectively.
Because of the ambiguity around the concept, geniuses frequently fail to acknowledge their abilities until others do.
Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart all possessed the gift of perfect pitch, but Mozart also possessed a remarkable phonographic and motographic memory.
He was undoubtedly born with his musical abilities since by the time he was six, all of them were already apparent. However, while talent may be inherited, brilliance is not.
All four of Pablo Picasso’s children were average painters.
The son of Mozart has a musical ear but no other talents.
Typically, geniuses do not create geniuses. Consider the traits intellect, curiosity, resilience, and visionary thinking as a combination to produce the unpredictable and explosive occurrence known as genius.
The majority of geniuses also display some form of obsession.
This phenomena is known as emergenesis by psychologists. The phrase “perfect storm” is used by laypeople. Though that happens very infrequently.
Sexism and Intellectual Ability
Men have discriminated against women from the beginning of time, but it might come as a surprise that women have done the same. Women have learnt to minimise themselves because males have done such a fantastic job of keeping them out of the genius club.
In a report published in 2010, the American Association of University Women stressed that prejudice, preconceptions, and unfavourable workplace conditions were the main reasons why women found it difficult to succeed in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Despite making up half of the population, women have historically been portrayed as unnoticeable, inconsequential, and occasionally irrelevant to human affairs, claims historian Dean Keith Simonton.
In her well-known 1929 essay, A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf came to the conclusion that brilliance was generally assigned to males. Her insights on the marginalisation of women still hold true today.
Many women choose to conceal their identity and gender when they wished to have their views heard since they had traditionally been doomed to failure and loss.
Both Jane Austen and Mary Shelley initially published Pride & Prejudice and Frankenstein under pseudonyms. Many well-known female writers, like Marie d’Agoult, Aurore Dudevant (George Sand), and Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot), utilised pen names (Daniel Stern).
Meanwhile, many male geniuses made sexist remarks at least once, including Napoleon, Arthur Schopenhauer, Picasso, Einstein, even Stephen Hawking.
Some female geniuses remained forgotten for centuries just because men chose to erase them from history, including Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut, Saint Hildegard of Bingen, and painter Artemisia Gentileschi.
Prodigies—Are They Geniuses?
It’s common to compare prodigies to Mozart. Why? Because he was the gold standard, of course. Mozart looked to have been possessed by music as a kid, and it has been said that he inherited his exceptional musical abilities from the divine.
He possessed eidetic recall for sounds, flawless pitch, and a keen motographic memory. Mozart met all the requirements for becoming a prodigy.
Today, a youngster who exhibits remarkable, mysterious skills often reserved for an adult is referred to as a “prodigy.”
Prodigy talent shows frequently try to portray the young contestants as geniuses. These competitors, however, are hardly geniuses. Just prodigies, that’s all.
Even though they may possess amazing skills, these skills are only applicable in certain situations.
A genius is different from a prodigy in that a genius creates.
While prodigies only imitate, geniuses transform the world via unique thought and have an impact on society.
They could excel in their field of specialisation from an early age, but they don’t make ground-breaking discoveries that alter the course of the field.
Long-term measurement and perception are also necessary for excellence in particular disciplines. Consider the geniuses like Vincent van Gogh, William Shakespeare, and Giuseppe Verdi who developed their greatest abilities in their latter years.
The prodigy bubble of today is founded on perfectionism, unwavering reinforcement, overzealous attention, and rigid restrictions.
Prodigies only occur in a few different varieties, whereas geniuses do. Stop conflating prodigies with geniuses already.
The majority of prodigies never develop into geniuses, and the majority of geniuses never become prodigies.
It’s also true that most geniuses have excellent vision and are adept at nailing elusive objects. Picasso saw in images, J.K. Rowling could visualise a story using visuals, and Mary Shelley could describe her visions in words.
The majority of geniuses still have a feeling of wonderment. Most likely, urging a youngster to “grow up” damages their creativity the most.
Fairy tales, playthings, and bedtime stories all help kids keep or rediscover their fundamental imagination and inventiveness.
Information is power.
Each of us possesses this want to some extent, whether you choose to call it an endless thirst for information, a desire for learning, or an insatiable curiosity.
