Soul of Genius
And so you want to know something about me? How could you? What is there to know about me? You might ask, you might wonder, you might investigate; you might pry and violate my privacy.
What is known, could be known, should be but is not–where then must we or anyone begin? To begin or not to begin by violating the sensitivity we claim to have for the things we claim to have sensitivity for, irrespective if we contradict ourselves at the moment of speech.
What then must I say about me–to say anything about you would violate a once held assumption I knew was self-evident until now.
I am a genius–does that say what someone is looking for, anyone might consider necessary––what is necessary?
Too many will consider this hyperbole; it is not. How do we manage our genius, those of us who are, actualy are, and not in the way we pander to common and popular taste. I do not know what else there is to say–I could say that Love is the Soul of Genius, but what would that say to anyone no immediately disposed to understanding it.
Yes, Love is the soul of genius, Mozart said. How could it not be? I have added. The question is rhetorical. Yes, love–and only love––this immortal essence?
Of genius? By genius? For genius? But what is genius? Who is a genius? Genius has been co-opted by advertising, hasn’t it? It has been used in any one of Hollywood’s or publishing’s many marketing strategies. The men and the women and the works of genius just multiply and exponentially, as time goes by, no? We are a pathetic people, we Americans. I do not envy any other people, but that does not put me in the position to accept what we think or do not think, cannot think––the thinking is the impossibility for us . . .
Genius, apart from our understanding of the word today, used to be a person of exceptional intellectual abilities, exceptional creative talent. I guess it means the same thing today–I do not really have to guess. It is, though, this evaluation of what constitutes exceptional abilities that I question, our ability to judge this when so many of us in a position to judge have been corrupted by a pedagogy more concerned for marketing strategies than educating. Yes, everyone was special in my son’s middle school, even the imbeciles.
Am I supposed to apologize for calling a cloudy day cloudy and not sunny–are all days sunny? Some children are fundamentally stupid. You do not have to make them feel badly because of this; you do not have to torture them by making them persist in tests of achievement they will not be able to complete. We do not have to lie to ourselves and not be honest with ourselves about them, academically, intellectually. We must always have compassion. We do not have to lower standards to make him fell better; there are many ways for him to adjust to the fact that he is not academically special.
We like to say for all endeavors we imagine are creative that genius is the guiding spirit of the person creating. In the case of Mozart’s claim, a guiding spirit itself coalescing with love becomes the principal force in the creative process. It is the essence of this spiritual force that ‘makes,’ as we say when we use the Greek poeta, or poet, for a man or a woman of creative power. Dare I say the word power? Love then is also at the heart of many things we want to do well, need to do well, whether we choose to or not; it is the guiding creative force behind our accomplishments.
The kind of genius Mozart was talking about I insist was the kind of genius that compels the creator to create. If poetry does not come as leaves to the tree than it better not come at all, said Keats. Of course, we reserve this understanding for endeavors outside the mundane, and we do not consider this notion of doing with love when we consider sweeping the floor, cleaning the windows, making coffee, although some do–nor do we reserve this analysis for doing the laundry, although we could, and perhaps we should. Without love, it is not possible to do anything well enough, and everyone needs to do better what it is they do, brushing the teeth, cleaning the house, making dinner, putting up the Christmas tree, buying a birthday gift, et cetera; there must be love at the heart of action, if action is to be completed appropriately.
What we desire to do, to accomplish, we should do with love, of course. Repetition is a rhetorical device and rhetorical devices should also be employed with love in our writing. Persuasion must come from love and thus from Truth otherwise it is all about buying and selling, pimping and prostitution. Without love there is no genius of any kind–we do get this in Mozart’s assertion, no? Thus, whatever we do, we do without the necessary genius if we do it without love–and love is not the passion that is greed. We have no genius for sweeping–do we? Or for washing the dishes, or for frying an egg. Yet, the woman or the man who bakes with love understands that love is the soul of genius in baking.
