• This piece had me thinking about other reasons why we don’t “make geniuses” anymore.
  • In today’s world, every voice can potentially have a platform. (Almost) Everyone can scream into the void. Sure, their reach and influence is still controlled by external factors but I think what matters more is that many voices drown each other out. There is more competition and less focus on individuals.
  • Science and research are not free. Not in the monetary sense but also not in the “publicly shared and accessible” sense.
    • Who gets to publish, who gets to do research etc. is all controlled by universities and publishers (looking at you Elsevier), bureaucracy and funding.
    • You can still publish your manuscripts for everyone to read but due to point 1) you will likely not reach many people, let alone the right audience
      • On the internet, everyone is a nobody!
    • Being an “intellectual” also doesn’t earn you money
  • This next factor somewhat contradicts point 2) but supports point 1): We have access to so SO much information, that it is overwhelming
    • Without external help of someone with expertise (e.g. a tutor!), it is nearly impossible to distinguish between high- and low-value information and to prioritise what to work on
    • Managing information and learning from it without a tutor requires a distinct set of personal skills
    • Self study is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it’s not effective if you don’t know how and where to look
  • Following point 3), our brains are seldom idling. We’re always taking in a plethora of data which needs to be processed. Which means we don’t really get bored anymore and connecting the dots and turning your experience into knowledge or insight isn’t really happening anymore. (Someone even commented that under this blog post which is interesting:
    • That’s why shower thoughts are a thing. Or why your head feels strangely clear when you lie in bed in the dark.
    • (Talking to other people can also start this “oh, I finally get this, I should try X” process.)


“it appears that would-be-genius children had extremely abnormal amounts of one-on-one time with intellectually-inclined adults, who often introduced them to advanced topics far beyond their age” (🔗)

“The traditional line for why essentially all intellectuals used to be aristocrats is that they were the only people with the leisure time to pursue the life of the mind.” (🔗)

“Then they are thrown into the school system, a competitive academic meritocracy wrapped in an obtuse hierarchical bureaucracy, a structure in which they will spend most of their young adult life, forced to learn mostly from their peers, who know as little as they do.” (🔗)

“Today, tutoring is seen mostly as a corrective to failures” (🔗)

“what’s necessary for genius historically is early engagement with, not access to, intellectual subjects” (🔗)

“The unfortunate consequence is that, in a very real sense, our intellectual culture is filled with figures who are essentially mass-produced ersatz knock-offs of their aristocratic forebearers.” (🔗)