Daniel Kao
Many times genius is also a function of time: some historical figures were not recognized for their work until after they had passed. Do you think humans are getting better at recognizing genius or do we fall prey to the same problems that plague geniuses too early for their time?
You're right. Bach, for instance wasn't considered a "genius" until some 75 years after his death. I guess I would approach the question differently, though. I don't think it's possible to separate the creative act from its recognition, the genius from his audience. So, looking at it this way, Bach was never an "unrecognized genius." He was never a genius in his lifetime. He became a genius not when he composed his music but when we heard something special, something genius, in it 75 years after his death. I'm speaking of a real shift in how we think of genius. Not a a private act of creativity that we either recognize or don't but as a social verdict, one that changes over time and place. We get the geniuses that we want and that we deserve, If we value good music, we will "elevate" someone like Bach to genius status. Continue reading...