But what is love, we have to ask? Of course we do. We have, though, fallen out of the habit of defining our terms when we speak or write. Defining our terms was and remains always necessary for anyone who reads what we write to see where we stand in relation to what we are saying. Defining our terms is necessary to show where our ideas come from and where they are going. In any examination of the process of accretion in our thinking–and yes, I liken thinking to the processes in stellar evolution–in any articulation of the process of our thinking, we expose not only where we stand, that is, what our thesis is, but how we have arrived at our conclusions. Defining terms is always a good place to begin. So, what is love? The question is the query; inquiry is the pursuit. How do we define love? We can say–what? What then must we say?
I love my mother. I love good dark chocolate. I love van Gogh. I love reading Woolf. I love the shore at Montauk. I love being in Montauk, love how being there makes me feel. I love seeing the full moon in the sky, love recalling happy moments in my life. I love listening to Vivaldi, love how Vivaldi makes me cry–and I do cry when I listen to Vivaldi as I do cry sometimes when I listen to Louis Armstrong. I love visiting the Met, the Opera and the Museum. I love the Balanchine and Stravinsky pieces at the New York City Ballet, especially the black and whites, as I like to call them. What I love is wide and variegated. I also love the idea of being in love, as does Romeo. The kinds of love are varied. I love to fuck, of course–for me this is self-evident. Yes, I love sex, I love wine, I love women, I do, I really love women, the fact of women, the presence of women, the motion of women, the skin of women, the tits of women, the legs of women, the hands of women, hands still, hands moving, holding, caressing, manipulating, hands holding my hand, hands holding a fork, hands turning a spoon in a cup of coffee.
I love coffee, dark roasts, the smell, the taste, the feel in the mouth . . . I love women’s mouths, their lips, their tongues, I love their eyes, their ears, collar bones, necks, throats, all of this becoming too pornographic. I do not love pornography. Pornography is extreme focus, is it not. I do love close-ups; Extreme focus is a detail as we say in art criticism. Yes, the woman’s body in details, sharp focus of the parts, pornography. Woman metonymically–there is a great deal of difference between loving a woman sexual and engaging in what amounts to one or another forms of pornographic behavior. A woman’s cunt standing for her, part for whole, metonymy, or in this sense, the hole for the whole. I do not love this; or, I love a woman differently than the way I love her cunt–and I can love cunt, no? I love to fuck–you have to love fucking too much to love it enough?
I imagine that the power elite love power. I imagine torturers love torturing. I imagine that there is a genius for torturing, no? There are god and bad torturers. I am speaking about aesthetics. The grotesque, as you should know is a category of beauty. I love beauty–as I have said before. If I had pursued my degree in philosophy, I would have pursued a concentration in aesthetics. It is safe to say that anyone who succeeds in the games of power played in the world must be a lover of power.
I imagine that the monied elites love money, that they love to make money, accumulating money then would be an act of love? Is this love or is this a fetish? If a man seeks, finds and reaches sexual gratification from a woman’s shoe, this is fetish, not love, right? I do not make distinctions between love and lust, however.
The desire to fuck in itself, as I have made clear elsewhere in the course of my essays, is love. This desire for consummation at the site of or the proximity to one’s sexual interest is the beginning of love, a kind of love after which choices have to be made, are then made, that determine the fate of the love that has been initiated? Are we confusing love and lust? I do not want to be a prude and say that what we understand to be lust and lustfulness has nothing to do with love. That would be false. I am of the mind that the desire to fuck is love.
There is a line from Citizen Kane that resonates in relation to the aforementioned love of money; the lust for money? Greed cant be love? Greed can only be lust–lust without love is a degradation of the love within which the desire arose? Anyway, one of the characters responds to the reporter investigating Mr. Kane’s last word, “Rosebud” by saying that “it’s not hard to make a lot of money if the only thing you want to do is to make a lot of money.” So, where are we then? Kane had a genius for making money? He had another for spending it? Does the Devil have a genius for disruption, for distraction, for confusion? Of course he does.
The love of acquisition leads to acquisition. But is this love of acquisition actually love in itself love, the way we mean when we say love for one’s paramour; or love for one’s brother, whether that be one’s native brother or one’s brother in the sense Jesus means in the Gospels. Some say yes, others say no. I have my doubts, but raise the questions again. What I say I must first find out., and I only find out by writing. I ask what is love? Hence, I write about love. There are too many answers to provide, let alone all the aimless responses I could indulge on what I might imagine passes for thinking on the spot in a moment most likely abruptly in response to something said.
