Genius Stifled, 5/12
No more miracle years?
I still don’t think I fully understand why these miracle years keep showing up in the lives of great scientists, except that it has something to do with them being young, concentrating intensely on the right problems, and remaining open to fresh perspectives.
Given how many of the great scientific discoveries have come about during miracle years, we should do everything we can to help smart Twentysomethings have an annus mirabilis. We should free them from rote menial work, prevent them from being overexposed to the current paradigm, and give them the freedom to explore far-fetched ideas without arbitrary deadlines or time-draining obligations.
It’s depressing that I have just described the opposite of a modern PhD program
It is possible that freedom and mentorship promote genius, and that formal education stifles it. That does not mean that formal education is bad for everyone. But it may be sub-optimal for the most talented.
‘ We should free them from rote menial work, prevent them from being overexpose…’
Simple solution, stop all Government research grants, then young minds will not be drawn to areas which are fashionable, hot issues for politicians and the activist/lobby industry and where the money is.
How much talent is diverted and engaged in finding ‘green solutions’ for this and that simply to duplicate technology we already have which serves well, and with what added benefit?
For example. What is the benefit to our society and economy from huge amounts of capital and resources going into development (fat chance) of enormous, expensive batteries to store wind/solar generated electricity?
I just finished reading Robert Greene's _Mastery_ last night, and the book's broad themes matched to some degree the quote Arnold provided. However, the book concludes that mastery of this type is not a miracle, and ends with this Nietzsche quote that I liked:
"Genius too does nothing but learn first how to lay bricks then how to build, and continually seek for material and continually form itself around it. Every activity of man is amazingly complicated, not only that of the genius: but none is a 'miracle.'"