The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Genius is a frustrating thing

You know, it can be frustrating to deal with that odd human capacity called genius.  We all have glimpses of it from time to time, and most of us know people who seem to live in that space--they take seven-league-boot leaps where most of us trot along, and perhaps, get there eventually. They can be erratic, unpredictable, forgetful...that's just the way it is.  Those of you who've followed my writings for a while know that I think most human beings have the same approximate amount of "stuff" in their system.  Some folks just lump all that "stuff" or "potential" into one corner or another, and it makes a cracking big lump, very impressive.  Wow!  (we say) that person sure is isn't until we look at the rest of their lives that it becomes obvious that they have simply put everything they have into one "corner", and neglected the rest.  Still, we try to work with the substance we were given, and make something graceful out of it.  In general, there are only a few approaches to the "genius" personality that I have seen.
1)  first (and most rare) is the person who simply seems to have "more" of this precious quality.  They are healthy and happy, and just extraordinary in all basic aspects.  This is rare, rare, rare.
2) Second, people who are healthy and happy, and extraordinary in some single aspect.  For instance, a superb athlete of normal intelligence and a perfectly fine family life.  Or a superb mathmetician with normal fitness and a fine family life.
3) Third (and most common) is the person who is superb in one arena, and below average in one of the other two.  The successful businessman working on his fourth marriage, of average fitness, for instance.
4) Fourth (and most notorious) is the person superb in one arena, and a nightmare in others.  The phenomenal artist who is an alcoholic womanizer is a perfect cultural myth.  It is this image that makes many, many artists afraid that if they became "healthy" they would lose their creativity.  This is the ego pretending it is you. 
5)Fifth, and that which society desires to create, is the average person who, through proper education and social example, can be crafted into a maximal expression of self--a moral, intelligent, hard-working, healthy member of the social order.  While "genius" in the other forms can't be predicted, this last state has been theorized about and promoted for thousands of years.
What YOU need to do to unleash whatever potential exists within you is to begin on the bedrock of your true identity--not your ego shell.  This is where the value of meditation comes in, to sweep away the illusions, to sink your foundations deep, so that your castle can rise high.
Personally, since I broke through to this next, higher level in my career I've discovered another ocean of doubt and darkness, stuff that it will take months to process.  I find it a joy.  This is the life I've waited for all my days.  I just wanted to see if I could play at this level.  Now I'll find out.  If I can't, well, no harm no foul--I've had a wonderful time regardless.  But it will be hard, and challenging, and fearful, and joyous.  I just need to get into deeper, truer touch with that genius spark within me, and fan it to the fullest flame I can, and then encourage it to grow in balance.
And then see how much light I can produce.


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