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Feta cheese
Sweet potato
Red onion
Olives

Genius!

31
May
2012
 

By Jessie

While my penchant for wearing harem pants (comfy) and dangly earrings (to draw attention away from those ridiculous harem pants) makes me more 'genie' than 'genius', I’ve long been fascinated by the rare, intellectually-endowed creatures amongst us who spark brightly like a knife stuck in the toaster of life.

Every so often, a visionary is born who propels human thinking forward in leaps and bounds. For millennia, humans had been choking down chunks of raw wildebeest for dinner until a Neanderthal nerd came along and made the connection between fire and food. Behold, the BBQ was invented (closely followed by delicious chargrilled steaks).

You’d think that being born bright would be great, and in a perfect world it would be. Harnessing the awesome powers of your immense and vibrant brain you could unconsciously command a minion to bring you cupcakes with coloured sprinkles whenever you liked and then make them pick off all the yellow ones. OK perhaps I’m confusing intelligence with superpowers, but in any case, being a certifiable smarty-pants can be a trial.

For starters, if people often murmur the words “gifted & talented” in your general direction you’ll quite likely end up crazy cat lady insane at some stage.     

“There is no great genius without a mixture of madness”, said Aristotle – and he was right!

A few years ago psychologists discovered a gene (neuregulin 1) that is active in both highly creative people and those with psychosis and depression. The gene plays an important role in brain development but is also associated with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) is famous example of a breathtakingly gifted man who grappled with severe mental illness. He famously cut off his left ear just a few years before committing suicide by shooting himself in the head.

Vincent van Gogh

German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 -1827) was irascible and often acted quite violently. His ‘force of personality’ has been attributed to bipolar disorder, and after one too many ‘confrontations’ with audience members who dared to talk while he was playing, the Archduke Rudolph decreed that “the usual rules of court etiquette did not apply to Beethoven.”

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)also suffered from a manic depressive illness punctuated with periodic psychosis. Renowned for his theories about existential nihilism, it is fair to say he wasn’t a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy.

And Isaac Newton? Mad, maaaad I tell you (although perhaps there is no greater example of the blurriness between ‘crazy’ and ‘brilliant’). Considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist to have ever lived, Newton also spent many hours happily studying alchemy and the occult in a bid to discover the Philosopher’s Stone (a material believed to turn base metals into gold) and the Elixir of Life.  

Completing an Extreme Sudoku in less than five minutes? Solving Christine Lovatt’s Cryptic Crossword without breaking into a sweat? What does ‘genius’ mean to you?

Jessie x

25 Responses to

Genius!

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bika said:
May 31, 2012 at 12:34 PM

I find genius in simplicity. Life can be so complicated and I admire people who have the guts/honesty/integrity to be true, who can separate the wheat from the chaff.

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mommyscat said:
May 31, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Being able to complete the extreme addoku in under 10 mins without entering possible values in the little boxes at the bottom of the squares.

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said:
May 31, 2012 at 5:32 PM

agree there scat if i can finish sudoku think im doing well ...thanks jess good reading

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nan_j said:
May 31, 2012 at 5:39 PM

If I were a genius I would be able to do Oz quizz in 22 seconds with a score of 12000 ... but alas :(

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May 31, 2012 at 5:48 PM

a clever glogs who gets top in all quizzes ( im working on it )lol

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May 31, 2012 at 6:10 PM

A friend once turned down a university lecturing job after taking some potential very smart future colleagues fishing. They didn't know where to start! My friend decided to get on with life and turned the job down for fear the academic career would help remove him from the simple pleasures. Similarly, I remember seeing the cream brains of my school year puzzle over how to start my families old record player. i am teaching friends how to approach the cryptic crosswords but don't ever expect me to know anything about sport. I know several academically challenged children who have created intricate detailed drawing or picked up a musical instrument to play a piece by ear within minutes.We all have aspects of genius .... just a matter of finding the hidden talent My creativity definitely comes with an "outside the box" view of things, an emotional personality and a family history of mental illness. Maybe my true genius will be recognised when I'm gone from the earth...like Van Gogh.

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said:
May 31, 2012 at 8:12 PM

noonee claps for stitch well done

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kaylz said:
June 01, 2012 at 4:26 AM

Some of the most intelligent people I've ever known have been raving mad. Thinking too much, I think, is the problem. There are too many questions that can never be answered, the questioning mind is simply worn out by all the asking. Strange too how some of the most achedemically brilliant people have very little by way of life skills. I have an uncle who is literally a genious, has written two books on physics and works for NASA. He eats only baby food out of jars and refuses to wear shoes. I would be happy to move off the easy level in sudoko... They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviour and expecting different results... anyhow back to the sudoku ;-)

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pdiaco said:
June 01, 2012 at 7:15 AM

Kaylz could you give met the brand name of that baby food?

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June 01, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I have a son who is a bit of a genius at maths. When given the problems (even in High school) he would simply write down the result. In sixth grade parent teacher interviews the teacher told me to tell my son to write down the working out of maths, etc, problems. When I asked why, he replied that if the result is wrong, he still gets marks for the part of his working out which is correct. I asked the teacher had he ever had a wrong result? The teacher had to admit that no. His results were always correct. And no he definitely did not take after me - I am only now learning (since the beginning of the year) how to complete the sudoko, and the other one. And no, not from his father either, although my husband was an extremely intelligent and learned man. The arithmetic/math genius is my husband's brother.

