Genius and Creativity.
eminence and genius. What is meant by these words?
to Webster's dictionary this word can mean a person of
markedly superior character or quality, especially one who is noble or
highly skilled in some activity. This site uses greatness to usually
mean someone who has great ability in performing some skill, a person
who can do things that more average people can not. You can talk about
a great scientist, a great artist, a great lawyer, a great general or a
to Webster's dictionary this word can mean a person who is conspicuous,
one who stands out as being readily perceived or noted or who holds a
prominent position above others or who has qualities above others. This
site uses eminence to mean a person who is well respected in a
particular field of knowledge, a person who holds a position above
others because he/she is respected for being knowledgeable. It is
certainly not usual or correct to talk about an eminent footballer. The
word eminent is normally reserved for those people who are respected
because of their academic learning such as scientists, historians or
Webster's dictionary this word can mean a person who
extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative
activity, or a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority, especially a person
with a very high IQ. This site
uses genius to mean a person who has made an important or great
contribution to the knowledge of some field. Although we sometimes talk
about a football genius this is not really correct because the
footballer can have made no important contribution to man's
intellectual knowledge however skilled he might be.
These words 'great', 'eminent'
and 'genius' are often used interchangeably because they can usually be
used to describe the same people. Any genius can rightly be called
great or eminent. A genius is person highly skilled at creating in his
field or fields of knowledge, he also has to hold in his mind a great
deal of knowledge from those fields and he is made prominent both by
his/her store of knowledge and by her/his creative activity. Indeed it
is impossible to make an important contribution to knowledge without
having masses of knowledge at ones disposal to make correlations within. On the other
hand an eminent person may never make a great contribution despite his
knowledge. So an eminent person is not necessarily a genius. Likewise
being great in some field does not make a person a genius. Being highly
skilled does not mean you are automatically classified as a genius. You
have to first use your skills and knowledge to create something new,
some new bit of knowledge that is held to be sufficiently important to
enable your being classified as a genius.
Genius knowledge and learning.
Geniuses are prodigious learners of all three
sorts of learning. First,
they are superior at discovering flaws in their own model of
previous experience. They are superior at accepting the truth of this,
and modifying this model to create a more accurate model of the world.
Second, they are superior at discovering, inventing and creating new
knowledge from their existing knowledge. Finally, they are superior at
assimilating and accommodating for, the knowledge held in common by
But there is a question.
geniuses unique genetically superior beings, or are they people not so
different from ourselves? There are some theories that geniuses are
people born genetically superior, but the proof of such an idea is
difficult to sustain in the face of evidence that geniuses appear to be
very much shaped by their environments. As is usually the case with
such arguments, the truth probably lies with both of these theories
having some credence.
Geniuses may have been born with great potential for intelligence or
creativity, but there are suitably intelligent people who are never
classified as geniuses because they never produce any recognized work
worthy of them being called geniuses. Perhaps being hailed as a genius
is partly luck of circumstances and partly creativity. It seems
however, that geniuses have certain qualities or internal facilities in
common. It appears that those facilities enable them to notice things
that others do not. This in turn enables them to produce work of
outstanding intellect and creativity; it enables them to use bizarrely
unique ideas, and thus make discoveries of great significance to the
human race. In the end it may not really matter to what extent
hereditary or environment factors influence creative genius. What
likely most matters, is that human beings are all born with a potential
that most of us never actualize, and that geniuses for whatever reason
do get close to actualizing their full potential.
"It is wise to learn; it is God-like to
create." John Saxe
"Doing easily what others find difficult
is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius." Henri
"He presents me with what is always an acceptable gift who brings me
news of a great thought before unknown. He enriches me without
impoverishing himself." Ralph Waldo Emmerson
"Universities are of course hostile to geniuses, which, seeing and
using ways of their own, discredit the routine: as churches and
monasteries persecute youthful saints." Ralph Waldo
Genius and Creativity.
creativity and who is able to generate creativity? Well firstly
geniuses are always creative to some extent and usually very creative.
Geniuses are extremely good at being creative. Creativity is about
innovative ideas. Geniuses are the ones who produce the most really
innovative ideas. For both creativity and genius, there is no real
standard to judge them by, other than what is currently accepted in a
society or culture. Genius and creativity then, are cultural
conventions, and are easier to identify in retrospect than in the
moment of their greatest work. What we understand to be genius is
probably continually evolving. However, while both creativity and
genius are dependent on the views held by others, creativity is about
the qualities of a person while genius is not. As Michael J. A. Howe
points out in his book
"Genius Explained" genius is more of an accolade conferred on
someone in acknowledgement of their achievements.
illusion of the muses.
There are various
notions about creativity and who is able to give it form. Some say that
creativity is like a divine message and springs from nowhere much like
what was thought by the ancient Greeks. Others say that creativity is
something that can only be performed by a few special people, born
genetically different, the people we often call geniuses. They suggest
that creativity is limited to geniuses and that more average people
cannot be really creative.
This site has weighed the evidence and is
convinced that both of the above ideas are incorrect. While it is true
that for most people, most ideas do seem to come from 'nowhere'. This
'nowhere' is simply our unconscious or subconscious mind. It is the
culmination tinkering and thought processes often many many years in
the making. If there is a eureka moment it is years and years of work
suddenly coming together and percolating up from our unconscious to
finally make sense. It will be shown that various things can be done to
make our unconscious or subconscious minds more likely to produce these
insights or intuitions. Also while it is clear that geniuses have an
enormous capacity for creativity and that average or normal people seem
to usually show little aptitude for creativity, there is little to show
that geniuses are produced by genetics or a closed group of
characteristics. Indeed this would provide a very different
understanding of what it is to be a genius, and one it is difficult to
find support for. This is because genius is bestowed on only a very
few, and that those few are by no means sufficient to cover all those
who are understood to be creative.
