Quotes about Genius

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2. Universe theories of Genius

The universe approach to genius assumes that it is based on universal generating and sense formatting primal essences which are metatheoretical and supercultural explications of the Absolute.

  Table 3.  Universe Theories of Genius

Whole
Theory of Universality
Possibility
Metapotention theory
Absolute
Universe – personalistic theory
Interaction
Congregative theory
Freedom
Heroic theory

 

1. Heroic theory of genius considers that a genius is a hero possessing a spiritual greatness, a magic talent, boundless courage, fearlessness of mind, demonic power and absolute and unlimited free will.
Demonic theory (from Greek diamond – demon, demigod) of genius considers genius to be a rebel and destroyer who overturn concepts, values and bases. Absolutization of ideas of total freedom, self-induced activity, struggle and force transform a genius-hero into a genius-rebel and great destroyer.

However smothered under former negligence, or scattered through the dull, dark mass of common thoughts – let thy genius rise as the sun from chaos.
Edward Young (3 July 1683 – 5 April 1765), English poet

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decisions, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe(28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832), German poet, writer and philosopher

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.
William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827), English poet, painter

…talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice.
Carl von Clausewitz (1 June 1780 – 16 November 1831), Prussian general and military theorist

Society is a republic. When an individual endeavors to lift himself above his fellows, he is dragged down by the mass, either by means of ridicule or of calumny. No one shall be more virtuous or more intellectually gifted than others. Whoever, by the irresistable force of genius, rises above the common herd is certain to be ostracized by society, which will pursue him with such merciless derision and detraction that at last he will be compelled to retreat into the solitude of his thoughts.
Heinrich Heine (13 December 1797 – 17 February 1856), German poet and essayist

The man of genius does not steal, he conquers.
Alexandre Dumas (24 July 1802 – 5 December 1870), French writer

It is easy to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who, in the midst of the crowd, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), American philosopher, essayist, and poet

Towering genius disdains a beaten path… It sees no distinction in adding story to story… It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it…
Abraham Lincoln ( February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865), the 16th President of the United State

Geniuses are like thunderstorms. They go against the wind, terrify people, cleanse the air.
Søren Kierkegaard (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855), Danish philosopher, theologian, poet

The Man of Genius may at the same time be, indeed is commonly, an Artist, but the two are not to be confounded. The Man of Genius, referred to mankind, is an originator, an inspired or demonic man, who produces a perfect work in obedience to laws yet unexplored. The artist is he who detects and applies the law from observation of the works of Genius, whether of man or nature. The Artisan is he who merely applies the rules which others have detected. There has been no man of pure Genius, as there has been none wholly destitute of Genius.
Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862), American author, poet and philosopher

Genius is a light which makes the darkness visible, like the lightning’s flash, which perchance shatters the temple of knowledge itself–and not a taper lighted at the hearthstone of the race, which pales before the light of common day.”
Henry David Thoreau

Freedom is the only law which genius knows.
James Russell Lowell ( February 22, 1819 – August 12, 1891), American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat

Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the madness with which you should be cleansed? Behold, I show you the Superman. He is this lightning, he is this madness.
Friedrich Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900), German philosopher 

Genius is talent set on fire by courage.
Henry van Dyke (November 10, 1852 – April 10, 1933), American author, educator

Genius moves to creation, not to destruction. Only a very few have combined both.
Edith Hamilton (August 12, 1867 – May 31, 1963), American educator and author

Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.
Bertrand Russell (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), British philosopher, logician, mathematician

All genius is a conquering of chaos and mystery.
Otto Weininger (April 3, 1880 – October 4, 1903), Austrian philosopher

The only geniuses produced by the chaos of society are those who do something about it. Chaos breeds geniuses. It offers a man something to be a genius about.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990), American psychologist, behaviorist

The genius of a composer is found in the notes of his music; but analyzing the notes will not reveal his genius. The poet’s greatness is contained in his words; yet the study of his words will not disclose his inspiration. God reveals himself in creation; but scrutinize creation as minutely as you wish, you will not find God, any more than you will find the soul through careful examination of your body.
Anthony de Mello (4 September 1931 – 2 June 1987), Indian spiritual teacher, Jesuit priest and psychotherapist

