Is it better to be ordinary, than a genius?
Recently, someone from Concordia University, in Quebec, Montreal arrived on my blog with the search terms: “being ordinary is better than being a genius.” Are they right?
To be a genius is, necessarily, to be apart from others: their nature separates them from the mass, in ways which are unbridgeable. Yet, is this so bad?
The searcher seems to believe that it is better to be an ordinary person, unvisited by great talents. Now, from the point of view of “fitting in” this is quite clearly so. An ordinary person finds no difficulty in fitting into the mass around them. They are naturally accepted, for their evident commonalities. Their thoughts do not betray them as different. Their chosen actions are readily comprehended. Nothing that they do or are, is surprising to the general mass of people. I suppose this ready acceptance is what the searcher was thinking of. It should, therefore, be easier to be “happy” as an ordinary person, than to be “happy” as a genius. Yet is this meaningful?
A genius is, by definition, alone. They are innately singular in that their gifts distinguish them from all others. Some, therefore, might become lonely. Most however would find enough reward in their creative work, not to be overly concerned about a reasonable measure of personal isolation. Many geniuses in history were quite isolated. Yet, they lived fulfilling lives. In general, they received a great sense of achievement from their work, which, I suggest, to a great degree would have compensated for any relative lack in other areas.
Then again, even the greatest genius, usually finds enough adequate friends – adequate in the sense of sufficiently intelligent to be interesting to them – even if only by correspondence, to sustain them, socially. They may be relatively isolated, but they are usually not entirely so. The personal contact they have is enough to sustain them. After all the attention they give to their creative work, moderates their need for companionship, in direct proportion to their efforts. The more they work, the less need they have for others. Indeed, in those compelled to work creatively, the presence of others can seem, at times, to be an unwelcome distraction.
In a way, a genius can be more happy than an ordinary person. The reason is simple: a genius can find happiness in creative work, that an ordinary person could not even begin to do. Thus, the genius is not really deprived in the happiness department for they have access to sources of contentment not open to the common man. Thus, it can be seen that the genius is, in fact, luckier than the ordinary person in many ways. The genius can do what the ordinary man cannot and find pleasure in what the ordinary man cannot understand- but the genius can also do all the things that the ordinary man can do and find pleasure in all those things too.
So, the life of a typical genius might be “quieter” and more “isolated” than that of a typical ordinary person – but it is also richer, deeper and ultimately more satisfying.
So, my searcher was wrong in his or her supposition. It is most definitely better to be a genius, than an ordinary person.
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