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Individual and social definitions of genius Individual and social definitions of genius
by Joseph Gatt
2020-12-31 10:13:03
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How different people I have encountered define “genius.”

-”Genius doesn't exist. All men are stupid... but don't you dare call me or my loved ones “stupid.” The rest of the world, well, they're all morons.”

I've met quite a few people who don't believe in genius. They probably couldn't name a single public figure with a reputation for “genius” (Einstein, Shakespeare etc.) and have often read few books.

genio0001_400These people tend to have vague notions of what the arts, the sciences, business or even sports involve. And these people often don't realize how much time and effort a work of art takes to produce or a business takes to set up.

These people are often stuck in routines that involve dealing with “conventional” people and “conventional” tasks, and consume media and entertainment without too much thought.

-”Genius doesn't exist. Every work of art or science can get more work done. Don't you dare come up to me and tell me you've done a great work of art or science. It can always be more perfect.”

These people are often educated, middle class people who believe only perfection can be synonymous with genius, and that perfection does not exist.

So when I lecture these guys, they're the ones constantly asking me questions and digging deeper into the topic, not realizing I spent the last 25 years doing research and the depth on the lecture I just gave them.

When I pause to tell them that I worked hard to lecture them on the topic, they'll say something like “I'm sure the information you're giving me is available somewhere on Wikipedia.”

-”Genius is about credentials. A genius is a straight-A student who graduates from a top university with all the honors a graduation involves.”

These guys come up to me and go like “what college did you go to” and I'm like “Nanterre” and they're like “don't you dare lecture me. You're only allowed to lecture me if you went to Harvard.”

-”Genius is the mastery of the classics. Chinese characters, Latin, Ancient Greek. If you're not familiar with those, I don't care if you're a rocket scientist, don't lecture me about life.”

Now there are quite a few professors and parents and intellectuals who believe that not being familiar with Latin or Classical Chinese characters or Sanskrit is a sign of idiocy.

You can solve all the math and physics problems you want, but if you can't compose a poem in Sanskrit or Ancient Greek, you're a worthless piece of junk.

-”Genius is about ethnicity. An African or South Asian can't be a genius. Genius is for white people.”

Now the African continent, the Middle East, South and East Asian totalitarian dictators don't want to be lectured by their peers, citizens or subjects, because a smart Congolese who gets accolades and prizes will threaten the Congolese government and the status quo.

So Africans like to shoot themselves in the leg and rob themselves of intellect by shooting down their intellectuals, and claiming that only a blond-haired, blue-eyed John Doe can qualify to get the “genius” label.

-”Genius is a Jewish/Masonic invention to dominate the world. Truth is, human beings are stupid. But the Jews like to celebrate their pseudo-intellectuals to dominate the world.”

These are often the same dictators who sweep their intellectuals under the rug, who deny the existence of intellect itself. Intellect is a Jewish invention to threaten the royal or presidential palace.

-”Genius is not just about arts and science. Everyone's a genius at something.”

Now these guys and girls are often kind and nice and like to praise everyone and put everyone on an equal footing.

So according to these guys, if you can bake bread, you're a genius. If you can get the printer to work, you're a genius. If you can switch the TV on, that's as much genius as solving any math problem.

-”Genius is a lot of knowledge but the wisdom to stay quiet. A real genius does not talk.”

Now these are the guys who tolerate smart people as long as those smart people quietly read books but never write down or share their thoughts. When a smart person talks, they're really bragging. To them modesty and genius go hand in hand.

-”All rich people are geniuses. A real genius is someone who knows how to make money.”

These guys tend not to associate genius with intellectual pursuits or meticulous art work or incredible achievements in business or sports.

To these guys, if you've made your millions, you're a genius.

-”I don't recognize genius, but I will paraphrase genius work and imitate their technique.”

I've met quite a few authors and artists who refuse to discuss genius and intellect, and prefer to trade biographical notes of famous people instead.

They'll say things like “Kurt Cobain was famous because he was handsome” (true, but musical genius also had something to do with it) or “Einstein was famous because he fled the Nazis” (so 50+ years of research in physics amounts to nothing).

But they will imitate those “famous people's” work, technique and style. Often doesn't come out very well.


Very few people recognize the hard work that goes into a work of art, a work of science, or a big or sturdy business.

To most people, Coca-Cola is just Coca-Cola, and very, very few people admit or recognize that Coca-Cola was the result of 120 years of constantly working on challenges, inventing a ton of business concepts, defying all odds to be present in almost every country in the world.

To most people, Steve Jobs is just the author of a couple of good speeches. Most people don't realize the guy worked 40+ years inventing software product after software product (and all the details and coding that go with it) and computer hardware part after part, and putting those together to come up with products, failing at some, succeeding at others.

So to me, genius is in the depth of knowledge, the infinite amount of details, and a string of works and products that result from grouping all that infinity of details together to come up with a series of products that are out of the ordinary.

The real challenge is to notice all the details and work and sweat that resulted in that series of final products.

So to me, music is a talent. Memorizing Chinese characters is a talent. But the ability to compose a series of hits and never running out of ideas, or the ability to compose an endless series of creative poems in Chinese characters, now that's genius.

But in most societies, dictators are afraid of genius, and are afraid of those eyes that notice and see through the cracks in the walls of the presidential palace. So, in many societies, genius tends to be the victim of character assassination, and tends to be smothered before it ever blooms.

Now the problem with genius is that you're not born with it. To qualify as a genius musician, you would need to listen to 7 to 10 hours of music a day for many, many years, have the incredible ability to both memorize and analyze large portions of the music, and spend three to six hours a day composing or imagining music over several years or decades.

Now if your government (or you family or society) constantly sends you out to do menial tasks, or forces you to hang out with people you don't like when you'd rather be working on your music, or forces you to take a job as a factory worker when you'd rather be composing music, your musical talent might never bloom, and your genius will have been wasted.

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