"All of us, you, your children, your
neighbors and their children are everyday geniuses, even though the
fact is unnoticed and unremembered by everyone. That's probably because
school hasn't encouraged us to notice what's hidden inside us waiting
for the right environment to express itself."
no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with
man's physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind
that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience,
involuntarily amassed." Charles
making and unmaking of genius.
makes a genius is not how
many IQ points he has, it is mostly a number of tendencies in his
personality. These tendencies we are all born with to some extent, but
most of us lose them because we stop using them. This site holds that
almost any human can be a creative genius by learning the skills of
some knowledge domain and by being exposed to role models of
creativity. More to the point, individuals may, by retaining the use of
many the mental facilities, that have in others become inactive since
childhood, be better prepared to engage in such activities as are
expected of a genius.
importantly however, it will be shown that if children were not
subjected to detrimental environments that cause these tendencies to
atrophy, they could and would all be able to use most of these
facilities. This would assist them both to be creative, and give them a
good chance at becoming eminent in their field of work. In other words
they would be ideally positioned to become a genius. We propose,
contrary to traditional educational values, that such early tendencies,
facilities, skills or tools should be encouraged or nurtured. This site
holds that the world needs as many creative people as is possible, and
certainly as many geniuses as possible for humanity to solve the many
problems that plague the world. We further hold, that nearly all people
are capable of being creative and that there are vast number of people
who are potential geniuses, who could become geniuses given the right
environment. This site holds that it is just a matter of parents,
teachers and cultures nurturing tendencies (skills or tools) that we
are all born with and as are exemplified in the 13 tools of geniuses
referred to below. In this way, we may possibly produce many times the
number of geniuses that are now produced.
and unconscious Ideas.
another section of this site we talk about intuition, insight, and
hunches, as rapid cognition and thin slicing. Based on Malcolm
the thrust of this section is that there are certain processes in the
brain that are hidden from us, and go on behind locked doors. Creative
people are usually good at this as are geniuses. For more information
about these hidden processes and how they relate to genius please click
here and go to
the page on rapid cognition.
Conscious Creation in
This site would now like to propose that these
referred to above, can and are, in some people brought under some
conscious control and at least partly processed consciously. The people
who can do this are the very creative and the people who can do it
best, are the geniuses. By studying these geniuses, by learning how
they use there minds, perhaps we can all learn to be more creative and
provide our children with an opportunity to all become highly creative,
even geniuses. Thus, we can show that genius and creativity are not
something just determined by genetics, but rather something that can be
developed or nurtured if not completely then as well. Geniuses are
currently determined by certain positive environments provided by luck
or cultural factors, but we intend to show such environments can be
and Nature, the Evidence.
let us be clear. Nobody is
born a genius. All the people that we call geniuses were once babies
and children, where they had little in the way of abilities or
understanding. They had to learn everything they needed, to be able to
create the works they eventually did. Some like George Elliot (Mary
Anne Evans) did not produce anything like a work of art till she had
completed many years as a journalist at about the age of thirty five.
evidence for environmental influence in the production of both genius
and creativity is very substantial. Some of the most compelling of this
evidence shows that geniuses are produced in groups, in eras, and in
particular places. It is no surprise to us to learn that a considerable
number of geniuses of the same field not only knew one another, were
born near one another, and learnt and worked near one another. Not only
that, but they were certainly familiar with one another's works and
probably discussed them with one another. Very often a whole group will
have had the same teacher who was himself one often great creators in
for instance not only had a great teacher John Charcot, but two of that
teacher's other students Babinski and Dejerine, were important
innovators in neurology. Not only that, but Freud himself was mentor to
Jung and Adler and the other fathers of Psychology. Places such as
Florence during the renascence, and Paris at the beginning of the 20th
century, were not just places people went to become great artists, but
they were also places where most of the great artists of that time were
born. Why was Vienna the home of so many great musicians during the
time of Mozart and Beethoven? Why was Karl Popper a member of the
Vienna Circle which had for its members all the important philosophers
of the Logical Positivists school such as Carnap and Alfred Tarski?
Clearly the answers are, that a concentration of creative people
produces an environment that results in genius.
times when people are living is also important for producing geniuses.
Some times in history seem to have produced little in the way of
geniuses, while other times like the enlightenment or the renascence
produced many great
innovators and geniuses. The point is, that these geniuses needed great
mentors to become great, they needed the stimulation of other great
minds to spark off of to become great, they needed a creative
environment to allow the development of their creative abilities and to
bring out their genius.
could be said that genius tends to grow
exponentially in pockets or areas containing groups of humans who are
highly versed in specific types of knowledge. This growth seems to
happen in a manner similar to a chain reaction in a in a nuclear
reactor. This is not limited to geniuses but extends to any groups that
acquire large amounts of specific knowledge in some field. It is indeed
most evident in sports where people of a particular area become famous
for producing many champions in a particular sport like China for ping
pong, Kenya for middle and long distance runners, Jamaica for
sprinters, South Korea for female golfers, Brazil for soccer players,
The Dominican Republic for baseball players. This is so prevalent that
commentators now speak about sports geography. It is unlikely that this
all happens because people in particular places are significantly
genetically better at a particular sport. They often have the same
genes as people scattered elsewhere in the world who do not become
champions in these sports. Then too why is Russia famous for ballet
dancers? Do they have a dance gene? It too seems unlikely.
The knowledge chain reaction.
pockets of individuals with similar knowledge grow because people
of similar skill sets and knowledge coming together tend to fuel and
feed off of each other in numerous ways. They act as mentors and heroes
for each other. They take from and build on each other's work. They
steal from each other. They provide role models for each other. They
challenge one another to learn or perform something that they feel is
within their grasp. There is also social and emotional contagion where
each new generation observes the pleasure that people eminent in their
field of knowledge take in accumulating further knowledge in that
field. There is also the enjoyment that their peers appear to also take
in accumulation of knowledge in that field. This real and and sometimes
apparent enjoyment is what draws more and more people to the field
along with the obvious successes that start coming out of the area in
large numbers. This exponential explosive growth of knowledge and
creativity both attracts, and creates great teachers, who further fuel
the knowledge/creative chain reaction. This gradually builds into a
culture where it is normal to feel that skill, creativity and genius
are within a person's grasp and that everybody is working toward them.
these pocket do not grow very large and peter out as if some dampening
rods have been inserted into the chain reaction. Perhaps the
environment changes so that it no longer is conducive. Perhaps it no
longer toggles those genetic switches. Perhaps the expression of
knowledge hungry genes is turned down by environmental changes. Other
times, like the enlightenment or the renascence, the exponential
explosion of knowledge goes on for a long time, and encompasses a large
section of the
the evidence, that nurture
is significantly involved in the development of genius, does not in
itself prove that nature is not involved, it at least shows that the
nurture side has to be considered. Considerable evidence for nurture
and gradual incremental improvement in the development of geniuses has
been provided by Michael J. A. Howe in his book
"Genius Explained". Howe shows through such biographical
material as exists on geniuses that there is little to show that
geniuses start out much more talented than the rest of us. At the same
time time he provides ample evidence that geniuses gradually develop
the skills and abilities they need and that their earliest attempts to
produce work in their field is usually amateurish. This work draws
heavily on the biographies of such iconic figures as Mozart who have
long been erroneously presented as prime examples of nature at work and
Nature via nurture.
"Nature Via Nurture" Matt Ridley gives us yet another way of
understanding how genius and indeed any other attribute of a person
might be brought into being. Ridley suggests that far from being two
alternative ways of bringing human attributes into being nature and
nurture are inextricably entwined and in fact are part of the same
process. Ridley gives us the example of the causes of fatness. He says:
do genes affect weight? Presumably through controlling appetite. In an
affluent society, those who gain most weight are hungrier and so eat
more. The difference between a genetically fat and a genetically thin
Westerner lies in the fact that the first is more likely to buy an ice
cream. Is it the gene or the ice cream that causes his fatness? Well,
it is obviously both. The genes are causing the individual to go out
and expose himself to an environmental factor, in this case ice cream.
