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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Big idea is still a big idea….

What we know as geniuses are mostly linked with big ideas, Einstein with relativity, Darwin with Evolution, Plato with Republic, Picasso with breaking lines, Marx with class struggle, Freud with role of childhood experiences in unconscious mind, Bill Gates with computer operating systems, Ford with Assembly lines, Heisenberg with Uncertainty, Gandhi with nonviolent movement and so on… How one gets a big idea is a big idea in itself that is still nothing more than a question mark. Are big ideas the product of, contemplation, education, hard work, world views or mere intelligence? That is a dividing line and Psychologists and their researches have come out with conflicting results. Pioneering works of psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues from Florida State University have emphasized that it is the number of hours of practicing that matters in outcomes of works. In other words geniuses have put more time practicing… but now Vanderbilt University researchers David Lubinski and Camilla Benbow’s results show that high scorers in SAT exams are 3 to 5 times more successful in their careers… In other words the intelligence is biased in the outcomes of equal hard works…  If we know that there are conflicting results then why we should still be interested in unlocking the sources of big ideas?...

It is a common knowledge that geniuses are NOT the products of some talent genes… If they are not the results of genes then it is really interesting to know the basis for them… if it turns out that geniuses are the products of one or several factors like thinking methodologies, education, hard work and environment then these are the things that can be arranged or strived for. Psychologists are interested because by knowing the source of geniuses we can implement them in education system and then can have a large number of geniuses that can change the world. Unfortunately there are more speculations than real results… Because there are no genetic basis for talent so we like to speculate on linking the environment with geniuses, for example, Aristotle with Athens, Michelangelo with Florence, Shakespeare with London, Picasso with Paris and Steve Jobs with Silicon Valley…No one can deny the role of environment but it is only part of the whole story as London has not too many Shakespeare, Athens have not too many Aristotle and Silicon Valley has not too many Steve Jobs and Paris does not have too many Picasso…

The fact is the Human is the only creature that besides natural environment needs a cultural environment. The cultural environment of men have no biological basis (Some like to call it behavior but intellectual products are not products of behaviors.. Were they behaviors, we have had more writers than readers, more artists than art collectors, more actors than spectators, more scientists than problems and so on) as no any other organisms have produced stories, paintings, sculptures, cities and so on… Society provides a large cultural pool that we get skills, world views and in general education from it but what produces the genuine intellectual products are the dominantly the results of the personal cultures… Every individual out of his/her unique interactions with large cultural pools tends to get obsessed with certain parts of it or may be only certain questions.

There is saying that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and my understanding is the timing of inspiration is very important. As now it is an accepted fact that Childhood is a time when children genuinely strive to learn and explore about the world. It is why Philosophers call childhood as Pre-philosophic time of an individual and Scientists a Proto-Scientist time  of an individual but usually these genuine Scientific and Philosophical tendencies are get killed by world views that Children learn…. I think, geniuses are the lucky individuals who get such a strong inspiration in their early age that make their original Scientific and Philosophical tendencies undeterred and unharmed by the world views that they learn from School, Colleges, Universities and from Society in general and it is why they keep questioning and thinking and hence become able to see the world very differently from others… If you look to works of geniuses, they are usually individuals who have challenged the dominatingly accepted world views of their times… Intellectual rebellion is not something come out of nowhere but is something that grows as an individual grows up….

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