What makes genius?

Albert Einstein Memorial Statue

Image by Jeff Kubina via Flickr

Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. — Albert Einstein

One of my favorite geniuses is Albert Einstein. Not because he was so smart, but because he had a sense of humor, a sense of spirituality and wonder, and the ability to communicate with the rest of us. 

I was visiting in a high school recently and saw not one but two of his quotations figured prominently.

On a poster in the principal’s office was his quotation, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music, I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” Einstein played the violin, and had a small sailboat, and thought great thoughts. I like that.

The other quotation was tacked to a counselor’s wall and was combined with a Anne Eddes photograph of a tiny baby cradled in huge hands. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 

 These sayings lead me to thinking about genius. Because of the flattened bell curve, there are more male geniuses than female (More male mental retardation, too, on the other end). 

Apparently that has to do with the corpus callosum being thicker in females.  The theory is both sides of the brain have better access to each other, building a strength in communication, but also less extremes.  

Many sociopaths are genius level, as are many hackers. As are many drop outs from school. As are many autistic children (who in turn are many more times likely to be male as to be female).

Hollingsworth did an interesting study about the time that I.Q. tests were being created and found (no surprise) that most geniuses are NOT the knobby-kneed weakling nerds we associate with the stereotype. Instead, they are pretty well adjusted, leaders of their respective groups. 

Or not. Geniuses can be pretty independent. Hollingsworth found that above about 165 I.Q., a difficulty mixing with the general populace starts to appear. It is like two different species–they may LOOK alike, but they are not. 

So the genius does what most differing groups do, and that is to pass–to learn the jargon, to talk the talk (but not walk the walk), to appear normal, to blend in.  A relationship between such a high I.Q. individual and one of average (or even high average) intelligence might be very convoluted by “normal” standards. 

Being a genius may be lonely at times.

Which train of thought lead me to hackers. Yes, there are criminal types involved–more and more it seems, but many hackers are simply puzzle solvers. How to crack the code, how to get in, how to find out what others are seeing and experiencing without their knowing about it.

How might such a person, a genius-level hacker communicate? By breaking through the passwords of email to send their own messages in another’s name? Or by creating their own personas, of various ages and genders and locations in multiple blogs just because they can.

All in the name of communication. It must be hard at times to connect, if a person is a genius. 

An oxymoron, that.


About Author, Pegasus Quincy Mystery Series

I write a mystery series about a young rookie deputy on her first assignment in the Verde Valley of Arizona.
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