Genius in Our Terms

Genius is such a fallible word—what genius is changes from mind to mind, from context to context, from scene to scene, yet it is a common and accepted descriptor of greatness. What is genius then? Is it a sense of timeless personal intelligence or ingenuity such as in the cases of Leonardo Da Vinci and Shakespeare? Or would genius be a toddler first learning how to read, a kindergartener learning how to write, or a professor striking the bell of inspiration in a student?

Perhaps, however, we should look deeper into the matter and see the origin of the word and if that will lead us to our answer. The word genius originally meant spirit, or the driving force within a person; but if genius were spirit, then would not every person possess their own genius? From there the argument can be made that every person has their own brilliance, their own spirit, if only they could find it. The word genius would then lead us to believe that everyone is important, that everyone has a contribution that they can make to society.

Genius, then, is the same idea as "No Child Left Behind"—everyone should be given their chance to shine, to show the world the brilliance that they are hiding within. Every child possesses genius, in the colloquial sense or in the origin of the word, and every child represents hope. Genius and hope would then be inescapably linked in that genius brings hope. Genius is timeless legacy, but it is also the infant learning to crawl and the kindergartener to write, the toddler learning to read, and the professor revealing some new truth to their student.