Love is obsession, I’m sure many must think; love cannot be obsession others say. Love is grace; there is no grace without love. God offers grace; then as I had been taught, God is the God of Love before he is the God of Justice, Retribution, Vengeance and Submission. Grace is an affectation of the debilitated religio-centric mind, or so we could believe. To be obsessed with somebody some say is love; others insist obsession cannot be love.
Jesus loves and by His love saves, Christians say. Love is kindness; love is compassion; love is sacrifice; love is altruism; love is giving and not taking; love is . . . what? Love is, in the Aquinian sense that Deus est and only Deus est. God is. This is the only valid thing to say about God. It is the only rhetoric to be used. To give attribute to God, to say that God is this or God is that would be to subtract from God, rhetorically, that is. So perhaps this is what we should say about love, Love is.
The Buddha speaks of love as the only antidote for hate. I recall the Dhammapada and Lord Buddha’s pronouncement that only love can dispel hate. Do the lovers of money dispel the haters of money, the haters of materialism? Perhaps they do.
Many think of love as a spiritual principle pervading the world. But how can it pervade the world when the globe turns on an axis of contempt, violence, corruption, greed and death? Yet, as I have said above, what if you loved power, what if you loved money? Certainly greed is an obsession, lust is an obsession. All the deadly sins are obsessions, we have said in our traditional conception of these losses of light. And they are losses of light–except we can then say that those who do not love the accumulation of wealth are those who have not seen the light. but then doesn’t Satan shine his own peculiar light on things in the world, of the world. Jesus does say be in the world , not of it. But then a Christian is supposed to believe in a God of light, a God of Truth. A Christian is supposed to believe in a body of spirit and flesh.
The human being is not solely a being of material/of body without spirit. Sin is darkness; love is light. This is old. Love and obsession cannot be the same? Love is forgiveness; obsession becomes jealousy; jealousy is not love? Love is redemption and transcendence; obsession is descent and the kitchen knife in your lover’s chest? But then that’s it. Love can become jealousy; it just doesn’t have to become a bullet in the heart.
Is love of money, though, the same as greed? Is there a way to love money without being greedy; isn’t being greedy loving accumulation too much. There is then a way to exceed? From the above sense of what love could be, I would have to say, no. Love of what you do can make you a lot of money, but the driving force of greed corrupts the love of what you do. Even when a lot of money is not the result; you can love what you do and you can corrupt that love of what you do.
The soul of genius, that is love . . . loving too much what you love in order to love it enough? Can the very, very rich be rich through the agency of love and not greed, or is the love of money in itself what we mean by avarice. Do Satan’s followers love him? Is what we call love applicable to Satan and anything satanic. Isn’t Satan and all things satanic a corruption of good, sin again being the absence of good, all things sinful devoid of any goodness, or some goodness, entering the darkness, sinful? How have we arrived at sin, at darkness.
This gives me an idea, love is light. Light is good. Light is the opposite of darkness, herein we are speaking of spiritual principles, things of spirit, love is a thing of spirit. Like soul, it is a non-locatable essence. Yes, soul–what is soul?
Love is essential; love also exists, at least we see manifestations from the existence of love. We do not see it or feel it as we do a stone, we do not taste it as we do wine, although we can become drunk on love–and I insist that this is not a corruption of love. To be intoxicated by love as Mozart was by the muses, his legendary enthusiasm for playing and composing was itself the ancient enthousiasmos, or divine infection by or from the Muses, the patronesses and protectors of music, of poetry.
Love, the soul of genius; the soul of Mozart’s genius for composing and playing music was his love of music, his love for humanity, we could say. Was love the 10th muse we could ask? This inquiry had been engaged by the British Romantics now nearly two hundred years ago. To what end I cannot say herein. We can understand, though, the attending spirit over Mozart, invigorated by love, what we hear we are supposed to know, to feel, is something exceptional in a way other than, greater than we usually mean when we use the word ‘genius.’