There’s No Such Thing as Genius

Lately I’ve been thinking of how people have historically controlled other people throughout history (and when I say “people” I mean BOTH men and women because I think BOTH men and women are EXTREMELY capable of controlling other people) and I started thinking about the topic of geniuses.

I don’t know about you, but the whole concept of a “genius” always kind of hung over me in school.  I was a pretty studious kid, so I always wanted to do the best that I could, and it kind of irritated me that there was the possibility that no matter how hard I tried, I would never be as good as this random person called a “genius” who, in my imagination based on the incomplete teachings of my peers, could just swoop in and instantly understand EVERYTHING without having ever worked on it.
Yeah, it only occurred to me later that NOBODY ELSE understood the concept of “genius” either so there was no point in even thinking about it.
Once I thought about it, I realized that this whole “genius” rigamarole has a precedent throughout history.  It used to be that you couldn’t be a leader of a government unless you were of “noble” birth.  People believed this with such feverence, that they literally made themselves into the stupid slaves of the aristocracy.
If it wasn’t “noble” birth it was “divine” birth where people thought they had some shared heritage with the gods (and thus people should listen to them).
It’s all that same line of crap about how some people think they are “special” and that everybody else should therefore do everything else for them right up to and including the wiping of their holy asses.
This whole “genius” thing is a crock of shit.  People don’t understand certain concepts or whatever because they have a few more connections in their brain.  NOPE!  People come to knew understandings about things because they’re willing to be SKEPTICAL!  When some idiot says, “the reason I understand this and you do not is because I am high born and you are low born, or I am chosen by god and you are not chosen by god, or I am a genius and you are a dullard” what they’re really saying is that they have no scientific evidence for whatever theory they’re trying to make you believe (probably the universal treatise on why you should labor for them gratefully).
I’m getting kind of fed up with the human race coming up with these absurd and mystical concepts so they can sit around staring and humming, “ooooh—ahhhh” like a bunch of 12 year olds at the fireworks.
Look!  It’s time to grow the hell up and be logical…it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out (thank god…since there AREN’T ANY…except for maybe Warren Zevon)!

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1 Comment

  1. Alex

    I think some people have more facility in grasping and understanding advanced concepts more intuitively than others, and that might be a characteristic we typically associate with being a genius. I think you are definitely right about being able to be skeptical – this is getting at the idea of Thomas Kuhn at how scientific knowledge is produced. His theory is that there is a "paradigm shift" that pushes knowledge into a new realm or area, and that required skepticism of the general current thought in order to have that revolution. A very specific example of this is presented by Ludwik Fleck in his essay on how our knowledge around syphilis changed from the middle ages to the present (well his present of the 1930s when he wrote it).

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