How frustrating to have been given a brain, just like one is given a paintbrush, and be obliged to go through life clumsily and randomly using it to stain rough sheets of paper with clashing colors, while others are busily painting Mona Lisas.
Lucky is one who knows not of his own mediocrity. Ignorance is bliss. One of the worst surprises I’ve had in my life was awaking to the concept of genius. Like a distant star shinning coldly through the immensity of space, it can be seen, imagined, theorized and coveted, but it can never be touched.
So the word genius seems to exist only in the realm of those who aren’t. Genius is the theory of impossibility. One doesn’t become a genius. There is no cheating one’s way to it, no bribing the odds, nor is it possible to simply work hard and achieve it. You are born with it or you’re out of luck.
But desire is one of mankind’s most powerful tools and while it cannot do the impossible, it manages to blur the line between the possible and the dream.
So maybe genius a lesson in humility. Geniuses might be more important in their role as examples – guiding the fumbling ships that we are, like lighthouses in a dark night – than for their actual work.
Well I feel very humble, tonight. After watching Proof and A Beautiful Mind which both deal with the endless flirt between genius and insanity, I felt restless, disturbed, both a little sad and cheerful, I had to take a walk. So I put on my jeans and a sweater, grabbed my computer and headed west on 15th Avenue.
And now, sitting at the 24h Waves coffee shop on Main St. at 2:00 am, I can almost sense some genius in my humility. I know that I don’t know anything. I am acutely aware of my inability to produce anything great. Sure I can see greatness around me, mostly in nature, sometimes in people, but I cannot duplicate it.
So like most of mankind, out of an irrepressible need for heroes, I do the next best thing. I stare, I admire, I praise and I try to understand. And hopelessly, I keep hoping.