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Within the flood of remembrances for a certain, recently-departed soul, I keep seeing the word “genius” used again and again… and I see a feeling of personal loss among so many…
But why should we care so much for anyone we did not really know? Why should we feel such a loss when they leave? And why should so many great lights burn out “before their time” ?
Blogs and articles appear with every psychoanalytical or cynical or social explanation… Everyone trying to sort out the reasons why such a man would choose to make an early exit.
Some call the reaction “celebrity worship,” some call his great talent a defense mechanism and his depression a symptom of today’s disconnection, or the result of a failure to address mental illness in our society…
Here’s what I see:
These humans, these brilliant minds, they are dying out because we are not doing our part.
Each of us, each and every person on this planet has the potential to create, the potential to inspire and bring beauty and insight into this world. I believe it is why we are here.
And yet we are distracted, scattered, medicated, made complacent, insecure, and forgetful of this sacred task and our own innate capacity to perform it.
The genius, the spark, the creative thought that wishes to make itself known has limited options these days.
So we see this kind of exhaustion, this desperate mania and relentless depression in those forced to take in everyone else’s neglected genius. Our unwillingness to fulfill our own creative duties means that those who ARE willing, those who hone their skills to be a better conduit, who make it a priority to be open to the visions as they arrive, these people are flooded with every forgotten story, every bit of beauty, every thought and song and work of soul that WE have shut out or left unfinished or been too busy to take on.
These poor souls, whom we raise up like gods and admire so, are doing the work that WE should EACH be doing every day.
It is overwhelming and exhausting.
Perhaps, the hardest hit by these tragedies are those also doing more than their fair share of the creating and, (I’ll wager), those not doing nearly enough of their own.
And so- if we wish to honor the passing of these incredible souls-
Then we must each take up the task at hand. We must keep our windows cracked when our own inspiration comes… And when that little spark of genius comes scratching at our doors, looking for home and a way into the world, we must answer.
For if not, it will travel on, travel until it finds a willing emissary.
And as we sit at a thankless job or in our little rut on the couch and laugh wildly at a joke that rings a bit too true for comfort, or go to a bar to drown out the boredom, only to hear a tune that seems too familiar, sung by some great “talent” or other… We may feel it, in that moment, deep down in our guts and bones, that that particular tune, that punch-line was not meant for Them but for US…
And wasn’t it the one that came mewling to us in a dream or crossed our path on the way to work and went unnoticed, went unheeded, was shooed away and has now been (not-quite) forgotten?
It is up to us now… As it has been since the beginning.
If we wish to see this tragedy cease, we must take up the task of caring for our creative thoughts, our beautiful visions, and giving them the life they deserve… lest our familiars be left to wander like strays to any open door… And eventually devour the sweet souls who cannot help but take them in.