Is genius an attribute or a ‘circumstance’?

header
Albert Einstein. Image credit: F. Schmutzer
[T]he notion of genius as a capability a person can possess has come under attack recently in several ways. Megan Garber, writing in The Atlantic, criticized the excuses of bad behavior that so-called geniuses—specifically men—enjoy.

Yuval Sharon, artistic director of The Industry in Los Angeles, whose experimental operas have won widespread acclaim, shared his anxiety about winning a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship, notoriously called the “Genius Grant.” In an essay titled “Genius as Circumstance” in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Sharon writes, “Moments, ideas, a single poem in a collection—a work of genius, no matter how individually wrought—is never the product of a single individual. We should stop thinking of genius as an attribute and instead start to think of it as a condition, a circumstance.”

Related article:  Viewpoint: Space colonization could be a really bad idea for humanity

Jazz artist Vijay Iyer, another MacArthur fellow, is also uncomfortable with the conventional meaning of genius. In a Nautilus interview with Kevin Berger, Iyer says the label “genius” narrows our understanding of art and artists, and by extension, science and scientists.

“The location of genius is not in any particular individual’s mind, but in a virtual space, or system, where an individual interacts with a cultural domain and with a social field,” [psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi] wrote in his 2015 book, The Systems Model of Creativity. He suggests that genius, as a noun, has always been a sort of illusion.

Read full, original post: The Case Against Geniuses

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: The evolutionary history of the COVID-19 coronavirus

Infographic: The evolutionary history of the COVID-19 coronavirus

Reuters analysed over 185,000 genome samples from the Global Initiative on Sharing All influenza Data (GISAID), the largest database of ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend