Getting rid of genius – “Genius” is not only a misconception, it’s a threat to all artists

Genius is fine and is really only disliked by those who misuse it most.

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I’ve been trying to get rid of the word “genius” from my vocabulary. It hasn’t been easy. After all, as a society, we love the idea of genius. How else do we reward these creative persons, tastemakers of our generation? The term “genius,” which was once bestowed to individuals truly exemplary at their craft, has transitioned into a phrase more commonly associated with anyone who does anything that we could not do ourselves. The increasing ubiquitousness of the phrase, however, is not the problem.

I’m not here to tell you that Jay-Z has not earned your praise. Nor am I arguing that reaching Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour benchmark is all it takes to be a genius. What I’m arguing is more controversial: Genius is a misconception, and it’s a threat to artists and the artistic enterprise as a whole.

When I was…

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About Jesse Mathewson

Jesse Mathewson is the author of the popular blog, and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity and agorism. He also runs Liberty Practical Training, a self defense school specializing in the practical applications of defensive approaches versus the theoretical. As an agorist, voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you. Very simple, "That which is voluntary between all individuals involved is always right, if it is not voluntary, it is always wrong."
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