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June 02, 2012 at 12:43 PM

I am not the sharpest pencil in the case compared to my siblings. They were always so much better at maths and physics. As yet the sudoko defies me. My oldest sister who is a school teacher cannot work out cryptics, which I am most pleased to say I can, after many years of frustration. I am sure we are all good at something and should be justly proud of our efforts, and keep our brains healthy and play youplay until very old age. :)

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said:
June 03, 2012 at 8:21 AM

My eldest daughter 'suffers' from this condition... and I do mean suffers. She's so very smart but couldn't organize herself out of a paper bag. Not a happy place to be. No wonder they go crazy.

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pdiaco said:
June 03, 2012 at 10:14 AM

If you're an Australian Lawyer or Politician in 2012 you're most likely not one.

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said:
June 03, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Australian Lawyers are overwhelmed by their senses of self-importance... or is it some sort of control mania???

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said:
June 03, 2012 at 10:55 AM

And who was that 'duck' who called our Julia an 'old cow'???

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said:
June 03, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Must apologize for getting off the track this morning... What were we talking about? That's it, mad scientists! I love the one in 'Back to the Future'!

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pdiaco said:
June 04, 2012 at 8:54 PM

According to some researhers on Mozart and Einstein, genius is 99% hard work an 1% inspiration. That is to say, if you don't do the prerequisite hard work, you are not going to achieve a brilliant result. My theory, based on personal experience, is that when you pump the brain with a lot of logic and information on a topic, at some point the brain actually takes over and advances or completes the process automatically without you even being aware of it. I had a spooky experience 18 years ago where this happened whilst I was in bed sound asleep. I wont go into the technical details of the technology I involved in, but I just could not believe how the brain took over the logic and solution independently of my consciousness. In other words for some/many of us our brain can do logic better when left alone than when we are in our 'flawful' conscious state.

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said:
June 05, 2012 at 10:51 AM

I've had similar (rare) experiences. More simply (or weirdly), when my children were young, I video taped all the time. I started to dream zooming in and out... literally. Zooming in, to see more detail... weird.

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wordist said:
June 26, 2012 at 6:19 AM

I've been surrounded by cretins since very young and have found that ignoring them in the hope they will go away never works..always more of them with their snide remarks at someone they deem to be different and therefore a target. Ignoring them simply gives them the idea that intellect and highly intelligent people are a crime and mistake and they are on the right track as there are more of them than there are of us. A few years ago I decided to fight back. Whenever I get yobbish comments or behaviour from a braindead I either give them a serving of language right back at them,pointing out their lack of intelligence and any useful future, or even physical retribution if their attack is very abusive. In this way you feel better as you haven't,yet again, swallowed the insult due to the natural inclination of clever people to back off and hope it will go away..it never does.It works..you might get a rep as a 'loony' but that's what they think of you anyway since you never suck up to these clueless tools. Who cares what they think? They end up backing off as the word spreads that you don't take s**t from anyone. And you feel better as you no longer take it. It's time for intelligent people everywhere to fight back. You only have your self-respect and peace of mind to gain. Do it.

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pdiaco said:
June 26, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Wordist, that's sounds like a great Sheldon Cooper rant straight out of an episode of that top rating comedy series 'The Big Bang Theory'.

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said:
June 27, 2012 at 8:11 AM

Wordist and my daughter sound alike. People can be very cruel to anyone different/better. But don't lower yourself to their level. There is much dignity in silence. Try to surround yourself with like minded people and revel in discovering and expressing the inner you. 'Don't let the turkeys get you down!'

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gm1951 said:
June 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM

I have found that people who try to overwhelm you with their knowledge of "long" or complicated words often back off when you retaliate in kind. I worked at one company where one manager would write memos (I'm sure he had a "word of the week" that he had looked up in the dictionary to use as many times as he could within a certain period) containing one or more very obscure or unusual words. I have a very good vocabulary but must admit to having to look up one or 2. A group of us got together, deciphered the latest offering & replied with a verbose memo containing many such words. Result: we never received another memo - he was probably too busy looking up the definitions. I don't have a problem with cryptics, can eventually nut out Sudoku-like puzzles & do have a fairly good general knowledge but I do have problems with computer games that 6 year olds seem to find no trouble at all. Maybe I'm just too old.

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wordist said:
July 08, 2012 at 6:56 PM

You mean,pdiaco,that fictional show featuring fake genius's spouting fake cleverness for the amusement of the mostly brain-dead audience who think,yet again,that they have been given an inside scoop as to what real genius is like and can squirm in pleasure in their seats that they're not as screwed up as that? Gee..you find that relevant for some odd reason? As said,jafa,silence gets you nowhere I've tried it most of my life.There is no dignity..just a sense of defeat..this is not my scene any more. If you want to remain a kickable target, that's your choice..

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said:
July 09, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Okay, Wordist. I'm hearing your frustration. Try to think how someone you respect would react to such situations, say, Denzel Washington. I'm sure he's coped a fair amount of discrimination in his life but he remains an icon of dignity and poise. There may be times to fight back but generally a disapproving look will bring a better outcome.

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pdiaco said:
July 10, 2012 at 10:00 AM

The Wikipedia article on 'Sheldon Cooper' is a good read. It discusses Aspergers syndrome at length. I personally found the article quite enlightening.