Episode 105: Alternative Genius

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
— Ernst F. Schumacher
Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
— Albert Einstein
The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that
without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.
— Pearl S. Buck

Because intellectual capability is often a marker of individual value and aptitude, the title of "genius" is a highly complimentary term. But in what ways do we label others and their work as genius only to gloss over nuance and complexity as a result? Are there ways in which each of us possess genius but deny ourselves that pride in the face of more overt and compelling examples? This week we welcome Sam Graf to discuss the idea of alternative genius and it what ways in might expand our conventional definitions of genius. Are there moral components to demonstrating one's genius? Does the genius have an obligation to share their gifts and talents with their society?

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