Some of Shakespeare’s fellow playwrights, like Christopher Marlowe, did have university degrees, but the fact is that many of the greatest authors in history never set foot in college. Geniuses are geniuses precisely because they do not play by the ordinary rules.
Paul A. Cantor (born 1945), American literary and media critic

True genius does not understand the word fear – instead, the sails are set by hope of unseen shores.
Todd Plough (born 1965), American artist

Courage is seeking a rainbow within a storm.
Genius is finding it.
Manoj Vaz, Indian author

2. Metapotention theory (from Greek meta – through, from Lat. potentia – force, posibility) sees the essence of genius in his aspiration , talent and ability to expand the horizons and to gain new substantial spaces, to construct new worlds and integrities, to create new concepts, paradigms and directions in art, to open new semantic dimensions and widen the borders of possibilities.

 There may be two or three or four steps, according to the genius of each, but for every seeing soul there are two absorbing facts, –I and the abyss.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), American philosopher, essayist, and poet

The true genius shudders at incompleteness — imperfection — and usually prefers silence to saying the something which is not everything that should be said.
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, editor, and literary critic

Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel (September 27, 1821– May 11, 1881), Swiss moral philosopher, poet, and critic

A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.
Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955), German-born theoretical physicist

I know that the twelve notes in each octave and the varieties of rhythm offer me the opportunities that all of human genius will never exhaust.
Igor Stravinsky (17 June 1882 – 6 April 1971) Russian (French and American) composer, pianist and conductor

The task of genius
is to keep the miracle alive,
to live always in the miracle,
to make the miracle more and more miraculous,
to swear allegiance to nothing,
but live only miraculously,
think only miraculously,
die miraculously.
Henry Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980), American writer

In every idea of genius or in every new human idea, or, more simply still, in every serious human idea born in anyone’s brain, there is something that cannot possibly be conveyed to others.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881), Russian writer, essayist, and philosopher

This is the nature of genius, to be able to grasp the knowable even when no one else recognizes that it is present.
Deepak Chopra (born October 22, 1947), Indian American author, public speaker

Genius is the true mystery, and at its edge – the abyss.
Guillermo del Toro (born October 9, 1964), Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist

3. Theory of Universality (from Lat. universalis – universal, global, referring to the universe) states that a genius has a unique blend of creative talents, a special psychic organization which reflects the invariant structure of the universe. At this the essential feature of a genius is his universality which includes broad-mindedness, versatility of talent, diversity of interests, extraordinary erudition and ability to achieve outstanding results in various branches of human activity.

No man’s genius, however shining, can raise him from obscurity, unless he has industry, opportunity, and also a patron to recommend him.
Pliny the Younger (61 – c. 113), Ancient Roman lawyer, author

It is obvious that the efforts of the best poets and aesthetic writers of all nations have now for some time been directed towards what is universal in humanity. In each special field, whether in history, mythology, or fiction, more or less arbitrarily conceived, one sees the traits which are universal always more clearly revealed and illumining what is merely national and personal . . . . we cannot indeed hope that universal peace is being ushered in thereby, but only that inevitable strife will be gradually more restrained, war will become less cruel, and victory less insolent . . . . A genuine, universal tolerance is most surely attained, if we do not quarrel with the peculiar characteristics of individual men and races, but only hold fast the conviction, that what is truly excellent is distinguished by its belonging to all mankind. (Letter to Thomas Carlyle, 20 July 1837).
Johann Wolfgang Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832), German poet, writer and philosopher

Genius differs from talent not by the amount of original thoughts, but by making the latter fertile and by positioning them properly, in other words, by integrating everything into a whole, whereas talent produces only fragments, no matter how beautiful.
Franz Grillparzer (15 January 1791 – 21 January 1872), Austrian writer

I believe in Eternity. I can find Greece, Palestine, Italy, Spain, and the Islands, – the Genius and creative Principle of each and of all eras, in my own mind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), American philosopher, essayist, and poet

Genius holds its universal dominion because it touches the deepest suggestions and utters the multiform experiences of a common nature.
Edwin Hubbell Chapin (December 29, 1814 – December 26, 1880), American preacher and editor

I was a man who stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age…The gods had given me almost everything. I had genius, a distinguished name, high social position, brilliancy, intellectual daring; I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art: I altered the minds of men and the colour of things: there was nothing I said or did that did not make people wonder…I treated Art as the supreme reality, and life as a mere mode of fiction: I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me: I summed up all systems in a phrase, and all existence in an epigram.
Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900), Irish playwright, novelist, and poet

I have put my genius into my life; all I’ve put into my work is my talent.
Oscar Wilde

Put your talent into your work, but your genius into your life.
Oscar Wilde

Talent without genius isn’t much, but genius without talent is nothing whatever.
Paul Valery (30 October 1871 – 20 July 1945), French poet, essayist, and philosopher

Universality is the distinguishing mark of genius. There is no such thing as a special genius, a genius for mathematics, or for music, or even for chess, but only a universal genius. The genius is a man who knows everything without having learned it.
Otto Weininger (April 3, 1880 – October 4, 1903), Austrian philosopher

The genius, therefore, is a more complicated, more richly endowed, more varied man; and a man is the closer to being a genius the more men he has in his personality, and the more really and strongly he has these others within him. If comprehension of those about him only flickers in him like a poor candle, then he is unable, like the great poet, to kindle a mighty flame in his heroes, to give distinction and character to his creations. The ideal of an artistic genius is to live in all men, to lose himself in all men, to reveal himself in multitudes; and so also the aim of the philosopher is to discover all others in himself, to fuse them into a unit which is his own unit.
Otto Weininger

4. Congregative theory (from Lat. congregatio – integration) of genius suggests that the essence of the nature of a genius is manifested in his willingness and ability to unite various layers and spheres of reality, in binding, converging and collecting the worlds, in a productive combination of different directions, forms and genres of art .

Genius . . . that energy which collects, combines, amplifies, and animates.
Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709 – 13 December 1784), English writer, poet, literary critic

Genius is finding the invisible link between things.
Vladimir Nabokov (22 April 1899 – 2 July 1977), Russian-American novelist

A great scientist once said that genius consists not in making great discoveries but in seeing the connection between small discoveries.
Walker Percy (May 28, 1916 – May 10, 1990), American author

Art is the supreme communicator of diverse cultures and ideas in a common frame of understanding, a virtual bridge across time. It is also the universal link into genius.
Edward J. Fraughton (born March 22, 1939), American artist, sculptor and inventor

Like the highly playful child with a pailful of Legos, a genius is constantly combining and recombining ideas, images and thoughts into different combinations in their conscious and subconscious minds.
Michael Michalko, American creative thinking expert and the author of “’Thinkertoys”

5. Universe-personalistic theory(from Lat. universum – a single Universe, Latin unio – unity, versum – towards … or verso-twist, rotate, and from lat. persona – person, separate entity) of genius maintains that a genius has a universal gift to capture , expierence, transmit and embody in his work the spirit of the Universe and Eternity, to fill his works with the highest human values and ultimate meaning as well as the ability to reach the state of creative consciousness, to acquire a vision of reality from the standpoint of the Absolute, to translate this vision into reality and transmit it to other people.

The greatest genius will never be worth much if he pretends to draw exclusively from his own resources.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe(28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832), German poet, writer and philosopher

Scholars are those who have read in books, but thinkers, men of genius, world-enlighteners, and reformers of the human race are those who have read directly in the book of the world.
Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860), German philosopher

What makes men of genius, or rather, what they make, is not new ideas, it is that idea – possessing them – that what has been said has still not been said enough.
Eugene Delacroix (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863), French Romantic artist

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885), French poet, novelist, and dramatist

Genius is a promontory jutting out of the infinite.
Victor Hugo

The greatest genius is the most indebted person.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), American philosopher, essayist, and poet

Genius is religious.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Talent is that which is in a man’s power; genius is that in whose power man is.
James Russell Lowell ( February 22, 1819 – August 12, 1891), American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat

Of the three prerequisites of genius; the first is soul; the second is soul; and third is soul.
Edwin Percy Whipple (March 8, 1819 – June 16, 1886), American essayist and critic

Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.
Henri Frédéric Amiel (September 27, 1821 – May 11, 1881), Swiss moral philosopher, poet, and critic

Talent isn’t genius and no amount of energy can make it so
Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888), American novelist and poet

I was a man who stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age…The gods had given me almost everything. I had genius, a distinguished name, high social position, brilliancy, intellectual daring; I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art: I altered the minds of men and the colour of things: there was nothing I said or did that did not make people wonder…I treated Art as the supreme reality, and life as a mere mode of fiction: I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me: I summed up all systems in a phrase, and all existence in an epigram.
Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900), Irish playwright, novelist, and poet

