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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Bill D BS: The mechanics of genius (34) RE: BS: The mechanics of genius 29 Oct 20


"In a word it comes down to reading.
What makes you so smart and in what field?"

Reading is great, but genius, being a subjective term, is a lot of other things. It involves observation and an ability to connect things about what is observed in ways that allow new things to be realized and created that were previously not there.... both in ideas and objects.
   Imagine the 1st of our remote ancestors noticing what sharp sticks or rocks could do...then figuring out that they could sharpen sticks and rocks without having to find them! The process of making specific noises to refer to objects, and then actions was pretty automatic, but categorizing and organizing the noises and later using drawings and marks to refer to them was often an early form of genius.
   A lot of truly creative ideas comes from what we now call "inductive logic", in which defining principles are extracted from observations instead of just basic information.
There is a 'card game' called Eleusis in which one player defines the way cards are allowed to be played and other players try various plays and are told that the play is valid or invalid as they try to figure out the rule. I have played it... and it can be quite frustrating in several ways. If the rule is too easy OR too hard to guess, players can become bored or angry, so there is a form of genius involved in constructing interesting but possible games (like crossword puzzles)... and another form of 'genius?' in inductively guessing the answer. (Be careful who you play this with!)

Now.. my 'field', such as it applies to me, was originally philosophy/logic, although I never became a professional at it. I did, however, 'inductively' extract from reading various approaches to "how to think" some rules for classifying and evaluating stuff I read and hear. What that leads to is the often awkward situation of finding someone agreeing with your own position, but for really illogical and foolish reasons! (Humans are blessed/cursed with brains able to evaluate 'stuff', but also to **rationalize** and totally get answers they like, no matter what the evidence shows.)

   My other 'field' was for the last 25 years or so, woodworking...especially working on a lathe. There are some fairly clear, standard 'rules' about how to do... and not do.. certain standard processes. But when wanting to do something really different, "thinking outside the box" comes into play, and the visions and habits of Leonardo and Einstein and Eli Whitney and Gutenberg become an integral part of it all.
   Part of the process is not limiting the use of various tools to some limited ways.... and of seeing some items that were not meant to be tools AS tools. (347 examples left out to keep this..um... short ;>)) One brief story: when working at my university's wood shop as student asst., I was often sent out to repair a broken window. For whatever reason, they never seemed to order putty knives... so when a window needed puttying, a couple of us would take the 'blade' out of a try-square and make it work, even though it was far too stiff for best results!
    I have no doubt that most of you have 'invented' some trick in your 'field' or at home to solve a problem... (and maybe discovered that others had done the same thing.)
Anyway, when these common 'inductive' things that we all do occasionally are done way above what most of us do, we classify it as examples of genius.

   That's a bare beginning to my analysis.. and because my own habits and/or abilities don't seem to include organizing everything I think about, you may not find me publishing any books.....


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