Even though curiosity is intangible and invisible, it is an essential component of our identities. It has a strong connection to our other characteristics, notably passion.
The pursuit of knowing is deeply passionate for geniuses.
When they encounter an issue, they become irritated right away and seek a remedy. Geniuses feel “a heavenly dissatisfaction” between what is and what may be, as Jeff Bezos famously put it.
People who are curious try to reconcile what they know and what they observe in order to ease their uneasiness. Da Vinci was once referred regarded as the historical figure with the most insatiable curiosity.
He had a lot of questions, not just about other people, but also about himself.
Queen Elizabeth I was sometimes referred to as a learning miracle. She is a perfect example of the proverb “knowledge is power,” as she stubbornly clung to the authority and control she gradually obtained via knowledge.
A desire for learning has also distinguished other geniuses throughout history, such as Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Oprah Winfrey, and Elon Musk.
Discover your passion and pursue it.
Oprah, Jeff Bezos, and even Plato in 380 BC stressed the value of following one’s passion, but finding one’s passion is the first step in following it.
This may take a short time or several years. Mozart, Einstein, and Picasso all understood their life’s work by the age of five, but van Gogh had to pursue a number of other careers until he ultimately discovered his real calling at the age of twenty-nine.
The meanings of the words “passion,” “obsession,” “determination,” and “compulsion” are similar yet differ slightly. Each one of them all alludes to either a good or bad event. Passion may occasionally become obsession.
Obsession compels but cannot be controlled whereas obsession drives. Obsession on the other hand is unhealthy. Similar to Darwin, Thomas Edison was motivated by a competitive ego.
Other people’s love can inspire some passions, whereas amusement, avarice, or jealousy can also inspire passions. Some individuals are incredibly enthusiastic about making the most of their abilities and succeeding in whatever they do, but because these motivations are not transforming, they seldom result in genius.
All of these geniuses have one thing in common: they are unable to accept the state of the world as they first discovered it.
Each of them noticed a blind spot and was unable to relax until offering a fix. So, ask yourself: Can you see anything that the rest of the world doesn’t seem to notice?
Does it irritate you? Do you believe that you are the only person who might possibly have an answer? Congratulations if so, since you may have discovered both your life’s passion and your talent.
A Rebel is a Genius
Rebellious geniuses are revered in our culture because of their capacity to alter how we perceive the world. Conformists are hardly recalled. Rebellion is necessary for creativity, but not all rebels are geniuses, of course.
Not only do geniuses resist, but they also make good decisions and have innovative ideas. Because of this, geniuses are frequently rejected and even persecuted.
Socrates was made to consume poison because he was so dangerous. Dr. King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela were all incarcerated. Joan of Arc was killed by burning.
Society changes slowly, and often seemingly absurd ideas take decades to become the new standard. Societies typically oppose geniuses because they are aware that they are prone to creating problems, at least initially.
They frighten individuals and pressure them to alter. Geniuses like Nikola Tesla, Darwin, and Christopher Columbus were rebels who disobeyed accepted wisdom.
What compulsion led them to rebel? It was displeased. They took chances, and risk tolerance is a brilliant habit, much like resilience.
True geniuses, in the opinion of English author Samuel Johnson, are those who have powerful brains that are directed in a certain direction. Similar to foxes, geniuses scour vast fields and are occasionally dangerously and irresistibly interested.
Their innate curiosity frequently outweighs their ability to exercise self control, leading them to look for solutions outside of their primary area of interest.
Even Einstein bemoaned the fact that his curiosity got in the way of his profession, and he even said he would have become a musician instead of a physicist.
Similar to this, most geniuses possess enormous breadths of interests, worldviews, routines, and abilities. For instance, Mozart was a mathematician as well and began learning the subject at the age of four.
We learn from geniuses to explore, mix fields, pay attention, be daring and brave, and train ourselves in vast domains. They also caution us against assuming that a degree will automatically get us the job of a lifetime.
There are at least four benefits to contrary thinking: first, it makes it easier to see solutions to issues that you may otherwise miss; second, it develops your creativity and mental flexibility. Fourthly, it enables you to have pleasure while doing what you love.