I understood that what I needed to become the first poet of this century is to experience everything in my body. It’s no longer enough for me to be one person, I decided to be everyone. I decided to be a genius. I decided to originate the future.
Arthur Rimbaud (20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891), French poet

God thinks within geniuses, dreams within poets, and sleeps within the rest of us.
Peter Altenberg (9 March 1859 – 8 January 1919), Austrian writer and poet

No, I don’t admire the genius. But I admire and love the result of the genius’s activity in the world, of which the great man is only the poor necessary tool, only, so to speak, the paltry awl to bore with.
Knut Hamsun (August 4, 1859 – February 19, 1952), Norwegian author

The ego of the genius accordingly is simply itself universal comprehension, the centre of infinite space; the great man contains the whole universe within himself; genius is the living microcosm. He is not an intricate mosaic, a chemical combination of an infinite number of elements; the argument in chap. iv. as to his relation to other men and things must not be taken in that sense; he is everything. In him and through him all psychical manifestations cohere and are real experiences, not an elaborate piece-work, a whole put together from parts in the fashion of science. For the genius the ego is the all, lives as the all; the genius sees nature and all existences as whole; the relations of things flash on him intuitively; he has not to build bridges of stones between them.
Otto Weininger (April 3, 1880 – October 4, 1903), Austrian philosopher

I’ve often observed that God can use anyone in the furtherance of teleology, exploiting the good through their strengths and the bad through their weaknesses. His true servants, on the other hand, need not be exploited at all, but voluntarily adopt His will as their own. Doing that properly, as opposed to deluding oneself in a spirit of blind egoism, naturally requires and confers a measure of genius.
Christopher Michael Langan (born c. 1952) is an American whose IQ was reported to be between 195 and 210

5.1 Imperative-Substantial theory (from Lat. imperatum – order, command , prescription; from Lat. substantialis-essential, which has an independent existence, ) of genius says that a genius is determined by universe-and-personality determinants which represent a stable resonant interaction of awakening creative structures with isomorphic creative plans of the Universe, fusion and solidification of the energy of a creative instinct and internalized socio-cultural creative imperative. At this case deploying of internal and universal creative structures which is a realization of a creative impulse, brings a deep inner satisfaction and a genuine supreme joy.

Time, place, and action may with pains be wrought, / Genius must be born, and never can be taught.
John Dryden (19 August 1631 – 12 May 1700), English poet, literary critic, and playwright

Could we teach taste or genius by rules, they would be no longer taste and genius.
Joshua Reynolds (16 July 1723 – 23 February 1792), English painter

The painter of genius will not waste a moment upon those smaller objects which only serve to catch the sense, to divide the attention, and to counteract his great design of speaking to the heart.
Joshua Reynolds

Genius is a talent for producing something for which no determinate rule can be given, not a predisposition consisting of a skill for something that can be learned by following some rule or other.
Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804), German philosopher

Genius is, to be sure, not a matter of arbitrariness, but rather of freedom, just as wit, love, and faith, which once shall become arts and disciplines. We should demand genius from everybody, without, however, expecting it.
Friedrich Schlegel (10 March 1772 – 12 January 1829), German poet, literary critic, philosopher

Talent is the capacity of doing anything that depends on application and industry; it is a voluntary power, while genius is involuntary.
William Hazlitt (10 April 1778 – 18 September 1830), English writer , painter and philosopher

Talent works for money and fame; the motive which moves genius to productivity is, on the other hand, less easy to determine. It isn’t money, for genius seldom gets any. It isn’t fame: fame is too uncertain and, more closely considered, of too little worth. Nor is it strictly for its own pleasure, for the great exertion involved almost outweighs the pleasure. It is rather an instinct of a unique sort by virtue of which the individual possessed of genius is impelled to express what he has seen and felt in enduring works without being conscious of any further motivation. It takes place, by and large, with the same sort of necessity as a tree brings forth fruit, and demands of the world no more than a soil on which the individual can flourish.
Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860), German philosopher

