Genius: The Natural History of Creativity tells us what genius is, how it is produced, how it relates to madness, how it can be cultivated.
The Creativity of genius:
Schumann: ‘Talent works; genius creates.’”
Ortega y Gasset: ‘Better be ware of notions like genius and inspiration; they are a sort of magic wand and should be used sparingly by anybody who wants to see things clearly.’
Common-sense sets the stage: genius is highly creative, easily misunderstood, often odd or even near mad; genius needs hard work to achieve anything, and will almost certainly be opposed by the great mediocre majority.
Ezra Pound: ‘The concept of genius as akin to madness has been carefully fostered by the inferiority complex of the public.’
Not all people who are highly gifted intellectually turns out to be geniuses:
Cox has demonstrated beyond any doubt that geniuses in many different lines of endeavour have uniformly Iqs well above the average; indeed, as all the different occupations which led to their achievements obviously used considerable mental powers any other result would have been unbelievable.
Intelligence, which may be defined as innate, general cognitive ability, is a necessary but not a sufficient factor in the genesis of genius.
This unusual correlation of ego-strength and psychopathology may be one answer to those who fail to find schizophrenia unusually frequent among geniuses.
Conditions for excellence:
Works of genius depend on the confluence of certain personality variables (intelligence, creativity, persistence, etc.) and certain social conditions; Newton, Mozart or Shakespeare would not have been able to show their true genius in a primitive culture.
Intuition and Unconscious:
Two notions, ideas, concepts—call them what you like—have always been attached to the problem of creativity. It has been widely surmised that the creative genius generates his major ideas by way of intuition, rather than rational thinking; reason can test and prove or disprove the insights achieved by intuition, but cannot produce them. Furthermore, the process by means of which intuition works is unconscious; the Unconscious, whether with or without a capital U is the cradle of creativity.