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Genius is a term that is thrown around quite a bit by those who all too often do not understand what it really means. One way to tell if someone has a clue is when they say that a person knows “everything” about a subject. From other writings on this website you should already understand that no one can understand “everything”. So, what is a genius really?

According to Wikipedia: “A genius (plural geniuses) is something or someone embodying exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of unprecedented insight.”

Perhaps the most misunderstood thing about a person who is a genius is that they are not perfect and often or even usually make mistakes. Einstein is considered by most people, me included, to be one of the most significant geniuses of our time. What most people do not know is that he was wrong more than he was right.

I am not speaking of the time before his (general and special) theories of relativity. Rather, the rest of his life when he tried unsuccessfully to disprove his own theories. He could not accept them because of two major factors. The first was that the need to include the “cosmological constant” in his general theory of relativity. The second was that his math helped in the development of quantum theory.

He believed that the universe was fixed and never changing but his math would not work until he modified it to accept the reality that the universe was dynamic. He rejected the results because, as he himself put it: “God does not play dice with the universe.” He died with the failed effort to disprove his own work literally on his deathbed.

If you want to know more about him and quantum mechanics, you should read “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking. Do yourself a favor and get the hard back illustrated edition. It will still give you migraines but it is well worth reading again and again.

Just because you are a genius does not mean you know everything and don’t make mistakes. Because few people have the intellectual capability to identify “genius” themselves, they must depend on others to do it for them.

American MENSA: As “genius” cannot be measured, it is not a term relevant to Mensa consideration. “Genius” can be used in a broader sense, though, to describe highly intelligent people. Nobel Prize winners are obviously brilliant thinkers and creators at a superior level, but whether their abilities could be measured with a standardized test is a mystery.

This page was last modified:      Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 12:04:18 AM