The following is extracted from a journal kept while undergoing psychotherapy as a result of an auto accident in which I sustained spinal injuries and the result of denial of medical benefits by my own insurance company.
Since I'm up and musing, tonight a minor discourse on genius. I'm just talking to myself, so I might as well write it. A lady named Joyce (sounds like the beginning of a Limmerick) was actually slightly annoyed and incredulous when she finally figured out that I found myself interesting, most especially of my own observation. Fuck you very much Joyce. A quick check (there is about half a page devoted to the word, in little bitty print - which I can actually pretty much read) of the OED shows that contrary to my untutored opinion, the word actually comes directly from Latin 'genius' through the Greek gamma-iota-gamma-nu-alpha-sigma-omicron-alpha-iota verb to be born. I had always thought that it originated in the Arabic 'djinn' or so phoneticised. I'm NOT going to write an Arabic font for this dinky printer. Who does it think it is any way. It seems that the Arabic got into the act with the translation of the Arabian Nights where the word 'genius' got adopted for the translation of the Arabic word because it sounded somewhat like djinn and meant something similar in Latin. Hence the word 'genie' for the being of those tales. The real meaning in Latin had a definite spiritual meaning, a tutelary spirit attached to a man or a place or institution. Hence, the syntactico-semantical expressions in English. OED traces usage back to 1400. Our meaning seems to have come from the Latin through French and German, 'genie' in both languages where the concepts of flair, spirit and creativity are attached to the word. Now, in USA, it apparently means to most people some rarefied slot belonging to the Idiot Quotient tests, of the B'nai Brith or something. What a dreary lot the human race is becoming. To think, people are actually judged by these idiotic numbers. The purpose of genius is now to score high on IQ tests! So much for tutelary spirit and creativity. Who needs creativity when we have IQ tests? Something has gone haywire with science, but that's for another night if I remember - a very long night. Taking as axiomatic that IQ tests measure very well the ability to score well on IQ tests, and that that's about all they measure, the question remains, what is genius? It's clearly something so scary that the modern statist mentality can't even deal with the word. The word itself has to be transmuted into some pabulum that can be swallowed so quickly the taste can be ignored. Score one: we have one nonpabulumatic adjective 'scary'. From the original Latin, owing to the Greek, it involves a genuine creative male spirit. Why only male, I wonder? It was surface obvious that women are the ones that give birth, not men. A little jealousy, or a kind of complementation. The female generative spirit is always recognized to be somehow "of the earth". Attached to plant life and agriculture. It is always "mother earth", Gaia, Erda, Isis, Ishtar, ..., all feminine. The difference? The physical creators are female, the spiritual creators are male. More? Not now. So then, genius is a 'scary male generative spirit'. Not bad so far. Why is a male generative spirit scary while a female generative spirit is not? You can see the results and action in female generation; in the male it cannot be seen, controlled, harnessed, coerced or forbidden. No wonder it's scary. So if it's so scary, who needs it? It would be wonderful. No war, no bombs, no guns, no warships, no rockets, no bows and arrows, no game food, no tools, no architecture, no music, no art, no mathematics, no chemistry, no science, no writing, no books, no knowledge. Well, nobody's perfect. I guess life is really a crapshoot. So it wouldn't be too good an idea to eliminate it. Maybe somehow we could make it conform and not be so scary. May be we get to know it through all sorts of tests so we can control it just like our federal daddy controls the economy? Oops. Well, maybe not. Maybe, and this maybe looks not bad, maybe if it weren't hated and resented so much there wouldn't be a problem. Life has no guarantees, but maybe. The wonderful contradictions about genius: Resented by people that don't have it, because they don't have it. Would they really like to be on the other side of the fence, knowing that there are people like them? Where genius flowers so does everyone, and it is like a delicate flower that be crushed all too easily. If nurtured early it can grow as strong and immutable as a mountain. Something that cannot be silenced - Beethoven? It cannot cataloged, tested, probed. There was only one Mozart, one Gauss, one Einstein, and there will never be another. Genius is unique, a delicate accident. Upon a mere sequence of minor accidents depends the existence of a civilization, and I use the word humorously, distinct from our mute, naked, unwashed and unhoused ancestors of maybe one thousand centuries ago. Genetically we haven't changed much. We are still identical in 99% of DNA to chimpanzees. A sobering thought when I get a little to cocky.
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