Surely it is bound to be the same in the case of intelligence. The
genes are likely to be affecting appetite more than aptitude. They do
not make you intelligent; they make you more likely to enjoy learning.
Because you enjoy it, you spend more time doing it and you grow more
clever. Nature can only act via nurture. It can only act by by nudging
people to to seek out the environmental influences that will fulfill
their appetites. The environment acts as a multiplier of small genetic
differences, pushing sporty children towards the sports that reward
them, and pushing bright children towards the books that reward them."
a certain set of genes predisposes a person to experience a certain
environment. Having sporty genes makes you want to practice at sport
having intellectual genes makes you seek out intellectual activities.
The genes are the agents of nurture."
is unlikely however that the predisposition to enjoy learning would be
the only genetic mechanism that might act to make use of environmental
resources to increase the amount of knowledge a person might acquire.
Let us look at a number of other possible predispositions that could be
involved in the acquiring of knowledge.
Of course Ridley is correct that a predisposition to enjoy learning
could be a genetic mechanism through which genes make use of
environmental resources to increase the amount of knowledge a person
might acquire. This could also manifest as a kind of hunger to learn.
There could also be a genetic predisposition to read books that could
improve the acquisition of knowledge. This genetic predisposition may
take the form of a brain that is better structured to make reading easy
or a more vital connection between the sections of the brain involved
in reading and the pleasure centers of the
There may also be a genetic predisposition to listen, converse or
engage in dialogue that would cause knowledge to accumulate. This too
may take the form of a brain that is better structured to make
listening and conversing easy or a more vital connection between the
sections of the brain involved in dialogue and the pleasure centers of
Another possibility is that of a predisposition to be able to get up
after being knocked down, to be be better able to experience failure
and yet still persist in trying to understand or find answers. This
would guarantee motivation to accumulate knowledge. It could be a kind
of stubbornness or it could be a predisposition to believe that that
humans or not limited in what they can learn, and that given the
application of sufficient effort anyone can learn anything. No doubt
Carol Dweck would be horrified to see her growth mindset considered as
a genetic mechanism, yet this in no way invalidates this mindset as a
volitional way for a person to reorient their life path for the better.
A predisposition to be powerful or to have power over others could
motivate a person to acquire large amounts of certain types of
specialized knowledge. Military knowledge for instance or knowledge
about fighting might be acquired because of a predisposed determination
to dominate others or best ones enemies.
A predisposition to be accomplish great things could facilitate actions
through which a person might acquire large amounts of knowledge. A need
to accomplish could drive a lifelong seeking of new and important
Something as simple as a predisposition to mate or impress a member of
the opposite sex could in certain circumstances, where the opposite sex
was impressed by knowledge, also drive the acquisition of more and
The need or desire for fame could also be a genetic predisposition that
would also fuel an ever increasing seeking out of knowledge at the
cutting edge of new ideas.
The need or desire for status could also be a genetic predisposition
that would likewise fuel an ever increasing seeking out of knowledge.
need, any desire, requires knowledge to enable satisfaction and to
improve the satisfaction of those needs and desires. In the end no
other genetic mechanisms may be needed other than these inborn desires
and needs which are satisfied through the use of environmental
resources. The accumulation of knowledge may be simply environmental
opportunities times the strength of those desires and needs and our
ability to create those opportunities for ourselves.
while the predispositions for learning, presented above, could be fully
or partly genetic, there is considerable evidence that they too the
product of environmental circumstances. The belief that
enjoy learning, reading or conversing; the belief that you can
accomplish anything with sufficient hard work and can gain pleasure
from this; the belief that by being smart you will dominate others,
have high status over others or be held in high esteem by others and
that this will be pleasurable; the belief that being smart will make
you more sexually attractive to the opposite sex and that this will be
pleasurable; have all been shown to be highly variable under
different environmental circumatances. Indeed each of such tendencies
can be shown to be greatly strengthened with the right
What is a genius?
may simply be an illusion people have created to avoid
recognizing that a person, who has acquired a lot of knowledge
(understood information), is the same as being intelligent. When people
believe they are measuring intelligence they may simply be measuring
the amount of knowledge a person has acquired, and the person's ability
to recall it. A genius, may in the end, simply be a person who has
acquired a lot of knowledge and who has gotten lucky or who has
prepared him/herself to be lucky. If Ridley is correct, what enables a
genius to come into existence is a set of genes that provide a
predisposition to seek out certain environmental conditions, that
enable learning. Those people who find the right conditions they need
to learn to this extent, would have to be lucky in society as it exists
at the moment. There is also the possibility of a volitional factor.
People who work hard and persist in their learning, may well be more
likely to become geniuses.
ideas of nurture and nature may themselves both be unfortunate
conceptual errors that have lead us to misunderstand how learning
really works. Whether we learn or not may be a matter of genetic
predisposition to do so, plus lucky random environmental opportunities,
plus the volition to grasp those environmental opportunities and stick
with them. What is called nature then would be just the tiniest spark
that must be fed in order to grow into anything, and which, without
that food, will come to nothing. Nurture on the other hand may not be
an outside hand guiding children/people to acquire knowledge, but
rather a matter of influencing children/people's desires so they will
wish to acquire knowledge of their own volition. It may also be
teachers/parents doing what they can to enable children/people to have
as much opportunity to learn what they wish to learn, as is possible.
Ridley says although children seem to reflect some indication that
their intelligence is guided, adults do not reflect this:
adult, by contrast, generates his or her own intellectual challenges.
The 'environment' is not some inflexible and real thing: it is a set of
influences actively chosen by the actor himself."
engines of self creation.
In previous times genes were
generally understood through the metaphor of a template. Genes were
thought to be a template that could be used to create an exact replica
of an animal or a person. Over time however, science changes how we
understand how things work, and it is no longer possible to consider
genes this way. Far from being templates from which it is possible to
produce identical clones, genes are now thought of as rather unique
sources of variable life paths that each produce very different beings.
Not only is each set of genes unique, but from that unique set can
issue an infinite variety of different beings. Every change in the
external environment can send an animal or a human down a different
life path which can produce a very different being. Every choice an
organism makes is a choice between different external environments and
is how an organism changes itself each time into something new.
Humans because of their superior brains have more
choices and more control over the external environment, thus they have
finer control over what they will become. Humans can steer
themselves through an infinity of life paths, creating a new and unique
selves as they go. The ultimate shape of any life is not predetermined,
it is instead (at least in part) self created. Fate and destiny do not
exist. They are a lie an illusion. Our final destination is in our own
hands and we may become almost anything. Sure our genes have built in
limits, but it is impossible to know what those limits are until we try
to push past them, and even then we cannot be sure.