Genius is its own reward; for the best that one is, one must necessarily be for oneself… Further, genius consists in the working of the free intellect., and as a consequence the productions of genius serve no useful purpose. The work of genius may be music, philosophy, painting, or poetry; it is nothing for use or profit. To be useless and unprofitable is one of the characteristics of genius; it is their patent of nobility.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Genius does what it must and talent does what it can.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (25 May 1803 – 18 January 1873), English novelist, poet, playwright

In following the strong bent of his genius, he was self assured that he should ‘create the taste by which he is to be enjoyed.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), American philosopher, essayist, and poet

Genius is a steed too fiery for the plow or the cart.
Henry Ward Beecher (June 24, 1813 – March 8, 1887), American clergyman, social reformer, and speaker

Talent is that which is in man’s power. Genius is that whose power a man is.
James Russell Lowell ( February 22, 1819 – August 12, 1891), American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat

Nature is the master of talents; genius is the master of nature.
Josiah Gilbert Holland (July 24, 1819 – October 12, 1881), American novelist and poet

To do easily what is difficult for others is the mark of talent. To do what is impossible for talent is the mark of genius.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel (September 27, 1821– May 11, 1881), Swiss moral philosopher, poet, and critic

Genius does what it must, and Talent does what it can.
Owen Meredith (8 November 1831 – 24 November 1891), English statesman and poet

Greatness is not the gift of majorities; it cannot be thrust upon any man; men cannot give it to another; they can give place and power, but not greatness. The place does not make the man, nor the scepter the king. Greatness is from within.
Robert Ingersoll (August 11, 1833 – July 21, 1899), American lawyer, political leader

God’s revelation does not need the light of human genius, the polish and strength of human culture, the brilliancy of human thought, the force of human brains to adorn or enforce it; but it does demand the simplicity, the docility, humility, and faith of a child’s heart.
E.M. Bounds (August 15, 1835 – August 24, 1913), American author, attorney

Genius is born, not paid.
Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900), Irish playwright, novelist, and poet

I have nothing to declare except my genius.
Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900), Irish playwright, novelist, and poet’s

Mediocrity is self-inflicted. Genius is self-bestowed.
Walter Bowman Russell (May 19, 1871 – May 19, 1963), American painter

…genius knows no country, genius sprouts anywhere, genius is like light, air. the patrimony of everybody, cosmopolitan like space, like life, like God.
José Rizal (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896), Filipino writer, artist and polymath

When touched by genius, when led by chance, the most superior truth can come into being from even the most foolish error.
Stefan Zweig (November 28, 1881 – February 22, 1942), Austrian novelist, playwright, and biographer

A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
James Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941), Irish novelist and poet

Geniuses and prophets do not usually excel in professional learning, and their originality, if any, is often due precisely to the fact that they do not.
Joseph Alois Schumpeter (8 February 1883 – 8 January 1950), Austrian-born American economist and political scientist
Talent is what you possess; genius is what possesses you.
Malcolm Cowley (August 24, 1898 – March 27, 1989), American novelist, poet, literary critic

Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do.
Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), English poet

To do what others cannot do is talent. To do what talent cannot do is genius.
Henry Wilson Allen (September 12, 1912 – October 26, 1991), American author and screenwriter

Genius doesn’t specialize; genius is reason in itself.
Haruki Murakami (born January 12, 1949), Japanese writer

Genius defines itself.
Quinn Tyler Jackson, Canadian author

5.2. Transpersonal experience theory (from Lat. trans – through, over and persona – person) states that the condition of genius is the experience of identity with the “Cosmic Mind” and “World Soul”, the ability to achieve and maintain the state of superpersonal, transpersonal consciousness, creative illumination and ecstasy, Samadhi , Satori or their psychological correlate – the highest creative inspiration.
Genius is considered as the ability to enter into a new supreme and creative state of consciousness, to obtain hypersensitivity to the effects of information and semantic fields, to awake in himself dormant creative abilities and to use internal and external opportunities in a highly efficient way.

Coffee is good for talent, but genius wants prayer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), American philosopher, essayist, and poet

Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.”
Arthur Conan Doyle (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930), British writer and physician

Genius is not that you are smarter than everyone else. It is that you are ready to receive the inspiration.”
Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955), German-born theoretical physicist

5.3. Visionary theory (from Lat. visio –vision, seeing, idea) claims that the basis of genius is the aptitude for universe, holistic, planetary and creative vision of the world, ability to perceive reality in all its newness, freshness, topicality and inexhaustibility, and also ability to mental manipulation with its forms, entities and time, and art to generate from within, by means of the gift of inner vision and foresight, a self-sufficient, self-sustaining, unconditional novelty, independent of the old.

