“Genie” is a myth


Einstein was no genius. Neither Mozart nor Beethoven.

But the brilliant brains and superhuman performers of society share one thing in common: a spark that has ignited their souls and kindled an everlasting fire beneath their rear.

Let me explain.

Innate genius is not a new concept. Homer attributed the greatness of the composer and singer Demodocus to divine gifts in the “OdysseyNearly three millennia ago: “Call upon the inspired bard Demodocus.” God gave man the gift of song. In 1790, the philosopher Emmanuel Kant argued in “Critique of Judgment”, this artistic genius was “a chosen one of nature”, a “natural endowment”.

The media today continue to believe that competence is derived from innate talent, fueling the romance of ‘genius’. Netflix’s most watched limited series, “The Queen’s Gambit” (which boasted 62 million viewers during its first 28 days) tells the alluring tale of an orphaned chess genius conquering a male-dominated industry while dealing with the effects of mental illness and addiction. Likewise, “The Imitation Game” starring legendary WWII cryptanalyst Alan Turing has reported over $ 200 million worldwide and won the Oscar for Most Suitable Screenplay.

by Vogue room “Why are we so obsessed with geniuses in the movies? Maintains the idea that we are opposed to the ordinary. The dichotomy of wanting to be extraordinary while maintaining its impossibility – the lust for something we cannot have – binds us to the myth of genius. Genius entertains us and mystifies us. More dangerously, it has the potential to limit us.

The summer before I started my university applications, I wondered whether I should continue studying piano (the longest and greatest love of my life) or pursue liberal arts studies and discover a academic interest (which offers more job security). Since the age of six, I dreamed of going on stage as a concert pianist on an international tour and painting stories and feelings through music, but I questioned my talents in relation to the sea of geniuses who surrounded me. Part of me felt like I was too normal; I didn’t have the “something special” that could make me one in a million. I wondered if this period of brooding was a time when I could reaffirm my commitment to music or if I was just delusional to consider the odds.

I signed up for a course called “Deliberate Practice” that month. During the first session, my instructor paint a portrait of a violinist and philosopher Shinichi Suzuki on the screen. Next to him, a quote that I don’t fully remember, but which stuck with me. In Suzuki’s “Nurtured by Love”, he writing, “There is no natural ability, no child born without talent. … Talent is not inherited or innate, but learned and trained. “Genie” is an honorary name given to those who are raised and trained to a high standard. “

Today there are mountains of modern research piling up to falsify the theories of ancient philosophers and demystify the age-old social construction of genius. One of the largest studies is the Cambridge University Press publication in 2006, “The Cambridge Manual of Expertise and Expert Performance. The 900-plus-page manual includes contributions from over 100 leading scientists on expertise and best performance in surgery, acting, chess, writing, computer programming, ballet, music, aviation, combating. fires and more.

Real magic is not genius; it is the marriage of three elements: intrinsic motivation, deliberate practice and expert coaching.

Daniel Coyle’s book “The Code of Talent” Explain that the results are tangible in a neural circuit insulator called myelin, a layer of fatty tissue that builds up whenever someone intensely focuses on a specific circuit corresponding to a specific skill; with more layers of myelin, the signal strength becomes stronger, faster, and more precise – ultimately, skill building.

Some great works that I found in my research were: “The making of an expert, “The role of deliberate practice in acquiring expert performance“The code of talent, talent is overestimated and the work in depth. Here is what I gathered from three of the gigantic figures in the story:

Golf giant Sam Snead insists on telling a different story “natural” than those assumed by popular tradition: “People have always said that I have a natural swing. They thought I was not a hard worker. But when I was young I would play and train all day and then train more at night in front of my car headlights. My hands bled. No one has worked harder than me in golf. Snead echoes the researchers results that deliberate practice is not inherently pleasurable, although ultimately rewarding.

Mozart – who began composing at the age of five, gave public performances of piano and violin at age eight, and produced some of Western culture’s greatest masterpieces at age 35 – is the main counter-argument to the anti-talent thesis. Here is my answer: Wolfgang’s father, Leopold Mozart, was a composer, performer and widely acclaimed pedagogue.

The original “father of tennis and tiger mom“Leopold asked 3-year-old Wolfgang for intensive training in composition and performance in order to improve his family’s fortunes, affirming “The good fortune and success of Wolfgang will be our sweetest revenge” (written by Leopold in “The Letters of Mozart and his Family”). Regarding the compositions of the young Wolfgang, “Talent is Overrated” notes that his manuscripts were written suspiciously by the hand of his father and that as a teenager his pieces were often rearrangements of other composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach (often considered the father of classical music), with whom Wolfgang studied in London. Today, Wolfgang’s first true masterpiece would be his Piano Concerto No. 9, composed at the age of 21, the result of eighteen years of deliberate practice and intense coaching.

When elementary school dropout teenager Benjamin Franklin struggled to improve his writing, his method did not depend on passive reading. On the contrary, it dissected issues of the popular British publication The Spectator, and a few days later, practiced reconstructing them from memory, matching subtle clues of feeling and expression. Franklin would then compare his version of The Spectator with the original and correct its flaws. He accentuated vocabulary weaknesses and prose variety by translating articles into rhymed verse and then into prose verse – the mentally demanding work of deliberate practice.

Despite modern research and historical narratives aimed at loosening the media’s grip on the notion of the born genius, we are slow to change long-held and deeply-rooted beliefs, and this only harms society and society. his progress.

I urge you not to bow your head below the ceiling of “genius”. Don’t ask yourself, “Am I good enough?” But “Am I ready to do the job?” Ignite your soul with an obsession – only this can fuel a tireless and endless will to learn and become better. Rage to be mastered.

Lily Kwak is an opinion columnist and can be contacted at [email protected].

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.