Although we do not have complete control over how
we will turn out, it now seems most probable that we can have a very
big say in it. So much say do we have in this, that it may well be that
if we so desire, we may ourselves, be able to determine whether we
become a geniuses or not. We may be able to provide for ourselves, the
very circumstances in which we can become a genius. This being the
case, we really have an obligation to try and do this in every aspect
of our lives.
In his book
"The Genius in All of Us" David Shenk suggests that we need a
new metaphor for genes. He suggest that rather than understanding genes
as a kind of template, we should instead think of genes as knobs and
switches on a control board which is reflected in every cell in our
bodies. If our DNA is a control board and genes are the knobs and
switches on it, then the force that guides those knobs and switches is
the influence of the environment. Environmental influences can be
divided into three quite different types or groups of influence. They
may be the random occurrences of chance or luck. They may be the
controlling influences of society, culture and others in general. They
may be the autonomous self guiding influences of personal choices.
Randomness, chance and luck are beyond our ability
to affect. Societies and cultures have a responsibility to produce
better smarter people and they can do a lot toward this end. But each
person has the most say in what he can become, and it would be best for
him, best for society, and best for the world, if he was trying to
guide himself toward becoming a genius.
The work of
genes is complex.
Nothing about genes is simple and straight
forward. Genes are hardly ever switched on or turned up by a single
environmental trigger. Usually certain genes have to be already
switched on or turned up in advance so an environmental trigger can
activate another gene by switching it on or turning it up. Sometimes
whole constellations of genes have to be switched on and often as many
have to be switched off so a particular gene can be switched on,
switched off, turned up, or turned down by an environmental trigger. So
complex can this process become, that whether a gene is on or off, up
or down may depend on what all the other genes are doing. Whether those
other genes are switched on or off, turned up or down, may all be
critical in determining whether an environmental trigger can activate a
single gene. Not only that, but it may require more than one
environmental trigger to activate or deactivate a gene. It may require
many many external triggers acting in concert to turn on, turn off,
turn up, or turn down a single gene.
Despite all this difficulty, genes can be
influenced intentionally by both society and our selves. We can use our
knowledge of how this happens to make it happen the way we want it to
happen. Societies can make themselves into societies of geniuses, and
individuals can make themselves into smarter and smarter people
genius is a creator of high order. Ordinary
people tend to think and say, that it must be great to be a genius and
sit around doing nothing all day but coming up with great ideas. Gertrude
Stein said, "It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have
to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing." But this is misperception.
Geniuses are the hardest working people in the world. They have a vast
store of knowledge about their subject and they did not get it by
sitting on their behinds. They got it by totally immersing themselves
in their subjects. Geniuses do the work. They put their ideas down on
paper. If it is a theory, they try to find evidence to disprove the
theory. They ask all the questions that the theory generates. They
outline how the theory could be proven wrong. If they are inventors
they build or make the invention. Before Charles Darwin published his
theory another naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace came up with virtually
the same idea of evolution independently. It is Darwin we remember
however, because he documented his theory in a massive tome that
minutely illustrated every aspect of his theory,
"The Origin of Species". He was able to do this because he
had been gathering evidence for 20 years.
The paradox of genius.
a paradox involved in being a genius. While as suggested above,
geniuses have to be totally immersed in their understanding of some
field of of study, it is also true that having too much knowledge of
some field of study can be confining to geniuses. The thing is this,
geniuses while needing to be widely versed in understanding what is
known in some field of study, at the same time need not to be bound by
the conventions of that field of study. One way they can overcome this
to some extent is by being knowledgeable in more than one field of
"Men of lofty genius when they are doing
the least work are most active." Leonardo da Vinci
have many of the qualities
of self-actualized people, indeed, they are often the same people:
are passionate and enthusiastic about their work to the point of
work on projects that are important.
are productive and get results, never just busy.
are hard working, eager to start and unwilling to stop till they are
do not procrastinate or put off to tomorrow, they are committed to
getting it done.
are playful and humorous.
continually seek to perform at the peak of there own potential.
do not think genius is a drudge, it is not, because geniuses love their
work, and obtain joy from their accomplishments as few other mortals
"Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals
because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do."
W. H. Auden
Anomalies and preparation.
there is one thing that sets a genius apart from others, it is his
unfailing interest, not in what works and fits in with what is known,
but rather the anomalies. Geniuses are not only knowledgeable, but they
are better prepared to recognize the incompatible, the flaws and
errors. They are unable to discard failed experiments without asking
why it went wrong and what that might mean. While not all of them make
the big discoveries and in that they are not all recognized as geniuses
by their societies, they are always well equipped to recognize the
significance of an anomaly if it presents itself. Indeed they are well
equipped to make the most of any such a discovery. Most scientists and
other creatives who easily discard anomalous work as erroneous, cannot
recognize its significance and thus are unable to make the big
discoveries, even when an anomaly occurs right in front of them.
being a genius as Gladwell and others point out is putting in the work
necessary to develop great knowledge and skills in some domain. In
other words they have to become experts. Okay, all geniuses have to
be experts. However that does not mean that all experts are geniuses.
Most experts will never become geniuses and indeed most of them are not
even creative. Experts are people who have gradually accumulated vast
domain knowledge and skills and they use this vast experience to solve
problem in their domain. This makes them very different people from
geniuses and in fact almost the opposite kind of person.
algorithmic solution versus the creative solution.
general are best at solving problems on the fly. They do well under
pressure and in emergency situations. They are good and quick decision
makers, because they are not often wrong. This is very different to
creative people who are often wrong and who come to decisions over long
time periods. The type of problems that experts solve are what Teresa
Amabile calls algorithmic problems because their solutions already
exist. Indeed there may be many suitable solutions to these problems.
So experts will usually not come up with anything new and thus their
solutions are usually not creative. The expert's vast experience in a
particular field, both his knowledge and ability skills, enable him to
adapt a solution that works well in one situation to a slightly
different or very different situation. Everybody is able sometimes to
be creative and experts are no different. However, when they are
creative they too tend to fail, just like any other person but not as
"Sources of Power" Gary Klein points out that experts cope
better with large amounts of incoming information in solving problems,
making decisions or being creative. All this is despite the fact
experts already have vastly more information in their minds. Klein
explains it like this:
view of experts is that they have accumulated lots of knowledge. While
this is undoubtedly true, it conveys an image of people who's brains
are filled with facts, heavy with memories, weighed down with wisdom.
