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I loved this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert about creative genius:

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius.

It’s very inspiring and I really admire how she’s reconciled her creative expectations.

A point I think is also missing from most discussions about creative genius is context. The time and culture a work is released in have a lot more to do with being considered genius than the work itself.

If I had a time machine I would travel to the past and play some electronica on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Posted on - February 10, 2009 [at] 8:55 pm by Brad
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5 Comments on this post

runwithscissors on A different way to think about creative genius
February 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Hey Brad, many thanks for this. I didn’t know of TED and after watching this great piece started wandering around and watching more. Very cool.

Jeff on A different way to think about creative genius
February 13, 2009 at 4:46 am

That’s so weird. I was just watching this on my iphone’s TED app. Put the phone down and opened your page… and boom. Ole…

Ronnie on A different way to think about creative genius
February 13, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Funny I just posted this Vid on my blog too! LOVE TED
Near the end she talks about artistic transcendence . She makes points that are so true that the hair raises up on the back of your neck when you hear them.

Simon on A different way to think about creative genius
February 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm

It’s a good talk and I like that she addresses this issue cause it’s always tough to talk about stuff like this.

I think that a return to things talking to me through walls brings about its own set of problems, though. I’m not entirely convinced that an external creative force isn’t just mystifying the process a little too much, and that what is actually needed is a little less of the harsh spotlight and a little more kindness and understanding from critics and the medi…know what, never mind. I’m going with the fairies.

Daemonax on A different way to think about creative genius
April 11, 2009 at 2:31 am

I think that is was one of the worst talks to ever appear at TED unfortunately. Her dislike for rationality and promotion of irrationality is very worrying. The talk would have been 10 times better if she’d talked about ‘genius’ as not being something that simply comes from a person, but is a combination of the person and their environment, rather than talking about some silly seemingly spiritual mumbo-jumbo.

Sir Ken Robinson’s talk with regards to creativity and schools is a very good talk though.

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