The Genius Principle was not a discovery; it was a gradual realization that went against the grain of what mankind had believed for thousands of years. The first ‘’scientist’’ to realize this principle was in fact a philosopher turned psychometrician, Alfred Binet, the inventor of mankind’s first IQ test. Binet’s realization was seconded a few years later by an anthropologist, Claude Levi-Strauss, who wrote, ‘’All humans are geniuses and have been so for at least one million years.’’ Levi-Strauss based his assertion upon the fact that all children learn the most difficult thing in the universe to learn, human language, by age 6. It has taken mankind more than a century to realize that every human’s genius is time –sensitive, environment-sensitive and mentor sensitive which explains why genius is rare, but increasingly becoming more frequent as the art and science of parenting advance.
It’s been a long time in coming’ the notion that all humans are created equal; that each one of us is endowed with potential, powerful talents and useful faculties. But that earth-shaking change in how we humans regard each other is now here and can no longer be dismissed as idealistic. Among several others, this newest change in mankind’s core belief systems is both real and revolutionary in its implications.
The Genius Principle simply asserts that;
‘’At conception all humans are potential geniuses in some domain and that genius is time –sensitive, environment-sensitive and mentor-sensitive.’’
Although suppressed or ignored during most of the last 3,000 years, the Biblical idea of human equality did not die. The first great resurrection and articulation of that idea that all humans reflect a creative divine beings resurfaced in the U.S. declaration of independence in 1776. ‘’we hold these truths to be self-evident; all men are created equal….’’
One suitable definition of genius simply is, ‘’One capable of stupendous learning or creativity.’’ And why don’t we humans produce more geniuses?
After some further thought, observers might find an insightful answer to that question right in front of their eyes. Every day, if you are in public places, you will witness that around the world, parents scold their children about 4 to 8 times more frequently than they complement their children. The psychological damage done by messages embedded in persistent rebukes is gravely under-estimated by most parents.
Moreover, inept parenting damages children in hundreds of ways. According to a conference of special educators from all parts of Australia that took place in Fiji in 1980’s, at least 20 out of every 100 humans are damaged before birth by such preventable causes as poor nutrition, alcohol, drugs, wife abuse and the stresses on the mother that damage the brain of the fetus and impairs its abilities to produce the right hormones at the right time and in the right quantity. (Adrenalin in the mother’s body crosses through the placenta into the baby’s endocrine system, for example, and thereby inhibiting the male fetus production of testosterone). Another twenty percent of babies are damaged at birth, by, for example, being born facing harsh light that destroy untold numbers of neurons comprising the optic nerve system, the primary window for the brain. And Freud made the now very transparent observation that every neurosis has its roots in angers and frustrations left over abuse or neglect or unskilled parental practices during infancy and early childhood.
The final coup de grace for the superstition that only a few of us are inherently geniuses has been delivered by the Imafidon family of London, England, whose roots lie in southern Nigeria. The BBC called the Imafidon family ‘’Britain’s Brainiest Family,’’ and members of that family have been featured in most of the major media of Britain, most recently in the premier business magazine in the world, Forbes. All five children, now ages 12 to 24, have demonstrated incredible mental abilities, in all domains, from music to mathematics to athletics. The youngest, the twins Peter and Paula, passed the British high school mathematics examination at age 6 and the Cambridge University Advanced Mathematics Examination , which most Harvard or Stanford seniors would have trouble with, at age 8. The oldest child, Anne-Marie, was the youngest ever to graduate from Oxford with a Master’s degree in both mathematics and computer science and is now the youngest vice president for a Fortune 500 company, Deutsche Bank. The two middle children, Christiana and Samantha, also passed the most difficult standard mathematical examinations in Britain before age 10. If one were to ask a statistician what are the odds that one family will produce five extraordinary geniuses, her answer would have to be about one out of 8 billion since it has never happened before. Thus, chance or probability tables again prove unhelpful. We have to look for real, not superstitious, causes to explain genius. The Imafidon family’s remarkable story is reported in most of the British media.
One of the authors flew to London to see for himself if the members of this remarkable family were ‘’freaks of nature’’ or genuine normal humans who had the good fortune to be raised by exceptional parents. He was surprised by how very ‘’normal’’ all the children are except when they sit down to learn something new or to tutor other children. He discovered several factors that the parents had applied, some consciously, some probably unconsciously. For example, all of the children are at least 3 years apart except the twins, a spacing recommended by Burton White, the director of Harvard’s Early Childhood Research Center. The oldest, being in a loving home, apparently felt no sibling rivalry with her next sibling and thus she joined the mother-father team in mentoring/tutoring her first and subsequent siblings. The entire family engages in mutual tutoring, very intense mutual tutoring, on a regular basis, especially before examination times.
Unlike most families in the world, the Imafidon’s treat each other almost reverentially, as if they took to heart Jesus’ advice, ‘’And now I give you a new commandment, that ye love one another.’’ And from obeying that commandment derives all sorts of positive effects. The Imafidon family members are all devout Christians, but, fortunately, they exemplify the ‘’loving’’ aspects of that religion over the often rigid fundamentalism which is also often present in many cultures.
So, here again is the Genius Principle; ‘’All humans at conception are potential geniuses in some domain. That genius, however, is time-sensitive, environment-sensitive and mentor-sensitive.’’
Argue with principle if you wish. But imagine the consequences if the principle holds. If your objection and the majority’s objection rule, you don’t have to imagine. History affirms that when the opposite of the Genius Principle dominates a culture the results are predictably cruel slavery or other forms of exploitation and, ultimately, depravity.
Culled from a Public Lecture The “Genius Principle” delivered by Professor William Maxwell, one of only two Professors of Thinking Worldwide, at the University of Port Harcourt and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.