On Being Gifted

One of the reasons I like having a blog is so I can write about things that cannot be discussed on the Internet. You certainly cannot have an intelligent conversation about what it means to be gifted on various social platforms. I often test the waters and it does not go well. I consider myself to be gifted. Nobody is allowed to decide this for themselves. We are told it is up to society to decide who is gifted. I really don’t see how somebody could be gifted and not know it unless society gives them this information about themselves.

Currently our culture is obsessed with superheroes who possess various powers. This reflects a desire to be exceptional. Yet our society has become egalitarian to a fault and would prefer to see everyone as being equals. Nobody is to be considered better than anyone else. But a superhero is not merely a heroic individual. They always have some special power which gives them exceptional strength or an ability to wield  a weapon like laser eyes. Exceptional intelligence is sometimes a super power but only in the villain. All of the special powers are pure fantasy. There is no interest in exceptional powers which might not be a fantasy, in other words gifts.

There are many types of gifts an individual might possess. Most gifted programs are only intended for children who seem exceptionally intelligent. And the only form of intelligence that is considered to be a gift is being good at mathematics. Almost all of the films about the gifted will be a film about a math genius or maybe a chess genius. The other type of gift which might be nourished is artistic talent, but only talent for the performing arts. There are schools for the performing arts and students who have some talent are directed to those schools.

I suspect that it is possible to be spiritually gifted. To be spiritually gifted is be easily inspired and prone to visions. Historically exceptional inspiration has been associated with gifted poets and credited to the gods. Inspiration is the breath of the gods which is given to the poet to give voice to the thoughts of the gods, a higher being. I suspect inspiration comes from the unconscious mind and is meant to urge the conscious mind to realize some possibility which was grasped by the unconscious mind, but not by the conscious mind. In other words, genius lies in the unconscious mind which must entice the conscious mind to bring something about, to realize a possibility. What the unconscious mind offers is a gift. A gift is an apt word, for a gift is truly a gift. Inspiration is an exceptional insight meant to lead one to improving one’s circumstances. In other words, having a gift should serve you well and lead to a better life. When a gift is directed to abstract goals like high artistic achievement or the creation of mere fantasies then it can fail to lead to any betterment and may actually blight your life. I can think of two plays were possessing a gift only prompts the ruthless pursuit of social status to the point of sacrificing everything; Proof by David Auburn and The Cordelia Dream by Marina Carr. In both of these plays I have noticed that the irrational yearning for the pinnacle of social status is curiously devoid of any real appreciation for the means of obtaining that social status. In other words, the mathematician in Proof never expresses any delight in mathematics and the pianist in The Cordelia Dream never expresses any appreciation for music. This complete lack of appreciation is undoubtedly responsible for their respective failures since they desire the fame that high achievement can give them yet they seen unable to value what they are meant to offer, that which society would see as having a high value.

A true gift is just that, a gift. It has incomparable value and the man who possesses a gift should be in no doubt as to its value. In others words a gift should be appreciated. To have the ability to create incomparable beauty is a gift and when that is achieved you should feel very pleased with what you have done. It needs no other reward. The ultimate reward for high artistic achievement lies in bringing something wonderful into being, something which would not otherwise exist. The very first person to appreciate a masterpiece should be the master who created it. The recognition you will receive from society is merely that, recognition of what has been accomplished. Getting that recognition is not the accomplishment. It should not be all that you are aiming for. I see this confusion over high artistic achievement all the time in the arts as far too many artists crave recognition as a high achievement instead of seeking the achievement of great art.

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