Genius or Talent

Angel Anthriel Photo of the back of a partial female figure in bronze with an exposed interior structure by Blake Ward Blake Sculpture

Genius or talent? That is the question!

In Schopenhauer’s opinion “talent achieves what others cannot achieve, whereas genius achieves what others cannot imagine.” [1]

So how can we describe a genius?

The smallness of the ego is transcended by these creatures.

Schopenhauer explains, that they have the ability of deeper, much deeper objective contemplation that leads them away from themselves, away from ‘the will’.

Like being in a state of flow while creating.

One in which we are unaware of time, hunger, or cold.

The faculty of continued ‘pure’ perception, where one’s own interests and personality, one’s likes, and dreams are left behind.

This sustained contemplation allows for the creation of art as an expression of what has been learned, what has been assimilated.

This ability of operating while free from one’s ego, creating to gift the viewer with something we might have learned or understood, that experience of being lost in one’s own perception; that is genius.

Schopenhauer believes that mere mortals cannot even begin to appreciate such genius, as genius is defined over time as well.

While the talented will be hailed for their talent in the moment, in their zeitgeist, the genius will, so often, not be because he is not understood, so how can he be appreciated?

Still he, in Schopenhauer’s words: “lights on his age like a comet into the paths of the planets, to whose well-regulated and comprehensible arrangement its wholly eccentric course is foreign. Accordingly, he cannot go hand in hand with the regular course of the culture of the times as found; on the contrary, he casts his works far out on to the path in front (just as the emperor, giving himself up to death, flings his spear among the enemy), on which time has first to overtake them….Talent is like the marksman who hits a target which others cannot reach; genius is like the marksman who hits a target … which others cannot even see.” [2]

Written by Boky Hackel


2. Ibid.