13 April 2015

Perils of Becoming a Genius

It's easy to call anyone who does an extraordinary act a Genius. I do it all the time and in the process blur the line that separates real genius from average-thinking people like myself. I like listening to intelligent people talk about solutions or mere concepts that propel the progress in our civilization. To me, visionaries are considered genius regardless of their IQ level. However there are organizations, particularly the Mensa, which standardize the tool used in singling out genius from the rest.  I think it's just fair that the top 2% of the population belong in an elite club where they can enjoy privileges worthy of their brilliance. They deserve it. I applaud all kinds of genius because their minds are the modern weapon, so to speak.

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Top: H&M | Skirt, belt: from Tutuban Mall in Divisoria | Shoes: CMG | Bag: Fossil | Necklace: Pull & Bear | Bangle: from Platinum Mall in Thailand

These photos were taken last 8 March, serving as my Dad's second birthday celebration with my cousins here. Everyone was feeling lazy then, not even wanting to go out so we opted for a nearby restaurant where we can come in our pambahay and have no one frown upon our get-up (I can't let go of my heels though). Bonus points for the karaoke inside the room. I love singing! We ate in Seafood Paluto in Daang-Hari, a 15-20-minute drive from Alabang. The first celebration is HERE.

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It's just fitting that when I talk of genius, I actually think of the author of my favorite book - Oscar Wilde. When someone is capable of shutting up his detractor not by force but by words, and make the latter realize the extent of his stupidity and subsequently become the cause of his eternal embarrassment, then he is my Mr. Miyagi (I'm a huge fan of the Ralph Macchio - Pat Morita's Karate Kid).  Anyway. When we read novels that speak to us beyond the themes present in them, we wish that the author lived in our times just so we can hit him with a Hi-Hello-you're-a-genius-can-we-be-friends note. Certainly an email will suffice (at least for Jodi Picoult who patiently responds to my fanmails). I haven't read from a more illustrious author who can romanticize insults and make the recipient look forward to it. By anyone's standards, Wilde is a literary genius.

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Another genius I look up to is Stephen Hawking. I first knew of him when I saw him in an episode of The Simpsons where he told Lisa that "sometimes even the most intelligent are fallible". Of course then it wasn't his wisdom that made me remember him but his wheelchair attached to the computer that aided his speech. For a 12 year old girl, his physical appearance was greatly alarming and fascinating at the same time. It was only years later (I think I was 19 then), when I picked up a copy of his A Brief of History of Time that I was astounded by him for the right reasons. To be fair, I did not understand almost anything in the book despite his attempt to dumb down the explanations. I got a few things though such as, he does not believe that the biblical God is responsible for the universe. What can I do, my mind is more inclined to understand the controversial over the scientific that composed the bulk of the book. Anyway. Since then, I tried to learn as much about him as possible. I saw Benedict Cumberbatch' Hawking (which was terrific!) and later on, I watched Eddie Redmayne's The Theory of Everything (which was even more terrific). I haven't read the novel from which it was based but the movie was good enough to complement what I already know of him. I'm a fan! Wow. Of all the things he stands for, I guess the best piece of wisdom he shares is his warning to everyone about developing a machine that is more advanced than the human counterpart. He's among the most prominent beneficiaries of Artificial Intelligence yet he's also among the most prominent who warns against its danger.

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But there are dangers associated to big minds. Perhaps Sherlock Holmes and Sheldon Cooper, although both are only fictional characters, embody the concept that when someone has too much of a thing, he also has something that is lacking. Most often, a high IQ begets a low EQ. The idea of "putting one's self into another's shoe" that we learn when we are young is not something that is present in a genius. And then there's hubris. It comes with the territory, I guess. When someone knows that he is superior, it is expected that he thinks he's incapable of being wrong. There are other perils in being a genius but I'm most particular about the Genius' difficulty in forging relationships the way others his age can. What prompted me to talk about this topic is knowing that someone I care for deeply is due to take tests that will determine if she's a genius or someone with a different condition. Ever since she was born, she has been different. She's only 5 years old yet her command of Math, reading, and Science are advanced. She's so good in academics yet she has problems in relating to anyone. A few days ago, her doctors advised her parents to have her checked because her brain movements are much advanced compared to her peers. People like her need more attention than say, people like me whose difference from others is only rooted on shallow views. And people like her will demand special attention for the rest of their lives.

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The final verdict? For someone who wishes to leave an imprint on the world when it's my time to leave, it's easy to wish for a brain that's more than capable. Those with genius-level capabilities tend to make impact on the world more than the rest. But when I get right down to it, they suffer from a difficulty that the rest do not even know of. It's difficult to say which group has the better in life. But personally, I'm somehow contented with the limited thinking that I possess because in a world where relating to someone else is very important for survival, an equal level of IQ and EQ is most effective. Or maybe it's just the Marketing graduate in me whose training is all about connecting people.

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