In many fields, the time needed to develop this expertise is up to ten
years. Thus, we see a relationship between expertise and age. This
reinforces the image of experts as slow-moving creatures who may talk
and think slowly because they must search through so much information.
chapter presents a different image of experts, based on the highly
skilled people we have observed, interviewed, and studied in different
domains. The accumulation of experience does not weigh people down; it
lightens them up."
should this be? Klein has his own views. He believes this knowledge
enables experts to see things that are invisible to the rest of us. For
instance they have very accurate internal models of how things work
which allows them to perceive patterns invisible to the rest of us, or
anomalies such as events that did not happen and other violations of
expectancy. This site has a slightly different take on this. We suspect
that experts use the information they have accumulated as a filter
which flushes out unimportant incoming information, so that it is
disregard, especially when tapping their unconscious mind for hunches.
Maybe both these explanations are true simultainiously.
how do people become experts? The answer is simple and straight
forward, but not one people are happy to hear. Simply put,
psychologists have estimated that a person needs to put in about 10,000
or 10 years of (practice, dedication, hard work) learning, to gain true
any cognitively complex domain. Whether this is spent playing a musical
a sport or simply becoming fully conversant with the subject matter of
some field, the need for this 10,000 hours is the same. But it is not just a matter
of practice. Sheena Iyengar explains it more fully in her book
"The Art of Choosing" as follows:
a world-class expert-level understanding of a single domain, it takes
an average 10,000 hours of practice, or about three hours a day, every
day, for ten years straight. And practice alone isn't enough. ...If you
want to improve, you must continuously observe and critically analyze
your performance: What did you do wrong? How can you do it better?"
Expertise then while
being a precondition for genius generally produces people who, while
they they use unconscious brain functions to come up with solutions as
do creative people, do so in a very different way and geniuses probably
need to be able to do both.
Some people say that
geniuses are intelligent, creative and hard working experts that get
lucky. Some of this is based on the idea that people can do fine,
meticulous even eminent work in some fields of endeavor, without ever
coming to the public's attention and being proclaimed a genius. This
may be partly true, in that there may be a few geniuses that are never
recognized by society. Now some people might tend to think that if luck
is an important factor in whether a person becomes a genius or eminent
in some field, that there is no point in making an effort, unless lady
luck taps you on the shoulder. But here's the thing, luck does not
appear to those unprepared. To some extent luck comes about because a
creative person is working hard gaining knowledge and producing
results. Its true some people who give their all never get the call
from lady luck but the person who does nothing but wait for the call
will never be called.
be greatly involved in whether a predisposition is activated or not. In
"Outliers" Malcolm Gladwell points out that truly successful
people, are usually, and maybe always, the recipients of what are
normally called lucky breaks in life. That maybe, they get a leg up in
life, an opportunity, that they do not earn nor deserve more than
others. In order to develop the level of skill they need to do great
work, they need an opportunity to develop that skill. People would
normally call this luck, but Gladwell believes it is socially
determined, and in many strange ways. It is not just long hard hours of
work that make people great, it is also having the opportunity to do
long hard hours of the right work. Many of these successful people are
of course the people who we call geniuses. If being successful
contributors to man's knowledge or art is a criteria for genius, such
people may be potentially, quite numerous. Many people, perhaps even
most people, may be born with sufficient genetic potential to become a
genius. If this is the case then clearly only a few are provided with
the kind of opportunities Gladwell is talking about.
his book Gladwell talks about the successes of people in all kinds of
circumstances in sport, in music, in business and lays out how each and
every one was given an opportunity that none of them earned or
deserved. He also mentions in passing four people, who some
might consider geniuses. These people were Bill Gates, Bill Joy, Steve
Jobs and Robert Oppenheimer. Gladwell documents the amazing
opportunities all four of these people had just drop into their laps.
Let us look at just one of these.
Bill Gates was born into a a highly educated well
to do family. But that was just the beginning of his many opportunities
in life. He is sent to Lakeside a School for the elite in Seattle. The
school starts a computer club and gets installed a time sharing
computer terminal with a direct link to a mainframe computer. This was
the latest type of computer which had just replaced the old card
readers. The first type of computer where information could be keyed in
from a keyboard. This technology had only just been invented in 1965
and here is Gates an eight grader with an opportunity to do real time
programming in 1968. But this is still just the beginning of Bill's
opportunities. Along comes C-Cubed and asks if he and his fellow club
members would like to test their software in exchange for free
programming time. ISI also allows them free computer time in exchange
for development of some payroll software. Gates just happened to live a
short walk from the University of Washington. The University just
happened to have free computer time between 3 and 6 in the morning. TWR
asks Pembroke from ISI for programming help and he recommends Gates and
Allen. Lakeside allows them to spend their spring term miles away
writing code. The result is, that when Gates finally dropped out of
Harvard to start his own business, the amount of hours he had spent
writing code was already way past 10 thousand hours. He was probably
the youngest person ever to have so much programming
nurturing environment can also be considered to be a series of
opportunities. The opportunity many geniuses clearly get is simply
being born in the right place at the right time. Freud, Babinski and
Dejerine were born in the right place at the right time and had the
right teacher to get that kind of opportunity, as were Jung and Adler.
Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo Da Vinci were born into the
renascence and also had the right teachers and patrons like the pope
and the king of France and of course the Medici family. They all had a
leg up in life. Think of all the great painters of modern art who were
either born in Paris at the beginning of the twentieth century, or were
born elsewhere but were able to go and learn in Paris at that time.
These artists too, were given a great opportunity. Think of the
opportunity presented to Mozart and Beethoven just by being born in the
time and place that they were. Would Karl Popper ever have become the
great philosopher he did without the opportunity of sparing with the
Logical Positivists? If all
these geniuses became geniuses because of these social circumstances it
is clear that it must be possible to mold geniuses out of anyone born
with sufficient capacity for talent.
about what Gladwell's words say about the likelihood of any one person
becoming a genius. If lucky opportunities, and things as mundane as
when your birthday happens to fall, can hugely effect whether you
become a genius or not, what does this say about our ability to pick
out future geniuses? Clearly any method we use to pick geniuses, such
as IQ scores, are going to act like self fulfilling
When we mark children as being clever or gifted, we are at the same
time, opening up a world of opportunity for that child. The more
successful the child continues to be the more opportunities we then
that child's disposal. We literally create the best in any field of
learning, by picking out those we think are going to be the best, and
giving them greater opportunity in that field. This is the Mathew
at work, "for whosoever
hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but
whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he
hath." In an interview called
"Why do some succeed where others fail." Gladwell points out, "If you want to know if someone
is [to be]
any good you have to let them practice for 10 years first."
"The Talent Code" Daniel Coyle delves into what it is, that
sets a person on fire with interest and determination to cause them to
commit to, and perform in their domains, for the necessary 10,000
hours. This is not just interest. It is the development of a passion.
Only developing a real passion for some work will sustain a person
working at something for that extraordinary amount of hours.
