The genius is the inspiration – often the unknowing inspiration that sparks something inside of the creator/thinker. It is an external trigger that inspires us to act.
There was an old episode of Doctor Who on TV. I wasn’t really paying attention so didn’t know what was happening but I could tell the universe was about to explode and the Doctor didn’t know how to stop it. Then Rose (his assistant) said something to him. He thought for a moment and then declared, ‘Rose, you’re a genius!’ and then proceeded to save the universe. He had called her a genius because she had triggered something that enabled him to work out what he needed to do. She didn’t know what she had done. She wouldn’t have been able to save the universe, but because she had said what she did, the Doctor was able to mentally piece together what was required for him to save the day, and thus did it.
Elizabeth Gilbert, in her famous TED talk, speaks of different ways genius has been described throughout history, not as something rare people are, but as something that we all have. Like a spirit, she suggests that, because it is such an unknown and surprising thing, inspiration comes to us when we don’t expect it, in ways we don’t anticipate, but we have to be ready to capture it before it wanders off.
This idea is similar to that of seeing genius as other people, things or activities who and which bring us to life, and pull out of us something extraordinary. Allowing these things to mix with our minds and come out the other end as something new and beautiful (solutions, art, theory etc). It can’t be controlled, but we can tune into it so that we stand a better chance of capturing it.
We don’t live in isolated, individual vacuums no matter how hard we try to. We are a part of an elaborate community and system of life, we all come from the same thing and are atomically all one. There is no such thing as ‘individualism’ in any meaningful sense. We are everything and everything is us.
The genius is all around us. It is vying for our attention. But then so are a lot of things, a lot of crap. And it is much easier to listen to the crap that tells us to keep on watching TV, shopping and drinking, rather than harness the external force of our genius.
The idea of genius has been used to tell us that we are no good. It has been manipulated so that we believe that few PEOPLE are genius’ and that most of us are just ‘normal’. We just watch these people being clever and creative on TV and read about them in books as we carry on with our mundane everyday activities, believing that we are not special like them.
We need to recognise that no person has ever harnessed the genius all of the time, and that every great person has led a life filled with failed attempts, bumbled sentences and a hell of a lot of effort. Great people are passionate people and they often win the internal struggle against the voice that tells them to just fit in.
Unless we forget the idea that genius is something we are rather than something we can all have, we will continue to seek safety and mediocrity. When we realise that genius is all around us, that we just need to look up, open our senses and start to capture it, we will really be able to breathe the oxygen of life.
So I’m not a genius?
Well we can actually be genius’, but not to our own ends and not necessarily knowingly. I can be your genius and you can be my genius, but only insomuch as I can help spark the links in your brain. We all carry around a genius receptor and all have the potential to harness external genius because we are all highly creative. There are no creatives and non-creatives, only humans, which by nature are unequivocally creative.
To capture the genius you have got to work, it is an action, and wont stick around for passive observers. It is no good to say you had an idea if you’re not going to act on it. That is wasted genius. We have a choice between living a life of genius and living a life of consumption. When we live in light of the genius we see the world and our heart is full of love; when we live in light of consumption we feel like our heart is empty and needs to be filled by a never ending supply of stuff that we are told we need. You can’t consume the genius, you can give it life or you can let it slip by. The only choice you have is to choose to let the genius choose you by choosing to harness it – this takes work and will mean saying no to the voice inside your head telling you to keep watching TV.
Do you give space for the genius to connect with you? What is stopping you from re-connecting to your creative spirit? Cut it out for a few days.