Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Why should modern society - why should *any* society - be bothered about geniuses?

The reason is not that geniuses deserve more concern than other kinds of people - the bottom-line reason is societal self-interest.

Geniuses are 'for' the good of the human group; they are people with a special gift for solving specially-difficult problems; and all human societies are confronted - sooner or later and usually sooner - by the kinds of problems that can only be solved by geniuses; lacking-which, the problems are simply not solved.

Thus geniuses are people who combine an especially high intellectual ability with a spontaneous tendency to focus on some abstract (by 'abstract' I mean not-social) problem, and the inner motivation to maintain this focus, to quest for an answer, for relatively long periods of time.


Most non-genius people, no matter what their abilities, are so focused-upon and bound-up-with social affairs (especially sexual matters) that they lack interest in or do not notice non-obvious underlying problems, and they lack the motivation to work seriously on them in a strategic fashion.

The genius is, by nature, always an Outsider to a significant extent. And it is this, together with his high abilities, which makes him so (potentially) useful.

Geniuses are rare, and it is even rarer to have the right kind of genius for the particular problem which is most urgent for a particular society; nonetheless, most traditional societies tend to recognize the value of the genius type - since anthropology regards the 'shaman'/ medicine man/ magician/ charismatic priest type of figure as pretty much a universal of human tribes.


How come such simple and unselfconscious societies spontaneously recognize something much like genius? The reason is just that most human societies just are serious; they recognize that life is a serious business, that there is a reason for it all. For them, the human condition is (one way or another) significant.

But modern society has lost this sense of the seriousness of life; for modern man lives inside a vast system of stimulating and distracting and manipulative lies, propaganda and attention-seeking destructiveness - I mean the (almost) all-pervasive complex of communications from the interconnected mass media and the bureaucracies of state and business.


So modern society is in practice indifferent to genius and the products of genius; since we are trivial, evasive and dishonest. For us, problems are merely part of the world of sensation and entertainment - continually defined then re-defined; and genius is just one of many millions of things to be taken-up, contemplated briefly, then impatiently set aside in the unending quest for novel stimulation.

Modern society is indifferent/ hostile to genius for the simple reason that as a human group we lack basic self-interest. Not because we are altruistic, but because self-interest has been replaced (inside the media bubble) with self-hating suicidality.

Insofar as modern society is aware of geniuses having provided solutions to real and vital societal problems, these answers are vehemently rejected. We don't acknowledge problems, we don't want answers - we just want to be pleasantly distracted unto extinction; and if pleasant distractions are not on offer, then almost any kind of distraction will suffice.