Heroic theory of Genius

Heroic Theory

Heroic Theory of Genius states that a genius is a hero possessing spiritual greatness, a magic talent, boundless courage, fearlessness of mind, demonic power and absolute and unlimited free will.

The heroic theory of genius considers a genius as a hero possessing spiritual greatness, magical gift, courage and fearlessness of mind, demonic power and absolute, conditioned by nothing and nobody, and freedom of will.
The hero-genius embodies Prometheus’ boldness and fearlessness, Faustian spirit of rebellion, struggle and domination over dense matter, thirst for activity, indomitable passion for self-affirmation and self-defeat, daring breakthroughs into new worlds and dimensions.
The heroic genius appears as a liberator, reformer and destroyer. He freely destroys unshakable rules, stereotypes, and standards, destroys the old, and bravely opposes outdated traditions and norms. However, the genius hero does not destroy for the sake of destruction, he does what he has to do, and simply brushes aside what prevents him.
The semantic generating centre that determines the essence of this theory is such a universal category, the ultimate foundation and primordial essence as freedom.
“Creativity,” wrote N. Berdyaev, “is the highest manifestation of freedom. Creativity is inseparable from freedom. Only the free creates. Only evolution is born of necessity; creativity is born of freedom… Freedom is a positive creative power, ungrounded and unconditioned, pouring from a bottomless source. Freedom is the power to create from nothing, the power of the spirit to create not from the natural world, but from itself. In genius,” he wrote, “the whole nature of the human spirit, its thirst for a different existence, trembles. In genius lies immensity. The nature of genius is revolutionary, and if talent is obedience, genius is boldness”.
Fundamentals of this understanding of genius were laid in the pre-Romantic literary movement in Germany (70s of the 18th century) “Storm and Sturm und Drang”, rebellious and heroic orientation of which gave grounds to call the period of their creativity as “Geniezeit” – “era of geniuses”. The leading representatives of this movement, J. H. Herder, J. W. Goethe and F. Schiller, in their work, sought to portray vivid, strong passions, outstanding characters and heroic deeds, thereby asserting the freedom of creative expression, the spirit of rebellious rebellion and the cult of “original genius”, (J. H. Herder) or “stormy and original genius” as a self-sufficient, outstanding, strong and daring creative individuality.
The understanding of genius as an absolutely free creator found further development in Romanticism, which revealed and deepened the content of the inner world of the creator, drawing attention to the “night” sides of the human soul, and the powerful elements of the human self, and also discovered new methods and mechanisms of self-expression and liberation of the artist from the world.
Based on the basic tenets of the Storm and Stress movement, as well as on the understanding of genius as a transcendental subject (I. Kant) and the absolute “Self” of J. G. Fichte), the outstanding representatives of the Jena school of Romanticism the brothers August and Friedrich Schlegel, Ludwig Tieck and Novalis proclaimed the principle of infinite freedom as the ideal basis for the life and work of the artist. “Romantic poetry, writes August Schlegel, on the other hand, is the expression of the secret attraction to a choas which lies concealed in the very bosom of the ordered universe, and is perpetually striving for marvellous births…”
The Romantics emphasized the powerful irrational nature of genius, the unconscious nature of his creative self-actualization, and the crucial importance of inspiration and intuitive revelations in his work.
In Romanticism, the creative genius is presented as the Artist-demiurge, the centre of the universe realizing himself predominantly in artistic creation and creating the world by the power of his imagination.
Romanticists asserted the dignity of the human personality, the absolute self-worth of its spiritual and creative life, emphasized its universality, the inexpressible wealth of inner content and the depths of the human spirit, as well as the indomitable desire for self-affirmation of its original, primordial and original individuality.
This understanding of genius found expression in the images of romantic heroes who appear as an artist striving for boundless creative freedom, lonely heroes, romantic individualist rebels ( Byron), a gifted man who, overcome all the mundane and obsolete and reject the condemnation of others, proudly follows his own path (Delacroix).
Suffering” writes E. Delacroix in his journal, forced him to call to his aid all his strength, all the countless treasures of energy in his soul. It was this instinct to resist all injustice that first awakened his dormant genius and was the source of his greatness and courage.
At the same time, the way of self-expression and the very existence of a genius is creativity, which is the way of gaining absolute inner freedom and the method of overcoming dependence on the world of everyday life.
