The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 7


The fact that a genius appears now and then is an example of something that goes on in the psychic and mental atmospheres of every human, though not to the degree where the result may be called genius.

A genius is one who is gifted with extraordinary ability and with originality that does not limit him to the old rules or paths, but makes him strike out for new fields. He does not depend on education or training for his powers, as do those whose endowments are of a lesser degree. Genius is not mere talent or aptitude. Genius is the spontaneous action of the doer in the use of any of the three minds which it can use to express its feeling-and-desire and in expressing a high degree of excellence in one or more of the arts or sciences. The expression of genius shows the feeling and understanding which the human has and which he exhibits without the experience and study usually required.

The ordinary man has the memories of the present life and loses them after death when the breath-form is broken up. He has sense-learning, but little sense-knowledge. If, however, enough sense-knowledge is acquired, it is transferred to the aia itself and comes back in another life, not as detailed memories but as sense-knowledge. The ordinary man is not in touch with his past, but it is there just the same, in his psychic and in his mental atmospheres. He is cut off from it, because the old breath-form is gone. He does not get far enough to acquire sense-knowledge, which the body-mind gets from what is learned. If enough sense-knowledge is acquired, the aia itself bears a record of it. If in a new life this record in the aia is transferred to the breath-form, the human is a genius. He has not the detailed memories any more than the ordinary man has, but he has the sum of them in the knowledge which his former thinking brought him. This puts him in touch with the endowments in his psychic and mental atmospheres and he appears as a genius. The difference between a genius and an ordinary person is that a genius is a human who had developed sense-knowledge to the degree where the aia bore the record and, in the life where he is a genius, puts him in touch with his endowments in the mental atmosphere and with his feeling in the psychic atmosphere; whereas the ordinary person has not the record on the aia to put him in immediate touch with any endowments he may have. The sense-knowledge and its accessibility, which together constitute a genius, are not dependent upon the impressions made on the breath-form in the past life, because they have been effaced. The senses and the bodily organs used are only instruments for the expression of the genius. The senses and the hands must have been specially exercised, disciplined and developed through many lives. The ordinary artist, whether he be painter, sculptor, musician, actor or poet, follows the rules laid down by the best in his field, and he achieves greatness to the degree that he adds excellence from his doer; but he is not a genius. A genius makes his own rules and is distinctively original, without, however, flying in the face of all canons of beauty, proportion and power.

There is a mechanical genius, which is a physical achievement, relating to the handling of tools and materials. Then there is the genius in the line of music, painting or sculpture. Artists of this kind, including poets, must have feeling developed to a high degree and with that the skill to express such feeling by means of thinking. Both the high degree of sensitiveness and the skill and power of expression are developed by the feeling-mind and the desire-mind. A genius in architecture, literature or war needs less sensuous feeling than do these artists, but his feeling must be of a high order. In every case his skill in expressing his feeling and using the sense-knowledge of the past are what make him a genius. A genius may be many-sided as was Michelangelo, who expressed strength of desire. A genius may reach superlative degrees as in the case of Sophocles, or Aristotle, Leonardo, Shakespeare, Napoleon. The great achievements of a genius do not mean perfection of the doer portion in his body.

Often a genius is unevenly developed. Usually a lack of morals and of consideration for others is found in one who shows genius as an actor, poet, musician or painter. This is because his genius is the result of effort along a given line only. He may have sacrificed or neglected moral duties while devoting his life to the particular thinking which resulted in his being born a genius. Some allowance should be made for the shortcomings of some of these artists. An artist must be sensitive to nature, therefore he is liable to be overcome by it. In a genius these peculiarities of the artistic temperament are often accentuated.

In exceptional cases a human refuses to develop any other line than that of his genius, and then he may give way to inordinate appetites for drink and debauch. Thereafter the genius will be present in a succeeding life, but self-control will be lacking. So there may be a mathematical genius who is in other respects an imbecile. It is better to develop self-control than genius, because the lack of self-control will ultimately defeat the advantages of genius. It takes greater effort to develop self-control than mental endowments, and with strength of character all other things, including mental endowments, will be attained.

Geniuses as they have been known in historical times are infants compared to those in prehistoric times and to those who will be in the future. A genius carried to his full development is a doer who has complete control of the senses and who through these four senses can control the four elements of nature. The body-mind, the feeling-mind and the desire-mind and their operations would then be available to such a genius. He would have access to all the sense-knowledge acquired through thinking. He would with that have a feeling carried to a degree beyond anything known in the present, and an ability to use his hands that would seem equally strange now. But if he were a painter or a sculptor he would not have to use his hands. Elementals would paint the pictures or cut the stone according to his mental orders, if color or stone were used. But color or stone would not be necessary, for such a genius could by seeing what he wanted cause nature units to precipitate colors as he directed to make a picture, or to build up statuary by precipitation of the elements of metal or stone. An engineering genius could build a bridge, remove a mountain, change the current of a river, tunnel earth or moisten arid land by control of elementals through his thinking, and all within the space of a day.