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Truthfully, talent is a function of biology, not anything really to do with humanity specifically except that we recognize talent as a fact of life. What we do not do is acknowledge the importance of talent in virtually every aspect of life.

Talent is recognized in music and athletics and, sometimes, in intellectual pursuits. The problem is the ability to recognize talent. In athletics there are statistical and performance standards that help separate those who have talent from those who do not. In this respect, athletics is far easier to quantify talent than any other pursuit.

Music is of course subjective to the genre you prefer and your own level of education and, talent. For example: when friends have said that I play piano at a “concert” level, they expose their own ignorance of that level of accomplishment. I have just enough talent to appreciate those who are talented and recognize that my own performance levels are mediocre at best. I often joke that “I play for my own amazement.” That is, I am amazed when I play something and it sounds close to what the composer wrote.

I have often said to people and students that programmers are born, not made. In the nearly five years I taught computer science (after fifteen years in the industry), there were only two people who had any talent. I graded to acceptable educational standards. You did not need talent to pass the course.

Talent is extremely difficult to judge unless you are exceptionally talented yourself which is one reason I abhor popular “talent competitions”. These are more about popularity and, too often, beauty more than talent.

This page was last modified:      Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 10:06:47 AM