The fact that I’m a chronic delayer has nothing to do with the above title. I’m hardly a genius and I know that. Although, admittedly I saw a glint of myself in the statement. To hesitate, when discussing, thinking about or planning something that has many parts moving or otherwise is in a way the sign of pre-genious. Not all people are so deliberate and not everyone who isn’t is deficient. Conversely deliberation is not the sole sign of a sharp mind.
This whole line of thinking started when I started listening to 7 Brief Lessons on Physics this morning on my way in to work.
Now I’ve smoked some pot in my life, that isn’t either unusual nor is it news. Under some unique circumstances where a lot was consumed I’d bordered on paranoia, reaching out as the thoughts I tried so hard to corral slipped out of the gate with me standing in the corner unable to stop their escape. On some other occasions where I consumed a smaller but still substantial amount, the thoughts lined up in neat rows of disparate complexions, the need to arrange the thought cows by breed or by color erased by the ability to see what else they had in common. Yeah, thought cows.
I recall these times in this context because the need to guide every thought that usually rules my daily life was unchecked by THC. I didn’t think that every thought was genius but some seemed pretty great and on those occasions I would have been nice to allow my untethered brain to run free but circumstances didn’t allow that. I’m sure most of what I was coming up with was shit and I had no illusions that it was all “good stuff” even in that state I knew enough to judge my thoughts for what they were and to try to hold on enough to them so that in the cold sober light of day I might logically disseminate the gems from the coal.
Still, after the burst of random creativity there is always doubt.
Einstein-Bohr as a model.
In matters of importance, whatever the realm might be, to think you have the answer yet be still critical of not only the conclusion but the question itself is key to growth. Arguable theoretical questions at whatever level, be it what team is best or what is the nature of reality, benefit from the willingness of the person trying to answer them having the ability to self correct, self check and yes, self-doubt. The book presents the Einstein-Bohr debates as proof of that and the necessity of malleability of thought that doubt engenders. Now I’m not even going to begin to pretend that I understand what they are arguing, I know it has something to do with at least in part the existence, nonexistence or semi existence of electrons, that’s about all I know.
What the exchange does show is that having a sliver of doubt, not being so absolutely sure of your assertions, especially if they have implications beyond you and your field is at the very least as aside to genius. Deliberation in your conclusions and the willingness to be wrong is hardly weakness.
I have never trusted anyone who has all the answers, or who says that they can fix all the problems. It’s really too bad that a significant number of people in this country don’t feel the same way.