Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Genius in Being

I recently read a very frustrating article called "How to be Brilliant" by Annie Murphy Paul. The article explains how to become brilliant at one thing by not talent but dedication. These kinds of articles always have the usual good points such as taken isn't everything, you must use that talent and take I further. It always baffles me, however, that the articles inevitably talk concerning just one element or facet of our life. Why does every scientist or person seeking a solution to one problem forget that we are human BEINGS. They say sacrifice, give up friendships, family, other activities.... This might seem great to a scientist studying a lab rat but it is a horrible way to treat any being. Ultimately, no matter how great we end up being at something, at the end of our lives we inevitably look back on our journey. I believe people like Beethoven died miserably and pathetically alone. We call this genius. I think there is something incredibly wrong with this picture. I believe the genius is the person that can look back, at the end of their life, and see a well rounded life of love, friends, family, and yes even their art. The other things that involve humanity give humanity to the music. Perhaps this is why we are ever seeking "genius", because we picked one piece of a human and removed all of the other elements. Even the scientific aspects of our brain know better... We have multiple areas of our brain that we fail to tap, and yet we perpetually are furthering our narrowmindedness. Art and music themselves are endless and indescribable in words alone. True genius, I believe can be achieved by opening ourselves up to life.

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean. If you want a happy life, you really do have to be a well-balanced person. Yes, if you want to be a great musician, you will have to give up some things. For instance, if I choose to go down and spend a couple hours in the practice room, I am technically giving up a comfortable night at home catching a baseball game, giving a loved one a call, or getting homework done at a reasonable hour! However, there are certain things in life that not even something as wonderful as making music should interfere with. These include family, your children or spouse (if you have them), your faith if you are a religious person, a favorite non-musical interest or hobby, etc. The greatest music is made by real human beings. If musicians have to be pushed so hard that they can't be healthy, happy human beings, then there is something wrong.

    Just a thought, though: Beethoven lived a pretty lonely life. However, he was a fine composer who wrote fantastic music. Sometimes, the greatest music comes out of dire situations, like Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. This does not make it right Beethoven had to live a life like that, but we must remember that good music still can come out of unhappy situations. However, I agree no one should be pushed into a lonely life in a practice studio in order to become like Beethoven.