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Thread: Where are the Great Minds of the 21st Century?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    Spare me the dogma. The fact that many have used this to further egalitarian agendas does not in any way prove it false.
    This is correct, however, what actually proves it false is empirical evidence.
    The very fact, that the egalitarian societies do not prosper, but are in a constant struggle against idiots they thought to be capable of becoming geniuses.
    That is the very essence of bolshevism.
    I must admit your merging of individualism and bolshevism is interesting, I wouldn't even have thought that Americans can bring their individualistic ideas into that branch of political thought .

    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    Perhaps the confusion is in the word dwell? [..] Determination without action accomplishes little.
    How can you deduce what actions have been undertaken, from what I said?
    How can you deduce that I am dwelling, from the mere fact, that I said, there are more pressing issues to be taken care of?
    Was this just an attempt at an insult?
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    For Vindefense

    I found your letter forthright and magnifcent. I have studied tribal communites for decades and what you state about trust is absolutely true. And your statement about truth......exquisite. Each and everyone of us must stand on the truth no matter the risk or cost.

    I have one question. Do you believe genius is an obstacle? A burden surely, an affliction probably, but an obstacle? I have seen true genius in every imaginable persuasion, from street kids to revered medicine men and women. Their brilliance, although often a burden, made real differences in peoples' lives. Would you please elaborate a little on this.

    I also learned and witnessed in tribal communities that every individual was treasured and every gift no matter how great or small was nurtured, even from birth by an entire people. Such gifts were carefully cultivated, but with great subtlety and patience based on endless observation. The faculty/ability to detect attributes in even newborn was directly tied to name giving.

    Thanks for your post.

    Verda Smedley
    Last edited by verdasmedley; Thursday, October 8th, 2009 at 07:37 PM. Reason: mispelling

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    This is correct, however, what actually proves it false is empirical evidence.
    The very fact, that the egalitarian societies do not prosper, but are in a constant struggle against idiots they thought to be capable of becoming geniuses.
    The social mechanism that drives achievement is struggle. Because man has to work to live he is in a constant state of struggle. This is what makes the free market so prosperous. It allows those who believe themselves capable to prove it. If they fail and do not try again, then they are truly incapable. One is only a failure why they give up. This is why the primary drive of the community (household, family, friends, neighbors) should be to inspire. Inspire it's members towards the ideal of self mastery. Should we set limitations on our children because they only demonstrate skills in certain areas? No, we should nurture them in a way that spurs them to seek out life's challenges and overcome them.

    The primary reason for me even responding in this thread was because I see a tendency, especially among preservationists, to dwell upon the negative. It is no wonder that our situation progressively gets worse. If we want to see positive changes in our lives we have to make them. This begins with you and me. Focus on building trust in yourself and your children, teach them to question, and show them that failure is only a stepping stone to success. That is action, and it begins with me and you, not 'them' and it is our most pressing issue.


    verdasmedley:
    I have one question. Do you believe genius is an obstacle? A burden surely, an affliction probably, but an obstacle? I have seen true genius in every imaginable persuasion, from street kids to revered medicine men and women. Their brilliance, although often a burden, made real differences in peoples' lives. Would you please elaborate a little on this.
    Well, that is hard to say, but it becomes harder and harder for those with this gift to challenge themselves. Without challenges, life becomes very boring so it is right that it is a burden to the individual for the benefit of the group. When we face obstacles we are forced to exert more energy to overcome them, and in doing so our reward is accomplishment. A life with few obstacles is the life of a genius and it probably leaves them unfulfilled. Many who find themselves gifted probably wish they weren't.

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    For Vindefense

    Perhaps I shouldn't press the point but you have me intrigued.

    This is the line that inspired my inquiry:

    ......genius or bad habits, which are nothing but obstacles

    Well, that is hard to say, but it becomes harder and harder for those with this gift to challenge themselves. Without challenges, life becomes very boring so it is right that it is a burden to the individual for the benefit of the group. When we face obstacles we are forced to exert more energy to overcome them, and in doing so our reward is accomplishment. A life with few obstacles is the life of a genius and it probably leaves them unfulfilled. Many who find themselves gifted probably wish they weren't.
    I have lived in the research bubble more than half my life so perhaps I am naive. The gifted people I have had the privilege of knowing challenge themselves so exhaustively they often forget to eat or sleep. For them there aren't enough hours in the day or days in a lifetime to pursue every gem of inspiration that lands in their hearts and minds. Nor are they greedy with their genius and freely share ideas, knowledge, inspiration, and assistance in every way possible. They couldn't be construed as a burden on their group; they are anything but bored. I simply haven't known a gifted person who wished he/she wasn't gifted even though all had obstacles/challenges in their lives, just like the rest of us.

    There are amazing examples in history to consider as well. Galileo and Einstein come to mind as having relatively "normal" lives. Conversely I think about Beethoven and Stephen Hawking (?sp) suffering severe obstacles that failed/fail to stifle their genius.

