Marco Wehr wrote an article in the German FAZ about the secrets of genius – the main message stayed with me. Einstein claimed that you need nose and forehead to be successful (a genius) – symbolising curiosity and persistence. Scientific success (uniqueness) doesn’t require a very high IQ or very early triumph. But hard word will get you further. Breakthrough comes after long periods of dryness – drilling of thick timber.
The Milos Foreman movie ‘Amadeus’ is a brilliant movie. While Salieri (teacher of Beethoven and Schubert) might not have been a true adversary of Mozart, seeing the world through his eyes is astounding. The detail that went into the movie is great. While rewatching it, I noticed how religious a movie it actually is. Salieri is obsessed with the fact that Ama-deus (love of God) is God’s son (incarnation) but he is shocked at the infantility of the person. At best we are destined (by God) to be mediocre beings in a world that is like a lunatic asylum.
Mozart was very vulgar, he seemed to be obsessed with the ‘ass’ and faeces. Some speculate that he had Tourette’s syndrome. Oliver Sacks even debated the idea.
I think it should not surprise us that ‘genius’ sometimes comes in very simple and blunt forms. Genius is a product of talent/genes and education. Devoting your life to one activity only will lead to underdevelopment of other faculties. WA Mozart’s father Leopold was one of the best violin teachers in Europe at the time. Wolfgang was not allowed to live his childhood, that’s why he had to carry it with him through his life.
Genius can be like an overtrained muscle, if you only lift heavy things with your right arm you will look very disproportional.
Genius requires simplicity.
We need to differentiate between a simple genius and a universal one like Goethe. Maybe Einstein who was a musician and physicist was the last one alive.
Imagine what music Mozart could have written if he lived a more stable and longer life and would have put more mature thought into it.