Geppetto Genius

Yesterday I was talking about how great the carvings at the Warther Museum were.  But Warther wasn’t the true subject.  We’re only using him to talk about what it means to be a prodigy.

A prodigy is rare, exceedingly.  Throughout history there have been less than a thousand that we know, and of the roughly 8 billion people of all time, that is a vanishingly small fraction.

Some great prodigies stand out, immediately: Archimedes, Newton, Mozart, Shakespeare, da Vinci.  Others take some digging (Can you find them?) But the fact remains that they exist.

Should an advanced society take the extra effort to find and nurture these rare talents?  We don’t know exactly why they are so special, only that they are.  We can’t even really know where they may appear.  Perhaps there’s a child wandering about in the jungles of Africa even now who could be the next poet of the century.  Why not take the extra effort to find them?  Why not embrace them and exalt them?  Protect them from those ho would divert or exploit them, so that their gifts could benefit all mankind?

Yet, in all modern societies of today, we force everyone to complete ‘school.’  We demand banality and exalt the peer group.  We cut down the star so that the rest of us can look them in the eye.

Who needs prodigies?  We do.  Because we need to look up.

I’m just glad that no one convinced Warther to be ‘normal.’


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