What I’m Getting Myself Into

There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.

- Aristotle

Clever Hans with Trainer Von Osten

Geniuses come in as many forms & varieties as tropical fruit. They are scientists, inventors, writers, philosophers, artists, musicians and more. In at least one case, genius has manifested itself in a horse – Clever Hans, alleged to have solved fractions with a tap of the hoof.

Diverse as they may be, these individuals have one thing in common: eccentricity. Rare was the genius who adhered to the norms of his/her time. Rather, many lived idiosyncratic lives characterized by, among other attributes:

  • Obsessive-compulsivity
  • Reclusivity
  • Fear/avoidance of opposite sex
  • Irrational & overblown aversions
  • Substance abuse

Why care about the way geniuses lived their lives? Well, if eccentricity is a trend then perhaps there’s some correlation with intelligence or innovation. Is it possible that unusual behavior creates conditions that foster genius expression?

Artist Salvador Dali out to lunch in the sea

In my experiment, I don’t intend to drive myself crazy. By no means am I a mad scientist, but I’m also not your average Jill. I have OCD tendencies, relish in a good substance and studied at Oberlin (which to some might be a mark of weirdness in itself).

The hope is that by marching to the beat of geniuses’ drummers, perhaps I’ll create the conditions in my life conducive to the completion of my novel. Or maybe I’ll become so preoccupied with this experiment that I won’t work on it at all!

Hopefully, it’s the former…

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Posted on May 17, 2011, in Genius, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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