Thursday, October 17, 2013

Can Genius Be Self-Aware?

Last class we talked about the elements of genius. One of the elements that were not mentioned that I think is a key identifier for genius is the lack of awareness of genius that goes into those works. Genius is neither a formula nor a process; it’s instinct. Genius cannot be trained or taught which I think is crucial to understand genius. I don’t think someone could be a genius or create works considered genius if genius is actively present in the creator’s mind. 

What do you think? Can someone be considered a genius or create works considered genius if they are consciously thinking about genius?


  1. I think that it is perfectly within the realms of the modern conception of genius to be self-aware, because genius by its very nature is inherent in the given person. It is part of their being, and, as so, is credited to no one but them (which some more self-absorbed geniuses believe gives them "bragging rights" per say). There have been plenty of self-absorbed geniuses (Salvador Dali for an older example, or Kanye West if you want a more recent egocentric genius), and in some cases it adds to their mystique. We even encourage this sort of behavior by putting them on a pedestal and giving them license to live outside the social norms in hopes that they produce a fine work of art. Also, if you tell someone something enough, they're going to start believing it, even if they hadn't considered the possibility beforehand. We sometimes create this sense of pride in geniuses unintentionally, for better or worse.

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  3. Even though a genius can be self aware, perhaps if the creator of the work is creating a work for the purpose of attaining genius, for their work or for themselves, there can be no genius in a work that serves only to further one reputation.