So what is it that sets people off? What sends them
into a passion for learning some skill? What hooks a person to such an
extent that they are willing to spend the time necessary to become a
genius? The answers Daniel Coyle gives should seem familiar if you have
read much of the material on this site. In his book
"The Talent Code" Daniel Coyle suggests that this is partly
something he calls ignition. This is all about motivation and as this
site has stressed this means interest. But what we are talking about
here is more than just interest is is about social dynamics and the
realization that some incredible talent may be within your grasp. "If
she can do it why can't I?"
Elsewhere on this site
we have stressed the idea that it is important to learn about the
history and circumstance of the lives of people that make great
discoveries because of the meaningfulness and connectedness it brings.
However this learning about the great people that made discoveries also
has a motivational aspect. The mystery and magic of achievements is
stripped away to leave the curiosity, determination and hard work. This
stripping away of awe can bring a realization that some so called
genius was not a god, but rather a person just like you. Part of this
is seeing great people at work up close, growing up with them trying to
copy what they are doing. Sometimes it can be aided by a social
invention such as the rise of the guild system in the renascence. The
guilds concentrated the old apprentice system making it the norm that
quite young children were placed in the care of a master who would
gradually impart his knowledge, not by explanation, but by
demonstration and eventually trusting the apprentice to have a go and
and start making mistakes.
Sometimes this realization that "I might be able to
do this," can come as an event that galvanizes a whole group of people
into a flurry of activity and determination. The soccer player from
your home town who you have seen play poorly has gradually rocketed to
international stardom. His actions determined the outcome of the soccer
championship. The guy that was ahead of you in school and was not very
good at science, has despite this made an important discovery in
science. Or somebody from a family you know well and have visited
becomes a renowned and sort after artist. What can you but think?
"Well, if they can do it there is no reason why I can't." The genius
you have seen develop, over the years and close up, is one you then
think is not beyond your own grasp.
This original, setting of a person's spirit on fire
with enthusiasm and
determination, can of course burn out quickly, and needs fuel to keep
it going. Some of the fuel comes from others doing the same thing.
Seeing others work, learning from their mistakes and achievements,
feeling their determination and enthusiasm can help keep you motivated.
Mostly however it is being able to perceive the increase in you own
competence that keeps you motivated. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who
has studied thousands of genius and near genius people gives us another
clue as to what can fuel this spiritual fire. He suggest that there is
a highly pleasurable state called flow, that if people achieve
it, will keep them motivated. This state is achieved by
challenging yourself. Always working in an area just beyond where you
are currently capable. Working in an area where mistakes are inevitable
but also correctable.
Dweck proposes that others can facilitate the fueling of this fire. It
is possible to keep people motivated she states by making them aware of
how much they are improving and praising their efforts. She believes
the best parental advice is to notice what your children are fascinated
by and praise them for their effort.
and Ryan propose that others can
facilitate the fueling of this fire in a different way. They suggest
that giving criticism and praise that is high in information will be
helpful in keeping people motivated. As Daniel
Coyle points out the best kind of information is a demonstration of how
it should be done, a demonstration of how it is being done poorly and
zeroing in on when it is done right and drawing attention, all so the
learner can remember better how it felt to do it right.
should be understood that everything in the brain is built on, and can
only be built on, what we have learned before. That is, the foundations
come first then the supports, then the walls, then the roof, and
gradually the rest of the structure is built. Piaget has endlessly
pointed out that certain concepts can only be learned after we have
learned the concepts we need to understand those concepts. Indeed, as
George Kelly points out we can only perceive the world about us in
terms of what we already know. But the thing is, we actually know far
more than the any person can make conscious. The brain takes in
information in six sensory modes. They are sight, sound, smell, taste,
feel and balance or orientation. The fact is of course, that we only
use one of these senses to communicate, that being sound. These are
special sounds we call language. True we later developed a visual
interpretation of language called writing or printing but that is just
a complication. Modern western writing is pure translation of sound and
is not pictorial. The Chinese and Japanese, who do use a graphic
alphabet, use characters that are so stylized, that unlike
hieroglyphics we could not begin to guess at what they might mean. The
point is, what if other sensory modes are used to encode thought and
our models of reality.
Codes of Thought.
Language is built on concepts, and the concepts
are made up of
information from all these other sensory modes. Jean Piaget, developed
the idea that infants begin to think i.e. form theories and then test
them in a kind of abbreviated motor code. Piaget noticed that babies
would often perform an abbreviated set of movements before actually
making a proper attempt to do something. The idea was then, that this
motor code would eventually be internalized to the point that the child
would solve problems in his head before attempting anything. There
would be no external movement but the movement would be experienced in
the child's head. Thus the child could deduce, practice and anticipate
before actual performance of an action. Jerome Brunner believed that
many of the properties of images and visual code (iconic code) arise
out of and are attributable to motor code or as it is often called
enactive code. This, of course, is entirely in keeping with the idea
that each thing learned is built on what was learned before.
This connection between actions, images and words
has been verified to some extent by the discovery of mirror neurons in
the brain. The study of mirror neurons has shown that images and words
are inextricably linked to motor plans for actions in our brains. For
instance, on observing an object, such as a cup, the same mirror
neurons become active as those involved in the action of picking up the
cup. Hearing, speaking or even thinking the word kick, will activate
the mirror neurons involved in the action of kicking something.
It would therefore follow, that the concepts
behind words would be composed of, or at least have a visual component,
which in turn would have an enactive component. This is easy to
understand in terms of objects, where say, the concept ball might have
an aggregate or composite visual image component that is derived from
the many images of balls we use for recognition. The word flower might
contain as part of its concept something like a child's drawing of a
flower. In fact flower is a fairly high level abstraction, as flowers
are many and varied in their shapes an color. Such a concept may not be
able to contain a visual element and yet it is derived from clearly
visual concepts. Other high level abstract concepts clearly do have a
visual element. Positional concepts such as between, beside, on top,
under, in front, and behind can not be invoked without some brief
visual accompaniment. If you examine fast, slow, up, down, running,
walking or shouting you will probably find that their activation will
produce a brief image of some sort.
this might lead you to believe that these three codes are tightly bound
together and do not operate independently. This is not the case. They
often operate independently, and there has to be translation between
the three codes which in ordinary humans is often grossly inaccurate.
Take for instance the idea of knowing where something is. You may be
able to describe to somebody else exactly how to get there. This is
echoic code. Or you may not be able to tell someone where to go and yet
be able to conjure a map up in your mind, which you can then draw for
the person, to enable them to get there. This is iconic code. Or you
may not be able to tell the person where to go or visualize a map that
would show them, yet you may have been there many times. In this case
the only way to help another get there would be to take them there.
