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Fragments from Floyd

You May Not Be a Genius

Cover of "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Se...
Cover via Amazon

But you–yes you–have one.

In this TED talk, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, gently urges the hopeful creative soul to let go torturing themselves to “be creative” with the notion that, as other cultures have held, genius (think genie) is a force that acts through us, not an obligation upon us.

If you are are if you care for someone with creative pressures, careful attention to this 20 minute reflection is time well spent.

I have a thread of thought somewhere in my to-write-about stack based on the notion I heard in a sermon on the word “created” in the Bible.

The theologian remarked that the idea that humans create anything is historically a new one. Over most of our past, man has held the notion that only God creates–that forming the new from nothing (ex nihilo) is divine. And truly, most human creativity is derivative, as if we are passing down a legacy whose source extends to our very beginnings in ways we poorly understand.

That we ever hold that spark of creativity is a blessing; wanting to possess it and control it absolutely and always is a curse and a delusion. Think of the most creative among us who have suffered depression, alcoholism, and suicide from the mistaken oppression that society has placed on them to be perpetually and productively creative.

Genius comes when it will. We just have to show up to meet it–and be ready to reach out and hold it lightly and cherish its presence for as long as it will stay with us.

“Man hopes. Genius creates.”  ~ Emerson

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2 thoughts on “You May Not Be a Genius”

  1. Bravo! As a creative person I resonate with what you say. Many creative people, me included, say that their work came through them, as if something else is using the person. “That we ever hold that spark of creativity is a blessing.” Yes, I think that’s why the joy of creativity is primarily in the process. Thank you for succinctly expressing this idea.

  2. Great column Fred…

    Reminded of two things – the Latin for educate, educo which means “to lead out.” And the Marianne Williamson poem “My Greatest Fear.” It was used to great effect in “Akeelah and the Bee.” Music, athletics, writing, all the arts – the magic happens when we finally let go…

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