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Two Kinds of Genius

There are 2 basic kinds of genius-- imaginative genius and intellectual genius. Each has its place.

An intellectual genius is a person who has become an expert in pattern recognition. If a problem comes up, an intellectual genius will first, recognize the problem before him as one that is similar to one he has encountered before and second, solve it in a similar fashion.

Imaginative genius has no pattern. An imaginative genius is someone who goes outside himself for the solution to his problems. An imaginative genius is very creative in the solutions he comes up with.

Both kinds of genius are important. Intellectual genius is important because it would not be wise to re-invent a new solution to an old problem each time it comes up.

Imaginative genius is important because sometimes the only way to solve a problem is to imagine one. This is necessary when no ready-made solution is available.

Given a choice between the two--intellectual genius and imaginative genius--favor imaginative genius. If you develop your imagination, you develop everything--your imagination, your mind, and your emotions.

Intellectual genius, on the other hand, can be a trap if it is too narrow. Take the case of the idiot savant who can, on request, tell you what day of the week any day falls on for the next 1,000 years. This kind of genius is too narrow to be useful to most people.

By being imaginative, you grow.

©Edward Abbott 2003-2004