This is motor or enactive code. This is especially true for a blind
person who would have no visual cues. Still, a blind person might be
better able to translate it in to words, and thus tell someone where to
fact is, that these three codes exist, and yet we tend to think in only
one of them. We tend to think in echoic code, which comprises among
other elements our native language. The other codes are there and still
operate, but we are mostly unable to make them conscious. Thus they
tend to operate behind locked doors. For more information about thought
codes click Here.
"Sparks of Genius" Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein have
begun the process of finding out exactly what needs to be nurtured in
order for people to become geniuses. They have done this by examining
thousands of people generally accredited as being geniuses through
studies conducted by others and through examining what these geniuses
have said they do in coming up with ideas. This book is based on
introspective accounts, which many empirical scientists hate, but there
is no other way to obtain this information. What they have produced is
not a manual for helping average adults become geniuses, although they
may be able to help to some extent. What they have produced is a group
of 13 tools or skills which, if children are able to keep or are
encouraged to keep, will become highly creative and perhaps become
classified as geniuses.
Unlocking the Mind.
mind can be unlocked with these thirteen genius thinking or
creating tools. With these tools you can force open the door to the
hidden part of the mind where hunches, insight and Intuition come from
and bring them under a little conscious control.
"Sparks of Genius" is not a book for quick fix self
improvement or self help. These tools are not simple tricks. To develop
the use of these tools requires a huge investment of time and energy.
To be used well, these tools must be maintained and nurtured early and
practiced throughout life, for they are highly complex and require a
great deal of time to hone into effectiveness. If in your later life
you begin to practice using these facilities you may become a bit more
creative, but you are unlikely to become a creative genius. Creative
geniuses have one thing you do not have and another thing you probably
do not have. You do not
have a lifetime of practicing and using these facilities, and you
probably do not have the intense driving force that obsesses creative
geniuses in their thirst for knowledge and creativity.
The 13 Tools of Geniuses.
beauty of these tools is that we all start off being able to use
most of them a little as infants. These tools develop naturally in all
children, but as we get older most of us tend to lose them. These tools
are not specific
information to be learned, but rather processes of learning. If we are
to retain them, improve them, refine them, we need to continue to
familiarize ourselves with them as we age. We need to practice them,
exercise them, utilize them, cultivate them. The problem is, that with
the advent and growth of language, the need for developing the use of
many of these other processes may seem unnecessary, and thus, they tend
to be used less and less as language is used more and more. Of course,
what we do not use we start to lose. These tools are not essential to
creativity, but they greatly improve the chances of being creative on a
continuing basis, and having at least some of these abilities, seems to
be a requirement of genius.
Observing is not seeing. To see we need only keep our eyes open. It is
not looking, for to look, we need something to look for. Observing is
examining in detail, taking note of every bit of information. It is
taking the time to stop and really examine with our eyes, ears, noses,
taste buds and skin. Geniuses are constantly observing in this way, and
they use every one of their senses in doing this, not just sight.
Just as we can make sound appear in thought form in our minds all the
other senses can be made manifest in thought form as well. Indeed as
Piaget, Brunner and others have suggested these other forms of
thought were probably used by young children before they learned
language fully. Geniuses usually manifest thought in at least one of
these other modes of thought especially iconic code or visualization,
sometimes they can manifest many of these modes of thought.
Abstracting is the simplification of some object or concept by
portraying it as a single element or aspect of itself. We take some
aspect and highlight it and make it noticeable while the rest is pared
away. We bring the element into the foreground where before it was
hidden, lost in the complexity and allow it to hold or contain most of
the meaning of the whole complex object or concept. We bring out what
is essential and delete what is inessential or unnecessary. Geniuses
can usually extract this essentiality of an idea at will.
Patterns are all around us hidden in objects,
actions and processes. Being able to find these patterns, see how they
continue, see the flaws in them, is a prerequisite for creation. People
of genius find these patterns everywhere. The finding of these patterns
by geniuses is an exercise for the mind, a training of a facility that
they can later use to recognize some important pattern that is the
basis for some great discovery. Without this ability these patterns
will go unnoticed as others will be blind to them.
Patterns. Forming patterns is an
outgrowth of recognizing patterns. Children and creative people
(especially geniuses) as they become familiar with patterns and
perceive them everywhere around, become able to construct patterns
themselves with or without external input. Creative art or science is
always built on what has gone before. A new pattern is just an old
pattern transformed. An old pattern can be reversed, compressed, turned
upside down, turned inside out, added to, layered on top of, or
interspersed with another pattern. Some people can see these
possibilities in everything around them. Geniuses are spectacularly
good at this.
Analogizing can be an inference that if two or more things agree with
one another in some respects, they will probably agree in others. When
we draw an analogy, we evoke some similarity or agreement between one
concept and another, which obliges us to investigate if those concepts
are similar or agree in other ways. In this way we may use the natural
properties of one concept to improve the properties of another.
Analogies often take the utility in one concept and transfer it to
another field, context, state, that is completely unalike or
unconnected in any way. Geniuses are adept at seeing and forming
analogies which they use in generating ideas and being creative.
Thinking. Body thinking is the
manifesting of enactive code, which can be called kinesthetic,
positional and tactile imaging. Just as we can create sound images and
visual images in our minds we can also create very specific images
involving the feel of our muscles moving, the touch on our skin and the
sensations of position and balance. Certain kinds of geniuses are very
adept at using this facility especially dancers, choreographers and
even sports coaches.
Empathizing is the ability or facility to put yourself into the mind
and body of another being. It is to think as they would think, feel as
they would feel, move as they would move, react to situations they way
they would react to situations. For great actors this is the facility
than enables the most
truthful and remarkable performances that are the high
points of their craft. Geniuses are often able to tap into this
facility to produce amazing feats in the fields of acting, directing,
psychology, sociology, archeology and even zoology, ecology and
Thinking. Dimensional thinking is the
facility that enables people to hold in their minds a shape in three or
more dimensions. It is the ability to imagine the top, bottom, sides,
front and back of something simultaneously. It is the ability to
imagine something opened up, unfolded or sliced through. It is the
ability to imagine something distorted by pressures of stretching,
squashing and twisting or morphing into something else. It is an
awareness of how things will change and how they will look when
changed. It is the ability to understand how elements within an object
or concept may interact with each other. Geniuses are often adept in
using this facility in the worlds of science, invention and various
kinds of three dimensional creativity such as sculpture.
Modeling. Modeling is very much like
dimensional thinking except it is done in the real world instead of in
the mind. Models are used in all kinds of design work and in order to
understand the workings of things that are not accessible in actuality.
It is the ability to be able to try out something on a small scale
before trying it on a large scale, or the ability to construct
something on a large scale in order to understand that something on a
small scale. Geniuses are often builders of models especially
scientists, inventors and engineers.