To see things in the seed, that is genius.
Laozi (circa 6th century BC), Chinese philosopher and the founder of philosophical Taoism

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
Michelangelo (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), Italian sculptor, painter and architect

Genius always looks forward, and not only sees what is, but what necessarily will be.
Fulke Greville (3 October 1554 – 30 September 1628), English poet, dramatist, and statesman

In so far as the mind sees things in their eternal aspect, it participates in eternity.
Baruch Spinoza (24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677), Dutch philosopher

The only difference between a genius and one of common capacity is that the former anticipates and explores what the latter accidentally hits upon; but even the man of genius himself more frequently employs the advantages that chance presents him; it is the lapidary who gives value to the diamond which the peasant has dug up without knowing its value.
Abbe Guillaume Raynal (12 April 1713 – 6 March 1796), French writer and historian

He is a man of capacity who possesses considerable intellectual riches: while he is a man of genius who finds out a vein of new ore. Originality is the seeing nature differently from others, and yet as it is in itself. It is not singularity or affectation, but the discovery of new and valuable truth. All the world do not see the whole meaning of any object they have been looking at. Habit blinds them to some things: shortsightedness to others. Every mind is not a gauge and measure of truth. Nature has her surface and her dark recesses. She is deep, obscure, and infinite. It is only minds on whom she makes her fullest impressions that can penetrate her shrine or unveil her Holy of Holies. It is only those whom she has filled with her spirit that have the boldness or the power to reveal her mysteries to others.
William Hazlitt (10 April 1778 – 18 September 1830), English writer , painter and philosopher

This is the test and triumph of originality, not to show us what has never been, and what we may therefore very easily never have dreamt of, but to point out to us what is before our eyes and under our feet, though we have had no suspicion of its existence, for want of sufficient strength of intuition, of determined grasp of mind to seize and retain it.
William Hazlitt

Talent is like a marksman who hits a target that others cannot reach; genius is like the marksman who hits a target . . . others cannot even see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860), German philosopher

Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see. 
Arthur Schopenhauer

Genius is the ability to leave entirely out of sight our own interest, our willing, and our aims, and consequently to discard entirely our own personality for a time, in order to remain pure knowing subject, the clear eye of the world; and this not merely for moments, but with the necessary continuity and conscious thought to enable us to repeat by deliberate art what has been apprehended and “what in wavering apparition gleams fix in its place with thoughts that stand for ever!
Arthur Schopenhauer

A person who is gifted sees the essential point and leaves the rest as surplus.
Thomas Carlyle (4 December 1795 – 5 February 1881), Scottish philosopher, essayist, and historian

Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly, grows unconsciously into genius.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (25 May 1803 – 18 January 1873), English novelist, poet, playwright

Genius is only a superior power of seeing.
John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900), English writer art critic

Every man of genius sees the world at a different angle from his fellows, and there is his tragedy.
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), English novelist, poet, journalist and translator

It takes immense genius to represent, simply and sincerely, what we see in front of us.
Louis Edmond Duranty (6 June 1833 – 9 April 1880), French novelist and art critic

Genius only comes to those who know how to use their eyes and their intelligence.
Auguste Rodin (12 November 1840 – 17 November 1917), French sculptor.

Genius… means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.
William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910), American psychologist and philosopher

The essence of genius is to know what to overlook.
William James

The great things in life are what they seem to be. And for that reason, strange as it may sound to you, often are very difficult to interpret (understand). Great passions are for the great of souls. Great events can only be seen by people who are on a level with them. We think we can have our visions for nothing. We cannot. Even the finest and most self-sacrificing visions have to paid for. Strangely enough, that is what makes them fine.
Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900), Irish playwright, novelist, and poet

A man of genius is not a man who sees more than other men do. On the contrary, it is very often found that he is absentminded and observes much less than other people…. Why is it that the public have such an exaggerated respect for him—after he is dead? The reason is that the man of genius understands the importance of the few things he sees.
George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950), Irish playwright and critic

Every man of genius sees the world at a different angle from his fellows, and there is his tragedy.
Havelock Ellis (2 February 1859 – 8 July 1939), English physician, psychologist and writer

