Quote Talk 1: First Post! Aristotle

Greetings! ‘Tis I, John! And I’m starting a new series, called ‘Quote Talk’. In this series I will be choosing a quote, or a few quotes, and discussing them. These quotes might be about anything, but I will choose ones I find most interesting. I’ll give my opinion, explain the meaning, and a plethora of other features. As with many of my posts, I try to figure things out with logic and thought, instead of looking it up. I look forward to this new adventure!

“There is no great genius without some touch of madness.” Aristotle


Ah, yes, my good friend, Aristotle. For those who don’t know him, he was a Greek philosopher and scientist. His words and works have contributed much to Western thought. Along with that, he is also know for vast range of subjects, including logic, ethics, metaphysics, politics, natural science, and physics. He is one of my favorite philosophers.

No genius without madness. This isn’t obscure, nor is it uncommon. Evidence of this can be seen in many famous intellectuals – Darwin, for instance, was very self-concious; his theory of evolution had first been stolen and shared by another scientist because he was so hesitant to present this new, then radical, idea with the world.

Let’s be clear about what madness means.

Madness noun. the state of being mentally ill, especially severely; extremely foolish behavior; a state of frenzied of chaotic behavior.

Now, let’s implement the first definition, because that seems most appropriate.

There is no great genius without some touch of mental illness.

Hmm. Okay,someone who is considered a genius can be described as different from the average person, right? And, generally speaking, someone with a mental illness, such as depression and schizophrenia, is also viewed as different. Let’s get scientific for a second (keep in mind I’m not looking anything up so pardon any inaccuracies).

If we line genetics up with behavior, those people who have these illness traits should have slightly different genes than the “normal” people. Genetics decide much of who we are before we even exist. Those geniuses were genius before they were born. Granted, depression and other illnesses can be acquired due to experiences.

Behavioral differences are easily observable between those who are normal and those who are not. A good amount of the time, geniuses are outcast, made fun of, and not generally accepted because they’re different. This can also be seen with those with mental illnesses. Obviously, we can see some correlation, but no direct relationship.

Steven Hawking has a degenerative bone disease; Isaac Newton went crazy in his later years. The list goes on. There seems to be a relationship. So far, this quote holds up.

Now, there is a big difference between genius and highly intelligent. I propose it has a lot to do with abstract thinking. Anyone can learn the skills of geniuses, but can one create Calculus in their free time because they were bored, just as Newton did. Or just think up theory of relativity one day and write it down because it makes sense, such as Einstein. I know I couldn’t.

We can say that these geniuses have something that normal people don’t have. Madness. So, as Aristotle once said, and something I have to firmly agree with:

“There is no genius without some touch of madness.”

Thank you, and as always:
Let us learn, love, and live, together.

-John

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