I love this articulation of the concept of ‘Genius’ as a sort of attendant spirit that is available collectively.
It is a lovely way of thinking about the concept with the added benefit, as they say, of being true. And what Yuval says about there being moments of genius goes hand in hand with the additional truth that absolutely everyone we think of as carrying that genius label has profoundly non-genius and human moments.
Ghandi was a political and moral genius, and also very complicated. Wagner is far more problematic. But even if we just look at creative output, well, Beethoven wrote some fairly uninspired pieces. Mozart did too. We wouldn’t listen to this if it weren’t for this. And then of course sometimes genius is just hard work, which of course doesn’t make it any less genius.
This is not merely a comforting outlook, it can be downright inspiring–the realization that geniuses are not always geniuses can be liberating, and not just for those of us who are not Beethoven. It can free us to notice moments of genius around us, it can open us up to moments of genius that can pass through each of us, collectively and individually, filling us with wonder and joy.