Genius and Genes!

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The people who have produced enduring works of art, music compositions and made significant discoveries in the fields of mathematics, Sciences and medicine are few and far between! Why? It is because Genius is a rare commodity!

Sir Francis Galton, a pioneer in the measurement of human intelligence, wanted to discover the role played by hereditary and environment in the making of a genius. Was genius a matter of hereditary? Logically, the best families sending their children to best schools are more likely to produce the best creative brains!

But genius does not run in families! It appears at the most unexpected and unlikely places. According to Shakespeare who came from an undistinguished family, ”Genius is not of genius born!”

E.T Bell examined the background of 28 of the world’s greatest mathematicians in his book “Men of Mathematics”. He found very little evidence of inherited ability. Most of the mathematicians came from families which had nothing to do with mathematics.

Fermat’s father was a leather merchant; Pascal’s father was a local judge; Bernoulli came from a family of traders; Euler’s father was a pastor; Laplace’s father was a farm laborer; Gauss was the son of a poor working class parents and Srinivasa Ramanujam came from a peasant stock.

Obviously we can breed race horses but not geniuses. Is creativity a by product of a high I.Q? Geniuses are clever people but all clever people are not geniuses. There is very little connection between high I.Q and creativity. Many geniuses had very poor academic achievements.

A person becomes a genius, since he thinks differently and divergently. He approaches a problem from different angles and shelves it temporarily. The incubation yields the desired results at the most unexpected moment.

A genius has a high motivation. He does not care for money of fame, but the work itself is his reward. Very often genius deviates from the established facts. For this reason the work of a genius is ignored, ridiculed, challenged and belittled by the intellectual establishment. Only much later he and his work get accepted and acclaimed.

Yes! Truly “Genius is not born out of genes.”

Visalakshi Ramani