Creativity, according to Novalis, is a never-ending process of play that is valued in and of itself as a process of overcoming oneself, of surpassing oneself. In addition, irony plays an irreplaceable role in the process of human elevation. F. Schlegel wrote: A person endowed with an ironic worldview appears as a supremely free artist, freely creating himself and the world around him.
Irony creates a mood “which looks down on all things from above, infinitely rising above everything conditioned, including his own art, virtue and genius.
The Romantic understanding of genius was further developed in the “cult of the hero” of Thomas Carlyle, whose worldview was shaped by Goethe, Fichte, Schelling, the Schlegel brothers and Novalis.
The richness of the world, Carlyle believed, consists precisely in original, great people, whom he called heroes. At the same time, he saw in great men something miraculous and supernatural, and he understood the hero himself as having an extraordinary talent and being sent into the world by providence. His life is a part of the life of the eternal heart of nature itself, his soul is open to the divine meaning of life and true reality and he appears precisely to proclaim, as he can, that reality.
Т. Carlyle believed that world history is the history, the biography of great men, and heroes, who in different eras appear as heroes – God (Odin), hero – prophet (Mohammed), hero – poet (Dante – Shakespeare), hero – preacher (Luther, Knox), hero – writer (Johnson, Rousseau, Burns), hero – leader (Cromwell, Napoleon). All things existing in the world are the embodiment of their thoughts and aspirations. This last form of heroism, writes T. Carlyle, the hero in the image of a leader, is “in truth the greatest of the great.
He practically, in fact, embodies in himself all the various forms of heroism: pastor, teacher, in general, every kind of earthly and spiritual virtue that only we can imagine in man. He writes of Cromwell: Thus a strong and decisive man restored against himself all men who adhered to lifeless formulas and empty logical deductions. He had the audacity to turn to the direct fact, to reality itself, and ask: would it support him or not?
The veneration of heroes, concludes T. Carlyle, a great subject, the most serious and the most extensive that I know, and which I designate with these words.
Genius as a profound expression and unfolding of the idea of freedom has been asserted with particular force in all directions of existentialism. Following N. Berdyaev, J. P. Sartre and R. May believed that man’s ability to create himself and the world is a consequence of his freedom, which is primarily manifested in the freedom of consciousness and the possibility of conscious choice.
The greatness of a man is in the rejection of the slave fate, in the capacity for permanent rebellion against the absurd and imperfect world, and against the meaninglessness of human existence. Genius is manifested in the courage to be oneself and to create, to take responsibility and to make fateful choices. Freedom is realized only in concrete action, and there is no other genius than the one that expresses itself in works of art.
К. Jaspers, using the pathographic analysis of the works of Strindberg, Van Gogh, Swedenborg and Hölderlin, offered his own, close to Romanticism and Nietzsche’s concept of genius as a sublime and solitary, proud creator who asserts himself in his own self. If we put aside all the pathological syndromes that do not concern the essence of these geniuses, we can highlight the following definitions by K. Jaspers: The proper worldview substance of Strindberg is scepticism and game-testing of everything.
Describing Van Gogh’s letters, which K. Jaspers, considered a vivid expression of his worldview, existential, highly ethical thought, “an expression of unconditional truthfulness, deep irrational faith, infinite love, noble humanity, – an expression of unshakable amor fati.
Albert Camus argued that authentic creativity is always revolutionary in its own way. Rebellion in art continues and culminates in true creativity. All creativity by its very existence denies the world of master and slave. Every rebel seeks through style to impose his law on the world, although only a few geniuses succeed. At the same time, Camus adds, that “genius is a rebellion that has created its own limits”.
That is why, no matter what they say today, genius is incompatible with denial and utter hopelessness. At the same time, genius takes as his ally the beauty of the world or man, opposing the forces of death and oblivion. This is why his rebellion takes on a creative character.
G. Marcel believed that genius constantly eludes itself, surpasses itself, and transcends in every possible sense. The freedom of the philosopher and the great artist is rooted in being, that is, outside it, in a zone that is transcendent in relation to every possible possession.

The demonic (from Greek diamond – demon, demigod ) theory of genius considers genius to be a rebel and destroyer who overturn concepts, values and bases. The absolutization of ideas of total freedom, self-induced activity, struggle and force transform a genius hero into a genius rebel and great destroyer.
The demonic theory of genius presents the genius as a rebel, a destroyer, and a subversive of concepts, values, foundations and foundations. The absolutization of the ideas of unconditioned freedom, self-sufficient activity, struggle and a force led to the transformation of the heroic genius into a rebellious genius and a great destroyer. He is characterized by a self-sufficient passion for the fundamentally new, a daring aspiration toward the unknown, and a desire for permanent novelty.
