Saturday, May 19, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas. May 19, 2007. Genius.

Note: A bold-face statement at the conclusion of a quote is my attempt to express a wordy or convoluted quote in plain English.

Genius 106 …for genius is an apex, to which a family builds itself through talent, and through talent in the genius's offspring subsides again towards the mediocrity of man. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon. [Families build toward an apex of genius and then subsides again into mediocrity.] [The theme of Thornton Wilder’s The Eighth Day.]

Genius 297 Hegel: The genius merely places another stone on the pile, as others have done. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Hegel. [The genius adds another stone to the pile built up by other geniuses.]

Genius 297 Hegel: Such individuals had no consciousness of the general idea they were unfolding…but they had an insight into the requirements of the time—what was ripe for development…the very truth for their age, for their world. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Hegel. [Geniuses recognize when the time is ripe for certain ideas to flourish.]

Genius 334 Schopenhauer : Genius is the power of leaving one’s own interests, wishes and aims entirely out of sight, of entirely renouncing one’s own personality for a time, so as to remain pure knowing subject, clear vision of the world…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer. [The real genius is able to forget about himself.]

Genius 18 Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind. F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writing. [Genius is the ability to effect what you are thinking.]

Genius 236 Johnson: …a man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1. [Men of genius are ruined only by themselves.]

Genius 1166 It is true, though somewhat sad, that every fine genius teaches us how to blame himself: Being so much, we cannot forgive him for not being more. Emerson, Uncollected Prose. [Every genius is blamed for not doing more.]

Genius 635 Great geniuses have the shortest biographies…lived in their writings and so their house and street life was trivial and commonplace. Emerson, Representative Men: Plato, or The Philosopher. [Geniuses subordinate living to their work.]

Genius 691 The genius…beholds the design…. Emerson, Representative Men: Montaigne, or The Skeptic. [Geniuses see patterns.]

Genius 710 The greatest genius is the most indebted man. Emerson, Representative Men: Shakespeare, or the Poet. [Geniuses borrow from others.]

Genius 761 The secret of genius is…to realize all that we know. Emerson, Representative Men, Goethe, or the Writer. [Geniuses realize what they know.]

Genius 58 Genius is always sufficiently the enemy of genius by over influence. Emerson, The American Scholar. [Geniuses are the enemies of genius because they try to influence other geniuses.]

Genius 259 To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,--that is genius. Emerson, Self-Reliance. [The genius believes that what he knows others also know but don’t realize it.]

Genius 492 …and the true romance which the world exists to realize, will be the transformation of genius into practical power. Emerson, Experience. [Real romance is the transformation of what the genius knows into practical power.]

Genius 496 There are geniuses in trade, as well as in war, or the state, or letters; and the reason why this or that man is fortunate, is not to be told: it lies in the man—that is all anybody can tell you about it. Emerson, Character. [People cannot tell you, and neither can the genius, why the genius is a genius.]

Genius 82 Genius, he [Ladislaw] held, is necessarily intolerant of fetters: on the one hand it must have the utmost play for its spontaneity; on the other, it may confidently await those messages from the universe which summon it to its peculiar work, only placing itself in an attitude of receptivity towards all sublime chances. George Eliot, Middlemarch. [Genius must be unfettered, needing spontaneity and receptivity.]

Genius and madness 335 Dr. Beatrice Hinkle: Genius and madness have from time immemorial been associated, and the lives of the creative artists and geniuses in all fields do reveal an overwhelming preponderance of erratic conduct, emotional stress, and irrational reactions, coupled with definite psychic disturbances manifested in conflict, struggle and mental disorder. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book. [Genius and madness have always been associated.]

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