Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Genius and Common Nature

When we turn to the greatest models of human genius, we find in their thoughts an all-adapting power, which makes them the interpreters of our common nature. They seem to be built upon the deepest basis of man's general being, because there is no feeling or condition of life, which does not find its reflection in their writings. Thus does human genius render its possessors a sort of type of their race, by concentrating in them those characteristics, which are dispersed through the ordinary specimens of mortality.

Robert Isaac Wilberforce, The Doctrine of the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, p. 112. I like the idea that genius is a concentration of ordinary human life, not something fundamentally different from it; it captures the fact that genius exhibits universality as much as it does uniqueness.

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