Much has been written on the subject of genius. It appears in all forms, in all walks of life and yet the mere act of describing it inevitably falls short. Genius lies in the cracks, in the space between notes, in the involuntary situations one had to experience in their life. It inspires but is impossible to imitate, it transcends time yet does not feel out of place. Some of history’s greatest artists tapped into core emotions such as love and suffering to create truly resplendent work. Genius chose their art as much as they were chosen by it. They wrote, painted, drew and sculpted and turned their pain into a blessing. People tend to simplify everything, put it into easily digestible boxes, they expect genius to be splendid and solitary. Inversely, genius is called upon to resemble all. Fortunately for us, reality is infinitely more complex. (Albert Camus, Create Dangerously 1957).
This is possible only when it is clear that there is nothing you can do. There is nothing else to do because there is no time to do it. There is no way on or back from here as there is no past or future. The answer is close and tomorrow it will be no closer. And precisely at the point where we realise this, we cease using the present to get ‘somewhere else’ and thus we awaken to what Ananda Coomaraswamy called ‘a perpetual uncalculated life in the present’. A moment’s awareness is sufficient to reveal to us the fact that this perpetual uncalculated life in the present’ is exactly the type of life we are always leading anyways, whether we realise it or not.
The genius behind this skill is unknown to those who know it and known to those who know it not. The mere act of talking about it is as effective as trying to move the ocean with cupped hands. Yet we see hints of genius in everyday life, in people, in nature, but only if we take the time to observe. Through our observations, we can create an optimum model of the world within which our unique character traits can flourish. We develop an optimum model over time, we put it into our own terms while the brain sprinkles it with billions of unconscious signals. This is where we learn to trust our intuition as deep down it’s aware of our strengths and blind spots.
But life isn’t a math problem to be solved. There isn’t a formula to follow as a rigid way of thinking can constrain your viewpoint. There are no objectives unless you consciously set some for yourself or unconsciously download the cultural programming of the world. Genius is being one of a kind, working on ideas that are unique to you and constantly challenging your own perspective. There is beauty in observing others as everyone’s model is different and unique to them. Newton, Mozart and Da Vinci nurtured their natural talents but like everyone, their lives contained imperfections that made them distinctly human.
As you become more comfortable with this mode of thinking you begin to see how far you can push a certain line of thought. We can look for genius in new areas that satiate our morbid curiosities and challenge our comfortable modes of thinking. You begin to see the timeless interrelationship of black and white, how evil is necessary for good to exist. You become aware of the good times and appreciate them to the fullest because you’ll be completely present in the moment. You’re gonna have bad times and your mind will be your friend in those times. Mental toughness is underrated and any joy or fulfilment you wish to extract out of life has to start from within.
I touched upon Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey in one of my previous posts. There comes a point in everyone’s life where they have to enter the cave of uncertainty and face their fears. The very cave you are afraid to enter will turn out to be the source of what you were looking for. The damned thing in the cave that was so dreaded has become your center. And all it took was a conscious decision to change one’s perspective. Our inner genius has the potential to shape our destiny and it’s a waste of life to squander its development.
Being present with your own genius is an art, a skill which is nothing without reality and without which reality is insignificant. Life is not a competition but a beautiful dance, a play. You are lucky to be able to have a front-row seat to the greatest show on earth, complete with everything from comedy and laughter to tragedy and betrayal. Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, playing things safe, but honest in the knowledge that you squeezed out every last drop.