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    Quote Originally Posted by verdasmedley View Post
    This is the line that inspired my inquiry:

    ......genius or bad habits, which are nothing but obstacles
    I'm sorry, if you thought I was implying that genius was an obstacle in the sense that a bad habit is, no. I see how you could mis-interpret what I originally wrote, however I can see ways that genius is a burden for the individual and eventually a crutch for the community. Such as when communities no longer acknowledge the creative capabilities of the average and put all their expectations upon the above average. It seems ridiculous to me to expect 1% of the population to define the whole. As if the only way greatness for a culture can be achieved is through the gifted and not through hard work. The culture then suffers if genius becomes rarer. So it becomes a crutch, something we depend on to prove that we are great as a culture, while all the achievements that are reached through labor are ignored outright.

    I have lived in the research bubble more than half my life so perhaps I am naive. The gifted people I have had the privilege of knowing challenge themselves so exhaustively they often forget to eat or sleep. For them there aren't enough hours in the day or days in a lifetime to pursue every gem of inspiration that lands in their hearts and minds.
    I would think that this kind of pressure is a tremendous burden upon them. I can also see how it can interfere with ones personal life to the point where there would be a lack of dedication toward family life. Where one feels that if they do not act upon an ideal, instantaneously, it will be lost in a sea of ideals. Perhaps they are able to recover it later, perhaps not. The primary focus is on the ideal and the social aspect of life gets ignored. This could definitely put a strain on social interaction.

    Nor are they greedy with their genius and freely share ideas, knowledge, inspiration, and assistance in every way possible. They couldn't be construed as a burden on their group;
    No, they are never a burden on the group only to themselves. The group always benefits from their contribution. I can agree with that.


    They are anything but bored. I simply haven't known a gifted person who wished he/she wasn't gifted even though all had obstacles/challenges in their lives, just like the rest of us.
    Yes, as long as they are able to challenge themselves boredom is not an issue. But, I would think that this is where the strain comes. Where as someone with normal expectations may find contentment when they reach the stage of accomplishment, can it ever be reached for some one who has a never ending capacity for creativity?

    There are amazing examples in history to consider as well. Galileo and Einstein come to mind as having relatively "normal" lives. Conversely I think about Beethoven and Stephen Hawking (?sp) suffering severe obstacles that failed/fail to stifle their genius.
    Ha ha, what is a "normal" life? But really, I agree with you, we shouldn't forget about all the examples of those that were driven to madness either as all the studies linking creative genius to insanity show. Here's one

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    The social mechanism that drives achievement is struggle.
    Not struggle against windmills.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    If they fail and do not try again, then they are truly incapable.
    This is just the usual Disney hogwash, if you keep failing you are as incapable as you can get.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    If we want to see positive changes in our lives we have to make them.
    Hear, hear.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    Not struggle against windmills.
    Windmills? The defeated man, who believes his worth he owes to the state and blood alone, struggles in vain against the wind, never realizing that it is the windmill that he should dismantle.

    This is just the usual Disney hogwash, if you keep failing you are as incapable as you can get.
    You are only incapable when you resign to failure. Many men have failed miserably through life, only to complete the greatest of accomplishments toward their end. Simply because they never gave up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    Windmills?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    The defeated man, who believes his worth he owes to the state and blood alone, struggles in vain against the wind, never realizing that it is the windmill that he should dismantle.
    This is correct, but those who think that their blood, or their community, have no bearing at all, will ultimately fail as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    You are only incapable when you resign to failure.
    I agree, but just not resigning does not imply success, you can still fail.
    Even more so, if you resign, or not, might be something controlled by blood.
    Examples of people who once failed, but later achieved success do not contradict this statement in any way.

    I am not disagreeing with your analysis, I disagree with your conclusion.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stimme View Post
    Where are the great minds of the 21st century? Just where are they?
    Where is the Goethe of modern time, where is the Wagner of the present?
    How to answer this question? Can we do it empirically? By performing a search of 21st century innovations? Sure, but our technology has been exponentially advancing, so I doubt there is any drought of great minds. The question is: why do we not know about them? We need to determine why the frequency of their mention in our culture has declined.

    We could do a search on great innovations (technological, philosophical and/or artistic) in the past 100 years and compile a list of what the innovation is, who they are and date of contribution.

    Since the question is about "why we don't know about them" and not "why don't they exist". Then we can perform a search of key words associated with those great minds on information outlets, viz. education curricula databases/archives and media, to determine drops in the frequency of those "key words" through time. This will tell us when the cultural paradigm shift took place.

    Then we can perform another search on new philosophies to determine what bodies of thought increased in frequency around the time of the drop in "key words" associated with cultural dissemination about great minds.

    So we can find out:
    1. When the cultural paradigm shift took place (viz. when we stopped hearing about them).
    2. What caused the shift (viz. what new bodies of thought may have influenced this phenomenon).

    I'm pretty sure it should be very easy to predict the results.

    I predict that there will be a correlation between an increase in frequency of "Marxist" hits and a decrease in frequency of "great mind" hits.


