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E. Lee Spence

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Genius is the ability to look at things simply.
from a talk given by Spence before the Charleston chapter of Mensa International on March 1, 1983

E. Lee Spence

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Universality is the distinguishing mark of genius. There is no such thing as a special genius, a genius for mathematics, or for music, or even for chess, but only a universal genius. ... The theory of special genius, according to which for instance, it is supposed that a musical genius should be a fool at other subjects, confuses genius with talent. ... There are many kinds of talent, but only one kind of genius, and that is able to choose any kind of talent and master it.

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If John Logie Baird had been born in 1971 would he have been a genius? The only thing we know with any certainty is that he wouldn't have invented the television. Some people believe he would have still established his genius; that he would have simply found another arena in which to work. I disagree. I think he would have been distracted from such brainy pursuits by all that television.

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The genius of the English has always been their ability to adapt.

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There is something that is much more scarce, something finer far, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability. The sternest comment that can be made against employers as a class lies in the fact that men of Ability usually succeed in showing their worth in spite of their employer, and not with his assistance and encouragement.

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When I was about twelve, I used to think I must be a genius, but nobody's noticed. Either I'm a genius or I'm mad, which is it? "No," I said, "I can't be mad because nobody's put me away; therefore I'm a genius." Genius is a form of madness and we're all that way. But I used to be coy about it, like me guitar playing. But if there's such a thing as genius I am one. And if there isn't, I don't care.

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