Genius... what does it mean?

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Old 05 May 2005   #1
Genius... what does it mean?

Its funny, I often think that the word genius is silly. What does it really mean? I sometimes think that it is just a way to sell stuff.

But then again, sometimes I experience something that someone has done and I think "Genius!".

One example is the painter Inka Essenhigh. I think she is just about the best painter that there is. She is fantastically creative. Here is her Website

The thing is, there are probably people who just don't get her work, so maybe it is subjective.

Is it a word that we should bother using at all?

Last edited by John Keates : 05 May 2005 at 08:11 PM. Reason: Add link
 
Old 05 May 2005   #2
Hmmm,
I wish I could give a good answer - but i use it in a wide range of inconsistencies, too.
It's kind of like the word funny.

"That's funny."
"I feel funny."
"You smell funny."

by the way - I personally don't feel you smell funny at all.
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Last edited by stepington : 05 May 2005 at 08:48 PM. Reason: added "by the way"
 
Old 05 May 2005   #3
Paul Klee said that "genius is the exception to the rule".

I think geniuses find their own paths. These paths are usually visionary - paths unseen to the rest of us - until they are illuminated by power of genius.

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Last edited by gordonm : 05 May 2005 at 05:15 AM.
 
Old 05 May 2005   #4
There's a quote that goes something like,

"Talent is finding it easy while others find it hard. Genius is finding it easy while the talented find it hard."
 
Old 05 May 2005   #5
We are not linguists to redefine the word 'genius'. m-w lists the word as:
b : extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity c : a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority; especially : a person with a very high intelligence quotient


However, if the question is about the meaning of the artistry genius, I think we have a discussion. In this regard, I don't see it as a vague notion. The work speaks of itself. No one would want to make a fool of himself to deny the genius of Darwin, Da Vinci, Freud, Einstein, Sheakspeare, Marx, Nietzsche, Beethoven, Le Corbusier, Rumi, Newton, Hammurabi, etc..

What is common among those is that their work became part of human most grandiose achievements.
 
Old 05 May 2005   #6
Originally Posted by ashakarc: What is common among those is that their work became part of human most grandiose achievements.


My take on this : The word genious is derived from genus, a latin word meaning species. If someone has such a profound understanding of the human existentially, his works live on throughout generations in one way or the other, they are "transcendental" and timeless and so on. I think then genious is a profound philosophical understanding for your peers , your fellow creatures and nature. , allthough I think in this context not purely empathic but on an intellectual level, so much as bordering on completely intuitive understanding. But probably most geniuses would have preached peace, since they would have had to love their environment to study it or take time for it.

But I dno't understand the question posed in this threda completely I think. Are you commenting on the works by that painter or the word genius?
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Old 05 May 2005   #7
Genius is just a word. When you ask people who is the greatest genius that ever lived, they will mostly likely answer you: Albert Einstein. But in reality Einstein was autistic. He wasn't very good at school, but had great interest in mathematics and physhics. His autistic brain gave him an insane amount of concentration and his job as a patent office clerk gave him a lot of free time on his hands. It's a combination of these and other factors that lead him to develop his theories. But no disrespect to Einstein. There's no denying the brilliance of his theories. But he was just the first one to come to this conclusion. There were loads of other physicsists working in this field at the time. And we don't even know for sure if his theories are correct.

So I say 'genius' is just a word to compliment or express admirance for someone. There are no real rules about who can be called a genius. There's not a minimum IQ for a genius.

One thing I do notice about people who are generally referred to as 'genius', is that they're all trying to discover why things are the way they are. But I guess we all do that at some level.
 
Old 05 May 2005   #8
I might be wrong, but I think that the question was whether an artist can be called a genius or not. I f so, then yes. An example is Michaelangelo, he has painted his first painting as the sestine chapel(my brother told, it might be untrue); also, his first popular sculpture was the Pieta, which was finished when he just came into his twenties...

A genius artist is an artist who's capable to adapt to any medium, due to the conception that he/she express or translate into the medium flawlessly(a comprehensible vision, with the same quality as the pother medium). and for a kicker, they can translate into the different medium without experience...
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Old 05 May 2005   #9
Originally Posted by voodoofactory: Genius is just a word. When you ask people who is the greatest genius that ever lived, they will mostly likely answer you: Albert Einstein. But in reality Einstein was autistic. He wasn't very good at school, but had great interest in mathematics and physhics. His autistic brain gave him an insane amount of concentration and his job as a patent office clerk gave him a lot of free time on his hands. It's a combination of these and other factors that lead him to develop his theories. But no disrespect to Einstein. There's no denying the brilliance of his theories. But he was just the first one to come to this conclusion. There were loads of other physicsists working in this field at the time. And we don't even know for sure if his theories are correct.

So I say 'genius' is just a word to compliment or express admirance for someone. There are no real rules about who can be called a genius. There's not a minimum IQ for a genius.

One thing I do notice about people who are generally referred to as 'genius', is that they're all trying to discover why things are the way they are. But I guess we all do that at some level.


I disagree with the first 75% of ur comment. due to the fact that Einstein was a genius regardless of what his mind allowed him to do. It's what he did to the society of physics and mathematics that is genius...

his capability to calculate, translate, and communicate the ideas he had was pure genius.
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Old 05 May 2005   #10
In reference to IQ there is an excellent book titled: 'The Mismeasure of Man' by Stephen J. Gould. It is an excellent book well worth the read.
 
Old 05 May 2005   #11
By definition...

gen·ius
n.
1. a. Anyone capable of doing work significantly better than what I can do.
b. The work that is significantly better than what I can do.

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Old 05 May 2005   #12
Originally Posted by Rich Suchy: By definition...

gen·ius
n.
1. a. Anyone capable of doing work significantly better than what I can do.
b. The work that is significantly better than what I can do.



c. work of any such complexity that it's incomprehensible to any individual, or for lack of words open to interpretation by anyone.

This could be a funny list I tell you...


Oohw, another one

1. d. An abstract term for the manifestation of an arbitrary number of genetic disorders resulting in abnormal behavior.
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Last edited by jmBoekestein : 05 May 2005 at 04:00 PM.
 
Old 05 May 2005   #13
The other day my partner and I came in from the rain. Upon entering the house she said - is there any coffee made?
I then thought to myself:



"She's a genius."
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Old 05 May 2005   #14
I think genius is a title bestowed upon someone by others...when someone is so far ahead of the curve in something, others call them a genius. This also means that it's all relative (to misquote a genius). But obviously there are a few that are undisputed by most anyone.

I like the Arthur Schopenhauer quote best:

"
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see."
 
Old 05 May 2005   #15
Genius is one of those things that only history can convey.

I would argue that true works of genius are those that become the foundations for inspiration for generations to come. E.g., Darwin's theory of evolution allowed people to understand life, behavior, and nature in a whole new way. Leonardo et. al developed art based on anatomical study.

Another aspect of genius that happens fairly often is that their work seems obvious once established, but took a lot of grueling work to make it come from nowhere.
 
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