To a great mind, nothing is little.
Arthur Conan Doyle (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930), British writer and physician

Similarly, the men who produce works of genius are not those who live in the most delicate atmosphere, whose conversation is the most brilliant or their culture the most extensive, but those who have had the power, ceasing suddenly to live only for themselves, to transform their personality into a sort of mirror, in such a way that their life, however mediocre it may be socially and even, in a sense, intellectually, is reflected by it, genius consisting in reflecting power and not int he intrinsic quality of the scene reflected.
Marcel Proust (10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922), French novelist and critic

Talent without genius isn’t much, but genius without talent is nothing whatsoever.
Paul Valery (30 October 1871 – 20 July 1945), French poet, essayist, and philosopher

To complicate things in new ways, that is really very easy; but to see things in new ways, that is difficult and that is why genius is so rare.
Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946), American novelist, poet

…the highest, the only reality, is ever at hand, but for the most part invisible. Genius makes it visible…
Egon Friedell (21 January 1878 – 16 March 1938), Austrian philosopher, historian

Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.
Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955), German-born theoretical physicist

The man of genius is he whose ego has acquired consciousness. He is enabled by it to distinguish the fact that others are different, to perceive the “ego” of other men, even when it is not pronounced enough for them to be conscious of it themselves. But it is only he who feels that every other man is also an ego, a monad, an individual centre of the universe, with specific manner of feeling and thinking and a distinct past, he alone is in a position to avoid making use of his neighbours as means to an end.
Otto Weininger (April 3, 1880 – October 4, 1903), Austrian philosopher

Genius … is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one, and where the man of talent sees two or three, plus the ability to register that multiple perception in the material of his art.
Ezra Pound (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972), American poet and critic

We mustn’t forget how quickly the visions of genius become the canned goods of intellectuals.
Saul Bellow (10 June 1915 – 5 April 2005), Canadian-American writer

Intelligence recognizes what has happened. Genius recognizes what will happen.
John Ciardi (June 24, 1916 – March 30, 1986), American poet, translator

The ability of someone to choose and arrange the details of their creative field guided by a vision is a major hallmark of a genius.
John Briggs (born March 8, 1930), American politician

What makes a genius? The ability to see. To see what? The butterfly in a caterpillar, the eagle in an egg, the saint in a selfish person, life in death, unity in separation, God in the human and human in God and suffering as the form in which the incomprehensibility of God himself appears.
Brennan Manning (April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013), American author, priest, and public speaker 

To speak, or act, or think originally is to erase the boundary of the self. It is to leave behind the territorial personality. A genius does not have a mind full of thoughts but is the thinker of thoughts, and is the center of a field of vision. It is a field of vision, however, that is recognized as a field of vision only when we see that it includes within itself the original centers of other fields of vision.
James P. Carse, American philosopher

As the geniuses we are, we do not look but see. To look at something is to look at it within its limitations. I look at what is marked off, at what stands apart from other things. But things do not have their own limitations. Nothing limits itself. The sea gulls circling on the invisible currents, the cat on my desk, the siren of a distant ambulance are not somehow distinct from the environment; they are the environment. To look at them I must look for what I take them to be. I was not looking at the sea gulls as though it was the sea gulls who happened to be there-I was looking for something to make this example. I might have seen them as a sign that land is not far, or that the sea is not far; I could have been looking for a form to reproduce on a canvas or in a poem. To look at is to look for. It is to bring the limitations with us.
James P. Carse, American philosopher

When we pass from looking to seeing, we do not therefore lose our sight of the objects observed. Seeing, in fact, does not disturb our looking at all. It rather places us in that territory as its genius, aware that our imagination does not create within its outlines but creates the outlines themselves. The physicist who sees speaks physics with us, inviting us to see that the things we thought were there are not things at all. By learning new limitations from such a a person, we learn not only what to look for with them but also how to see the way we use limitations. A physics so taught becomes poiesis.
James P. Carse, American philosopher

Much of creative genius hinges on the willingness to creatively observe the seemingly irrelevant and find the latent potential.
Michael Michalko, American creative thinking expert and the author of “’Thinkertoys”

Genius is measured not by static volume but by kinetic vision.
Rich DiSilvio (born on 1957), American artist, author, new media developer

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