    I suspect that one reason we don't hear about great minds because an overwhelming majority of them are white. We are well aware of the biased treatment we receive concerning our contributions to the world. When our historical contributions are mentioned they are attributed to "humanity", "mankind's progress", while when another race achieves something it is exaggerated with sounding trumpets, praise of glory and it is made clear that a non-white is responsible for it. Our contribution is ignored, while the contribution of other races is inflated so absurdly that many people believe other races have at least contributed on equal terms. This cannot happen, when there is such a vast difference between our contributions compared to the next contender, unless our contributions are muted and a grand distortion is at work. Very easily done with the control of information flow. To advertise our great minds whenever they appeared would be counter-productive to multiculturalism, etc., so it's not done. The last great mind we heard of since Einstein was Stephen Hawkings, but the PC connection here is obvious. Although, our technological advances have multiplied greatly, the only two great minds we heard of in the last 60 years are those two men; a Jew and a handicap. This should give you a clue as to who is in control of what the population knows about it's great minds.

    I think Jäger's point is very significant as well, perhaps even more so. That the power to determine fame has shifted from the elite to common man, but both the reason I suspect and Jäger's point have a common source.

    Anyways, I have not given too much thought to the above. So perhaps I am wrong. I was just kinda thinking "out-loud" on the spot.
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    For Vindedefense

    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    I'm sorry, if you thought I was implying that genius was an obstacle in the sense that a bad habit is, no. I see how you could mis-interpret what I originally wrote, however I can see ways that genius is a burden for the individual and eventually a crutch for the community. Such as when communities no longer acknowledge the creative capabilities of the average and put all their expectations upon the above average. It seems ridiculous to me to expect 1% of the population to define the whole. As if the only way greatness for a culture can be achieved is through the gifted and not through hard work. The culture then suffers if genius becomes rarer. So it becomes a crutch, something we depend on to prove that we are great as a culture, while all the achievements that are reached through labor are ignored outright.

    Okay, I now understand where you are going with this. In the contemporary world this is sadly true and I have an idea where some of it came from. I was in high school in the sixties (Good Grief! that makes me how old?). The prevailing indoctrination was "you must be a well-rounded person". Anyone with a spark of genius was shut down and driven off because they couldn't transition to being well-rounded. The world suffered and continues to suffer from the tragic loss including the immeasurable loss perpetuated by war, starvation, discrimination, greed, etc etc etc. My naivety stems from the fact that I spent 30+years studying tribal cultures and related human ecology. In most of these groups the survival of the tribe (food, clothing, shelter, medicine, spirituality, etc) was every individual's responsibilty and every individual was valued beyond measure. Each of them was believed gifted and irreplaceable. Consequently all gifts were nurtured and cultivated according to the nature of the individual even as that individual enjoyed free will as a birthright. This is the foundation of cummunity and we have been culturally reduced (world wide) to "whats in it for me".

    I would think that this kind of pressure is a tremendous burden upon them.

    Yes, that could be true but I am not sure it is any more or less true than it is with other types of burdens such as the loss of income, a sick child, a million other things.

    I can also see how it can interfere with ones personal life to the point where there would be a lack of dedication toward family life.

    I think this is a human problem, not unique to gifted people.

    Where one feels that if they do not act upon an ideal, instantaneously, it will be lost in a sea of ideals. Perhaps they are able to recover it later, perhaps not.

    Yes and no. I do know people who have been logging ideas for more than half a century. They usually remember them but some are not recovered. It is my belief that such ideas are put out into the universe and someone else will come along and pursue them.

    The primary focus is on the ideal and the social aspect of life gets ignored. This could definitely put a strain on social interaction.

    Not sure Jonas Saulk would agree with you here....or Carl Sagan.

    Yes, as long as they are able to challenge themselves boredom is not an issue. But, I would think that this is where the strain comes. Where as someone with normal expectations may find contentment when they reach the stage of accomplishment, can it ever be reached for some one who has a never ending capacity for creativity?

    Perhaps. Can't say that contentment is word I hear often, if ever, nor accomplishment. I feel accomplishment when I get my laundry done. My research will never end nor will I ever get to create all the art pieces in my head. And yet it doesn't bother me. I think this is true for gifted people as well. Ideas are the batons that they hand off to the young ones if they want them. If not the energy just gets released back into the universe. Its not really lost.

    Ha ha, what is a "normal" life? But really, I agree with you, we shouldn't forget about all the examples of those that were driven to madness either as all the studies linking creative genius to insanity show. Here's one
    That link was hilarious, I just loved it and laughed out loud. Yes, we are all mad as hatters, aren't we. It reminds me of a statement Truman Copote made. His family worried constantly about his indulgences so he finally agreed to go to therapy. And he was a three year devotee. He gave up alcohol and every other idiosycracy he had, for his family. After three years however, he couldn't write anymore so he went back to his idiosyncracies until the day he left.

    Thanks so much for this terrific conversation.

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