Petering out of Genius by meeks
October 22, 2008, 10:09 am
Filed under: art | Tags: , ,

Long time no write. Shysterball had an interesting post on meta-blogging and how he has been sustainable writing multiable post a day while others have burnt out. Which he linked from Andrew Sullivan– talk about a viral meme! He attributes it to how he blogs. More like writing an email than an article. I find this instructive as my past post have felt more like writing a paper for my poltical science class than writing a friendly circumspection. Maybe that is why I haven’t updated in a matter of months.

I wanted to discuss the petering out of genius those that peak creatively in the early parts of their lives like Orson Wells, Mozart, Mellville and such. The origin of the idea comes (of course) from New Yorker article I read this week titled Late Bloomers. David Galenson, a prominant economist, broke down the genius into two categories – conceptual and experimental genius. The conceptual have a clear synthesized idea in mind and thus peak early. The experimentalist have imprecise goals, learn from trial and error, and thus peak late.

What I can’t get out of my head the mechanism for the conceptual learners peaking early. This is certaintly a well documented phenomenon. Orson Wells never made a movie of comparable weight to Citizen Kane, Einstein published special relativity at age 26, Picasso’s paintings made in his 20s sold for an average of four times greater than those done in his thirty’s. But the question remains why peak at all if one has a clear coneptual understanding of a finsihed product and can complete it with such ease?Perhaps the most fruitful path of the conceptual creative type is to dabble rather than focus on one area. Da Vinchi, a name synonymous with Genius, was a dilettante having prolific contributions to diverse fields throughout his lifetime from painting to anatomy to inventing to writing epynonymous best sellers.


What all the above early peaked examples have in common is an obsession with one type of study, medium or idea. Einstein dedicated his whole life to the unification of physical forces, but ultimately failed. With the rise of quantum physics, his role in the inner circle of physics became increasingly marginalized. Oppenheimer noted that upon meeting Einstein in the 1950s, he found him out of touch and deigned that his time had passed.


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