Thirdly, contrary thinking encourages you to be at ease with contradiction and ambiguity. Consider the contrary to have a better grasp of a topic or item.
Set your final objective and a progression that returns to the beginning if you want to achieve a certain result. Take apart a certain machine to see how it operates.
Understanding the value of opposing viewpoints is one of the hidden qualities of brilliance, especially in business and science. The opposing way of thinking may also give structure to the arts. Mozart regarded the challenge of opposing thought as one that produces superior outcomes.
There is proof that da Vinci understood the value of opposing thought among the 100,000 drawings he produced. In actuality, his Mona Lisa represented an anti-artist revolt.
Her perplexed grin draws the spectator in and makes them curious as to why she is smiling rather than conventionally communicating a message from the artist.
According to the examples of these geniuses, your capacity for brilliance increases the more you take use of life’s ironies. Legendary musicians, authors, comedians, moralists, and poets incorporated opposing forces for a variety of purposes in their works.
Although scientists and mathematicians don’t intentionally seek for inconsistencies, they do welcome them, thus even if the opposing way of thinking is sometimes overlooked, it always leads to better results.
We have a tendency to expect all geniuses to be moral role models, but this is rarely the case, and geniuses—or at least their personalities—frequently let us down.
We are to blame because we fail to remember that achievement, not virtue, is what defines brilliance.
We fail to discriminate between morality and achievement, yet geniuses are frequently not morally very decent people. Due to their irrational concern with altering the world, they can occasionally be far worse than the typical individual. However, history and time work in their favour since the harm they inflict is usually overshadowed by the good they accomplish.
Some geniuses, like Marie Curie, Darwin, and Leonardo da Vinci, were and are in fact exceptional individuals, but not the majority. Jobs was annoying and once admitted that he was a haughty asshole.
As for Edison, he knew nothing. Despite being unwittingly damaging, he lacked empathy. Isaac Newton stole information, made up proof for his experiments, and withheld proper credit. The same might be said of Einstein.
This brilliant behaviour of undervaluing other people arises from preoccupation, which in turn leads to obsessive output, which is a genius habit in and of itself.
When It’s Time to Calm Down
Geniuses have demonstrated throughout history that, regardless of when they have them, calm periods lead to creative discoveries.
Athletes who want to be creators and artists might benefit from this advise.
Take a stroll or simply put your head in a calm condition that allows your thoughts to wander if you’re looking for an original, creative idea. Your memory resources are improved whether you run outside or in a gym.
If you don’t feel like working out or jogging, perhaps taking a bus, boat, or train will help you to become more perceptive. Like many other geniuses, Rowling had the inspiration for Harry Potter while riding a train, much like many other creative types.
Make sure that nothing you do requires concentration or attention.
Do any repetitive, mindless physical exercise to clear your thoughts, and, like Einstein, keep a paper and pen by the bed or the shower to jot down your finest ideas. While it’s human nature to want to be active and concentrated all the time, geniuses are aware of when this is inappropriate.
An Ingenious Focus
Just as it can sometimes be difficult to unwind, it can also be challenging to concentrate, consider a problem, and come up with a solution. This is true for both successful individuals and geniuses.
It’s well recognised that concentration is necessary to come up with a solution, but once you do, you either act immediately away or put it off. Da Vinci had a remarkable capacity for concentration, but once he arrived at a conclusion, he frequently lost interest.
This is presumably the reason he only left 25 completed works.
Analysis is just as important as execution as far as focus and effort are concerned. Prior to beginning to paint with a brush or write with a pen, Picasso examined his work in his eyes and thoughts. Da Vinci would spend hours just standing, gazing, and contemplating.
He referred to this period of intense focus as his “mental discourse,” or discorso mentale.
Building a mental barrier that enables you to focus even in the loudest situations is necessary nowadays if you want to stay focused in the face of turmoil. You’ll be more effective if you can create this space that is specifically designated for productive attention.
Finally, despite our desire to emulate the habits of brilliance, we must never forget that those great brains were frequently not wonderful people.
In reality, a lot of them ended up becoming egocentric and compulsive. A genius is rarely loved until after their passing since that is when we understand how much better life is due of them.