The Psychology of Genius
On the power of genius and the need to develop practical psychological models and solutions to nurture geniuses.
I’ve written a lot about the creative genius already. However the psychological profile of geniuses needs a separate discussion because it is very interesting and the traits or attributes of genius are so unique that they need proper identification and delineation. Genius is marked by high levels of intelligence, an intelligence quotient IQ score above 145, exceptionally high levels of independence and high levels of creativity. Most profound geniuses are very independent in their thinking, highly creative and have very high levels of intelligence. A genius is usually defined by these primary attributes of intelligence, creativity and independence. There are however some distinct attributes that differentiate the genius from the other humans.
Genius and Personality: Geniuses have unique personalities and attributes. They are the rule-breakers, system-busters, world changers, visionaries and pioneers. In societies where the geniuses are recognized and appreciated, they have better opportunities of utilizing their talents. But geniuses in less developed societies or say in conflict zones, may not have the right kind of opportunities and may tend to withdraw and some may become depressed, schizophrenic or develop other types of mental illness. Without the right kind of opportunities and channels, some may become antisocials and criminals. The genius personality is unique and they are usually very withdrawn and quiet or very outgoing and socially smart. Some geniuses may oscillate between being very withdrawn to being very social. Some writers, artists, innovators, creative geniuses may be prolific in their abilities and creative output but may be very quiet or silent in social situations and some may avoid all kinds of social interaction. Geniuses usually have very conspicuous leadership abilities, they will say things you will remember forever and they tend to have forceful and impactful personalities that you can’t miss and can’t ignore. Even the quiet ones will have an impact in their social interactions. Most geniuses, even the very quiet types are also significantly strong-willed, determined and a tad obsessive.
Genius and Power: Geniuses are very powerful and impressive, because they are confident of their abilities. They are sure of their qualities, they know they can influence and have a definite impact on people. They attract people with their brilliance and everyone is attracted to a genius. They are like social magnets. Geniuses are also highly intuitive and perceptive, so they understand people, they predict responses and reactions and are able to see through people’s motives. This keen psychological understanding of people is what makes the genius so powerful. Even the most socially withdrawn geniuses are super psychics and understand people very well. They simply know and understand apparently unexplainable stuff and since they are able predict responses, they know how to deal with people and situations. If a person of average intelligence comes up with five possible scenarios and options, geniuses will come up with 50 different possibilities. This ability to see all angles of a situation, makes them powerful because they can foresee and handle situations better. Geniuses can easily gauge the strengths and weaknesses of people so it’s easier for them to spot talents and understand who they could rely on for specific tasks. Geniuses are also more knowledgeable and as several philosophers have said and Bertrand Russell has reemphasized that, “Knowledge is Power”.
Genius and Sexuality: All geniuses are oversexed. Period. Sex drives and libido or life force is what drives the genius. The sex drive gives them their ambitions and inspire them to do what they want to do and many geniuses achieve extraordinary feats because of their life force or proper channeling of their sex drive. Some like Newton may get scared of the sex drive and try to suppress it and others like Picasso will openly flaunt it, but all geniuses are constantly haunted and tormented by their sexual desires. Geniuses do have an equally potent self-control alongside their explosive sexuality, so the self-control helps them to channel their desires to more constructive and creative pursuits. Some may take the route of denying or rejecting their sexuality as a kind of personal challenge and remain celibate for long periods of time. Research studies have indicated that most people of high intelligence stick to few sexual partners in their lifetimes. Some geniuses may consider themselves spiritually, intellectually or morally superior to have sex with the lesser mortals, so there is a level of pride and high self-esteem involved in the practice of celibacy. Geniuses are also more strongly mentally androgynous, they don’t have typical male or female traits and do not relate to typical gender issues, so there is a level of sexual confusion. Some like van Gogh may engage in several unsuccessful heterosexual or homosexual relationships. Many geniuses become gay, asexual or engage in forms of alternative sexuality. Oscar Wilde, Leonardo da Vinci are geniuses who were possibly more comfortable with their homosexual side of their androgynous personality. Many are bisexual, although some geniuses come to terms with their androgyny and practice socially acceptable forms of sexuality like heterosexual behavior and marry and have families and so on. Yet, deviant sexual behaviors such as celibacy, bisexuality, homosexuality, alternative sexuality are very common among geniuses.
Genius and Creativity: Genius is characterized by insatiable curiosity about everything, followed by the need to gain knowledge in many different spheres. They may be highly technical, may focus on one subject like computer science although many geniuses are interested in multiple subjects, and are multifaceted, multitaskers, and talented or gifted in many areas. They have this magical or supernatural ability to do many things very well. Some may focus on one field and become immensely productive in that specific field. The high level of creativity as seen in genius is usually a product of knowledge, imagination, independence and intelligence. Since genius is motivated by curiosity and have vast knowledge, this knowledge is then used along with imagination to give them unique and great ideas. One ingredient needed for this, is independence of thought. Geniuses are greatly independent in their thinking, they like to think out of the box, they are too proud to rely on other people’s ideas, so thinking independently gives them the necessary kick to boost their egos. They are thought leaders and thinking independently is a requirement to satisfy their creative, sexual or life drives as well. Independence of thinking gives them unparalleled creative abilities, so most geniuses excel in technological innovation, creative fields like writing, theatre or architecture or they may invent new types of music composition or dance methods. Usually geniuses will find an outlet for their creativity and they are usually very productive and prolific.
Genius and Insanity: Geniuses are usually a bit eccentric. They actually enjoy eccentricity, because madness helps them to release some of that high level of creative tension. Moreover geniuses are able to predict responses and foresee events, so they are able to analyze many factors quickly and act in ways that to most people will look a bit ‘crazy’. So there is usually an underlying method in the madness, along with the apparent madness in the method. But they have great insight, so they know they are acting mad and they are significantly courageous to stretch their imagination and actually engage in some temporary insanity, knowing very well that they have complete control over their minds. They are not scared of madness. People of average intelligence are controlled by their thoughts so they may a
ctually become insane. Geniuses and people of very high intelligence actively control their minds so even if they apparently come across as insane, they have a pretty good hold on their thoughts so don’t exactly become mad. Having said that, some geniuses have found themselves battling deep depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and so on. Mental illness can set in among socially maladjusted geniuses. When geniuses are unable to find opportunities for their creativity or there is some sort of suppression of their creative talents, due to personal circumstances, they might lose their minds, become antisocials or completely insane. It is essential that we provide adequate opportunities to children and adults who show very high levels of intelligence. Highly intelligent children must be given additional creative tasks and encouraged to think independently so that they don’t get too frustrated with the lack of appreciation for their abilities.
Psychologists have a good understanding of genius and there are many theoretical models in psychology to explain the phenomenon of genius. Yet there are very few practical models and solutions to actually support, encourage, direct or nurture geniuses. Too many highly intelligent children are driven to insanity by the time they are teenagers and with increasing levels of intelligence among children worldwide, we need more practical or applied psychological solutions and models to understand and nurture geniuses of all ages and cultures.