There’s more to human life than our theories of it allow. Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path. Something like a signal, a fascination or an urge out of nowhere, a peculiar turn of events strikes like an annunciation. This is the message I am getting, this is what I must do, this is what I’ve got to have. This is who I AM.
Believe it or not, we have been robbed of our true nature – that path written into the genius – and we go to therapy to recover it. We need instruction in the art of seeing. There’s in each of us a longing to see beyond what our usual sight tells us. A desire leading us to astrologers who study the movement of the stars. How planetary transits parading through zodiacal houses affect our day, and dream interpretation that opens the door of our perception. Therapies so degrading to inspiration deserves the derision I am giving it. Theories that kill the spirit, by robbing extraordinary persons and acts of their sui generis authenticity. For, as almost every extraordinary life shows, there’s a vision, an ideal that calls. To what precisely actually it calls usually stays vague if not altogether unknown.
Just to pinpoint, no person is a genius or can be a genius, because the genius or angel is an invisible nonhuman companion, not the person with whom the genius lives.
Written for ICEINI blog, in light observance and celebration of the birth of Alicja Joy Adeyemo 26/02/2010
A VISION OF GENIUS
The tale of the genius often reveals a tug of war between a stubborn fidelity to forge new paths and a desire to be boxed in. Especially important is the subject of school.
Schooling only reinforces her perceptual cues with the possibilities lurking in the recess of her mental framework. She will be present at school provided its walls and ceilings exist only to be shattered. She feels reduced by having to wear a school uniform. Even when she wears a school uniform due to a compromising reasonableness, she wants to tear the label and design her own.
Why should she wear a school uniform when she himself is the school?
Her life is to be studied not only as a subject but a whole gestalt complete with the understanding of how entire human faculties [brain] work to map new discoveries.
I don’t develop. I am. – Pablo Picasso
We dull our lives by the way we conceive them. We have stopped imagining them with any sort of romance, any fictional flair.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
All of a sudden and out of nowhere a child shows who she is, what he must do. The real mark of character begins to appear when this humdrum miracle referred to as expect the unexpected happens.
Impulsions of the child’s character are stifled by dysfunctional perceptions and unresponsive surroundings, so that calling appears in the myriad symptoms of difficult, self destructive, accident-prone, “hyper” children. Vices inflicted on the child as sickness or at worst, debasement of the angel seed to prison narrative – all words and ploy invented by adults in defense of their misunderstanding.
Callings reveal how the genius breaks suddenly into a life, and the disguises and tortuous concealments the angel adopts. Matters of the utmost urgency disguised as child’s play, accident, or research: Things the carrier of the seed must do at all cost. Things they do not understand and somehow they feel it’s their business. A matter personal to them, or rather to some future self of their own. They feel it when a veil has been lifted and their destiny revealed – the call of fate. The unveiling often reveal a distinction between the ability of the child and the needs of the genius.
Let’s quickly explore snippet from the life of Three notable geniuses, in search of their character and calling. Shall we?
First, the pioneering geneticist Barbara McClintock, the one who received a Nobel Prize for her research, which required the solitary thinking and handwork in the lab that gave her the deepest pleasure; second, the renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who reacted in disgust after being presented with an instrument presumably meant for his level.
1. Hardworking McClintock
Barbara reports that at the age of five I asked for a set of tools. [My father] did not get me the tools that you get for an adult; he got tools that would fit into my hands…they were not the tools I wanted. I wanted real tools, not tools for children.
Because the genius is not bound by age, by size, or by education or training, we can readily observe a recurring theme that each child is too big for its britches and has eyes bigger than its stomach. They will be accused of childish omnipotence fantasies, asking for instruments they cannot handle.
2. Melodious Menuhin Yehudi
Menuhin also wanted what his hands could not hold. Before Yehudi was four he frequently heard the concertmaster Louis Persinger break into a solo passage as little Yehudi sat with his parents up in the gallery of the Curran Theatre. “During one such performance I asked my parents if I might have a violin for my fourth birthday and Louis Persinger to teach me to play it.” His wish was granted, it seems, when he was given by a family friend a toy violin made of metal with metal strings. “I burst into sobs, threw it on the ground and would have nothing more to do with it.”
His genius threw the fit, demanding the real thing, for playing the violin is not playing with a toy. The genius does not want to be treated as a child, it is not a child, and not an inner child either – in fact, it may be intensely intolerant of this mixture, this incarceration inside the body of an unaccomplished child, this identification of its complete vision with an incomplete human being. Rebellious intolerance is a primary characteristics of genius behaviour.
Barbara’s hand could not heft a heavy hammer, nor could Yehudi’s arms extend and fingers articulate enough for a full-sized violin, but the vision was full sized to match the music in his mind. He had to have what he wanted because “He did know, instinctively, that to play was to be.”
THE BAD SEED
Crooks and criminals, sadistic guards and social rapists – all the creatures large and small of the underworld – did they also descend from the call of fate? Can they also be written into the lap of the genius/ angel? How could a cold-hearted and wicked character be given the seed? Can the genius harbor a bad seed? Or perhaps the criminal psychopath has no soul at all?
In response to these questions, let’s take a look at that figure who was the ultimate criminal psychopathic murderer of modern times, if not of all times: Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945)
Throughout modern civilization, we’ve noticed that faceless corporate boards and political administrators have made decisions that wreck havoc on communities, ruin families, and despoil nature. This is not to be confused with one who carries the bad seed. The successful psychopath who pleases the crowd and wins elections.
Hitler is old-style and can divert us from seeing through the mask worn by the demonic today, and tomorrow. The demonic that is timeless who enters the world disguised in contemporary fashion, dressed to kill.
3. Humorless Hitler
Freaks, costumes, theatre, pageant – but not comedy. “Hitler had no humor,” said Albert Speer, his architect and armaments minister.
A secretary who worked daily with him said, “I must say I never heard him laugh heartily,” and a companion of his youth said that “he was totally lacking in a spirit of self-irony… He could not… pass over something with a smile.” Among soldiers on the front, “he never laughed or joked.” He had a horror of being laughed at, he told no suggestive jokes and forbade them in his presence.
Near the end, in Hitler’s last speech to his district commanders, he said, “Come what may, my heart remains ice cold.”
The psychological trait that goes with the iced heart is rigidity, an incapacity to yield, to flow, to let go.
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