Playing. Playing is the simplest of
these facilities. It is something that all children do naturally. It is
fooling around, bringing together of elements
that have no connection in a totally random manner. This random
connectivity is the outward manifesting of a process that scientists
believe to be going on while we are asleep especially in our dreams. It
is the fooling around with things in a manner undirected even by
ourselves. Geniuses often fool around with things for the sheer joy of
it, and the fact that this often helps them in generating ideas and
being creative seems to be hardly a factor in their doing it.
Transforming is the ability
to take an experience in one sensory mode, and by translation
re-experience it in another sensory mode. It is about something learned
in one subject being able to illuminate something in another subject.
It is finding application for art in mathematics or mathematics in
music. Transforming is the facility that enables geniuses to navigate
among the various facilities outlined above. It is to be able to take
some insight or experience provided by one of the above facilities, and
translate it into an insight or experience provided by one of the other
facilities. Not all geniuses are highly adept at this, but almost all
of them seem to manage some kind of transformation in accomplishing
their greatest work.
understanding is only possible through a simultaneous synthesis of
various different modes of experience and insight. Thinking, as the Root-Bernsteins put
it, "...involves or should involve a synergistic interaction
between all our all our sensations and abstract knowledge."
Only some of us do this really well and they are the geniuses of the
world. For this synthesis of knowing and understanding the Root-Bernsteins created an
new word 'synosia'. They say, "Synosia is the natural and
necessary result of imaging, analogizing, modeling, playing and
transforming". There is a psychological or medical condition
known as synesthesia,
where sensation experienced in one sensory mode are overlaid by
experience in another sensory mode. This experience, it is believed,
occurs in about half of all young children and about 5-15 percent of
the world's adults. While it can have very curious disadvantages for
average adults, it could be and is, entirely beneficial for would be
geniuses in increasing their synthesizing ability. While few geniuses
are simultaneously able to use the other tools presented above,
consider how much superior they might have been if they could have.
tools do not make a genius.
None of these 13 tools will make
you a genius. Many ordinary people are able to use many of these
facilities and do so without becoming geniuses, and without even being
creative. Many people are playful to varying degrees without getting
hints and ideas for creativity or discovery. Many people are obsessive
observers concerned with fine detail without being creative or doing
anything important. Synesthesia is, as mentioned above, is a medical
condition that some people make use of creatively, but for many others
it is simply an anomaly that makes them freakishly different to their
fellow humans. The above thirteen tools, if used in an effort to be
creative, simply provide a greater likelihood that the resulting work
will be, of such
significance to humanity, that we are likely to term the person who
created or uncovered it a genius. Also these 13 tools are no substitute
for the long hours of practice needed to develop the skills that are
essential in whatever domain one is to be judged a genius in.
Can we make a genius?
the thing, while it seems likely that a certain degree of
potential may be required in order to produce a genius, it simply not
certain that this is so. Likewise, while a certain minimum level of IQ
may be required to produce a genius, this too is uncertain. On the
other hand, genius may be merely a series of lucky accidents, or the
living in an environment comprised of other geniuses. However, what is
known for sure, is that human beings can, if they so wish, be
instrumental in facilitating the production of more geniuses, not the
least by making sure that the 13 tools or gifts we nearly all have at
birth are not lost. While it may seem unlikely that we all have the
potential to become geniuses, the studies done so far on geniuses seem
to indicate that given the right environment and the child's desire to
achieve it, genius may be within reach of most of the healthy people on
to reestablish when lost.
The above 13 tools are
abilities, qualities, and facilities we are born with potentially.
Added to this most of the early in which human children find themselves
are conducive to beginning the development of these tools.
Unfortunately later environments that involve the development of
language, especially when school begins are not so conducive.
Unsurprisingly then, most of us lose those abilities over time. Once
lost they are difficult to reestablish. Ideally we should never lose
them. Ideally we should all be encouraged and nurtured from the
beginning to retain and develop them. However, if we have lost them we
should do our best to reestablish them. If you have lost the ability to
be creative or you wish to be more creative, your best chance is to
look at the information presented in the section on creativity. If,
however, you wish to really try to regain some of the insightfulness of
childhood then perhaps you could try to redevelop one of these 13 tools
such as the use of analogy. This site holds, that if these tools are to
be reclaimed even a little, it would be best to try and perfect them in
accordance with your own personal preferences, in order to have greater
chance of succeeding.
has been talked about here though, has much more important
implications than helping you to become more creative or more like a
genius. This site holds that we have an obligation to our children, not
to deter them from using these facilities, but to rather encourage them
in their pursuit of genius. This site holds that we have an obligation
to encourage the development of these facilities and any other skills
they might need. It is, in the best interest of humanity, that children
be able to reach their full potential and continue to develop these
abilities into adulthood. Thus, it is in all our best interests, to
encourage children in the retention and development of the 13 above
tools of geniuses. In this way we may produce a society of great works
in art, science and thought in general, and perhaps even a society of
geniuses. If we do this, then perhaps we will become worthy of the
survival of our species, and have forged the abilities needed to avert
the many perils that await us in the future.
are our own worst enemy.
In the end there is a choice
human societies will have to make. They will have to decide whether to
encourage their people to mostly become geniuses or not. Unfortunately
there is a sad fallibility in humans that often prevents them from
being able to learn in an optimal manner and which may also prevent
them from ever achieving a society where almost every person is a
genius. It is an indictment of human perverseness that we may wish to
keep most of our children relatively stupid. We may wish to do this
because the idea that, almost everybody is a potential genius, may be
bitter a pill to swallow.
is it a bitter pill? Well it would mean that if we had worked hard, if
we had persisted, if we had been truly interested in something, if we
had developed a passion for something, if we had really really strived
to be the very best we could at something, well then, we might have
become eminent in some field, we might have become a genius. Such a
thing is too terrible for most of us to contemplate. We would have to
admit that our life, poor, dull, boring and painful that it was, might
instead have been wonderful, filled with greatness and marvelous
achievement. How many of us could stand the idea that our pointless
life was mostly our own fault, because we were lazy and had no faith in
our ability to learn? We would have to admit that our opportunities
were not missed, but rather simply thrown away. We would have to admit
that we used genetics as an excuse for how poorly our life turned out.
How many of us have said, "I didn't do well in life because I got a
lousy set of genes"? Just as easily we might also have said, "I didn't
do well in life because I never got the opportunity I needed, or
because I was brought up in a poor non stimulating environment." Both
nature and nurture can be used as excuses that can prevent us from
accepting the possibility that we threw our life away. Thus we may be
selfishly condemning our children to the same fate rather than lifting
them up to become better than us.
we should not feel this way. Why? Because we did not know we had this
potential. When most of us were growing up, nobody even suspected that
genius was a common potential in most of us. So its not our fault that
we did not succeed. However, it will be our fault, if we do not make an
effort to see that our children reach their potential