The word “genius” comes from the Latin meaning “guardian spirit”. The genius has been intuitively recognised as being responsible for mankind’s mental progression, providing a service to, and example for, the mass mind. Behind all of mankind’s accomplishments there is a gifted mind to which all the related, successive events can be traced.
We have excellent documentation for geniuses which lived in the last 200 years, and a common thread through their lives is a family with a strong moral background – not necessarily a religious background, although this was of course commonplace up until the 20th century. Therefore whether the influence is of morality on genetics – or genetics on morality – the element of morality is indispensible to the birth of genius. This was recently pointed out by Howard Gardner in his book Creating Minds. The strong moral element in all mankind’s scriptures, and the strong moral example given by the founders of all religions, has therefore also contributed to mankind’s mental evolution. Logic then assures us that religion’s appearance must have been part of a natural, healthy growth of mental traits.
As in all biological laws, the inverse is also true: where no moral background exists, the progeny is more prone to vice, indolence, addictions and crime, and in extreme cases, sociopathy. The late 20th century is an example of what a purely materialistic upbringing can achieve. The destructive genius – a charismatic or gifted mind bringing societies to war and destruction – must also be attributable to a genetic component.
Men such as Hitler and Napoleon were geniuses in the sense of having a mysterious natural talent to manipulate the sentiments of millions of ordinary people, and organise them into the machinery for war. Their aim was not the unification of mankind or its upliftment through art, but the separation into different categories: one the conqueror, and the other, ripe for annihilation. On a larger scale, therefore, there must be laws which account for their appearance; if their emergence is put down to chance or random factors it means we concede that mankind’s progress can never be assured, and that behind the rise and fall of civilisations there is no order or rule of law. In a Universe governed by law from the atoms to the galaxies, this cannot be the case.
Humanity is therefore highly vulnerable to the genius, whether creative or destructive, and so the study of this rare class of mind is extremely important.
A notable feature of the highly creative mind is the appearance of spiritual concepts which become interwoven with the individual’s artistic or literary output. Once again the inverse is true: a mind achieving success in spiritual disciplines – either through long years of effort or through advantageous genetics – finds itself gifted with extraordinary talents, including a magnetism which can draw millions of other minds towards it. This is the phenomenon behind religious genius.
The following brief studies of creative genius are intended to give some insight into their state of mind, their inspiration, and the profound effect they have had on the mass mind.