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Megha Kansra
Megha is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a junior student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

What is genius? We do seem to toss that word around quite a bit. Automatically, we conjure up images of the stereotypical genius with flying hair and manic eyes, or a prodigy with fingers traveling swiftly, almost supernaturally, over piano keys. At school, genius is obvious...or is it?

One easy cop-out for measuring genius is the GPA system, class rank, and grades in general. Man, a kid must really be a genius to have made that arduous climb to the top. However, after a while, the ramifications of using such a system become problematic; loopholes and inconsistencies can be found in the system. Such as lazy geniuses. And the graduated credit system, where some classes are weightier than others. So then we realize, quite quickly, actually, that grades mean little in the “genius” scheme of things. Hey, if a person’s a genius, a haughty and unconcerned demeanor towards work must be the way to go.

Therefore, the latter becomes the new vision of genius – that it’s some hidden savant in idiot disguise. Oh, yes! Everyone loves an underdog. So, of course, this definitely augments the aura of mystery and excitement in our idea of genius. Who wants to look at bespectacled losers that pore over books when we can prize apart the tangled meshes in the minds of a hidden genius? Much more exciting.

But then this gets silly. Because, after all, to what extent can you go about assuming that every cool, sit-back-and-relax kid that snaps in a choice comment every now and then is a genius? And where do we draw the line between “hidden genius” and random strokes of luck with answers? So, then we want a more rigid paradigm, something more measurable.

This is where schools of thought like Thomas Edison’s come in. Edison once said that genius was one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. After all, the geniuses the world knows about slaved away, worked to their limits, and then, and only ten, were they famous geniuses. Einstein pored over his equations and thoughts quite a bit. Kant spent numerous hours glaring at church steeples. Darwin explored, noted, postulated, wrote, threw away, etc. Maybe, then, the true measure of genius is passion for something, a passion so great that it become s amplified after that passion is truly indulged in.

But then this makes genius seem achievable for any individual. And, despite what western society posits, underlying truths indicate that the oft-quoted Animal Farm message is true, that, generally, some are more “equal” than others. Talent is beautiful but disregarded in society as a taboo, almost a profanity. The same goes for beauty or inherited wealth. Anything that seems not to be the fruit of our labor is pushed aside.

But, really, why else would Mozart have his ken, or da Vinci his inspiration? To some extent, inspiration is certainly about an individual’s surroundings and situation. But, again, some of it all must be attributed to something natural. So when does genius start and when to proactive measures and influences begin?

To me, genius has always been about perception and the ability of an individual to tap into something that others can’t quite as ably do. A genius conveys an easiness, a dexterity, a quickness. But, then again, to what extent is that quickness acquired, and to what extent is it innate?

Humm...So, I guess I’m not much of a genius because, uh, I still don’t know.

Megha is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a junior student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006