“The romantic hero is ‘fatal’ also because along with the growth of his power and genius in him the power of evil grows, – wrote A. Camus. At the same time, all power, all excess is covered by the formula “It cannot be otherwise.”
“One of the characteristic traits of Genius, says E. Gello, is extreme in everything. He is by nature violent and fundamentally intolerant.
М. Nordau wrote, that genius neither speaks nor writes, but acts, that is, orders other people and the forces of nature…He wants and does what he wants.
N.V. Goncharenko wrote that people have always been attracted to geniuses by the courage of ideas and fearlessness of great minds, their overthrow of dogmas and seemingly immutable traditions, social taboos and unquestionable authorities.
The awareness of the exceptionality of his “Self” and the experience of it as the highest value turns the hero into a proud and arrogant demon possessing infinite impudence, absolute, hypertrophied subjectivity and unlimited freedom. For him there are no boundaries and limits, he despises, destroys and easily transgresses the rules, fearlessly plunges into the abyss of irrationality and freedom, from which he draws universal life energy.
The destructive genius courageously denies his selfish, atomic, petty self as well. Leo Tolstoy wrote, that the man who renounces his personality is powerful because the personality has hidden God in him.
The human “I” is ontological and fundamentally indestructible; renouncing it, man inexorably meets it, but already new, transformed, qualitatively higher. The courage of self-denial, the creative overcoming of one’s own limitations, is the risk of giving up one’s actual self in order to find a higher self, but a self of essence, unique, and even more powerful, distinctive and inimitable.
Kierkegaard, who dared to destroy Hegel’s “totalitarian” philosophical system, is equally courageous in renouncing his everyday human happiness. Believing that the most important battles must be fought in the fields of inner life, he chose for himself “inner rebellion,” the renunciation of personal happiness.
Before refusing his bride, he wrote: “To marry means to absolutize a woman he accidentally meets, but since this is impossible, the fate of the one who chooses the Absolute is the despair of solitude… By choosing the Absolute, I choose despair, by choosing despair, I choose the Absolute because the Absolute is myself; I myself assume the Absolute, that is, I myself express the Absolute: in other words, by choosing the Absolute, I choose myself.”
L. Shestov wrote about Kierkegaard: “he thought in order to live and did not live in order to think”.
Nietzsche used methodical negation, the assiduous destruction of everything that fell within the field of his reflection. “If a temple is to be erected a temple must be destroyed: that is the law.” The essence of genius in Nietzsche’s theory manifests itself in the absolute, unconditioned freedom of the superhuman.
Nietzsche overcomes everything petty and despicable, destroys the life instincts of the philistine, destroys the norms of morality, reevaluates values and, at the limit of his purifying negation, calls for a change in the very limiting preconditions that set the conditions for the existence of values themselves and determine the movement of reason.
In conclusion, Nietzsche overcomes his own self, renouncing everything ordinary and mundane.
N. Berdyaev wrote of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Zarathustra’s hatred of the last man who invented happiness is a sacred hatred of the degrading lie of humanism. Zarathustra preaches creativity, not happiness, he calls for climbing mountains, not for bliss on the plain. Humanism is flat, humanism cannot stand mountains. Nietzsche had sensed, as no one has ever done throughout history, the creative vocation of man, which neither pontifical anthropology nor humanistic anthropology had been aware of.
Л. Pauvell and J. Bergier argued that creative achievements were often accompanied by vivid, strong demonic experiences. Thus Edison, Tesla, and Armstrong, trying to penetrate the deep laws of a reality beyond their control, reacted angrily, and passionately, submitting to demonic feelings. In their view, these feelings underlie the new creative experiences that give access to the “world consciousness” and open the way to the achievement of superpowers and the birth of a new man.
So, in his time, J. W. Goethe also argued that the demonic … manifests itself only in an unconditionally positive active force, i.e. in creativity, and it is rather peculiar to musicians.
However, Goethe has understood the demonic not as “God” but rather as Providence.
And in science itself, creative genius is also characterized by the desire to go beyond the given and situational. E. Churé wrote of Pythagoras that his genius was freedom. “The act of the will, united with the action of reason, is only a mathematical point, but from this point proceeds the spiritual universe.
Paul Fairband wrote? that all methodological prescriptions have their limits, and the only rule that survives is the rule of “everything is going”.