Friday, 8 May 2009


In our household, a genius is someone who agrees with you! Other people say it is someone who is really clever/talented/has a high IQ.

It seems that the word did not always have this meaning. A video on Utube (which will not download here) is worth seeing. Do this by clicking on the link here. The subject is to do with nature of creativity and is 18 minutes long. The speaker is a writer and speaks well (even if she takes a little bit of time to get to her point).

No time? No sound facility? I will try to outline her talk. Where do our creative ideas come from? From within? Or without? She gives examples of how some writers, when they get an idea (or, I feel, it could be a musician who has a tune come into his head) describe the experience in terms of being visited by and therefore, coming from, their geni i.e. something outside, e.g. a guardian spirit or a daimon.

This notion of genius harks back to the Romans' and Greeks' concepts of inspiration and divine possession. She gives some examples of writers who are in the middle of something e.g. driving on the freeway, when an idea comes to them. They are not ready and lest it go by, they decided to try and deal with it by treating the 'inspiration' as a geni, saying "Look, will you go away for a minute until I have a chance to get a paper and pencil." I guess this would be called externalizing the ideas; she gives several humorous examples!

Finally, when inspiration is not forthcoming and the geni seems to be away, the writer finds the bottom line is "keep turning up". At least then you can say to your geni "Well, I kept my part of the bargain. Where were you?"!!
Photos: Wikipedia

1 comment:

Vagabonde said...

I am behind reading your posts. I tried listening on Utube to Ms Gilbert’s talk, but she is too long winded for me. My daughter Celine is reading her book, and I’ll ask her what she thinks of it. But as for having your “geni” talk to you, I think that happens to many “regular” people too, like having to make a speech at the next staff meeting, and while driving one gets this sudden inspiration to use a special analogy to get the point across. Don’t you think that this is the same type of thing? It’s a form of inspiration too.