You were born with unlimited creative potential, but most of us are de-geniused. How do we get de-geniused? And what can we do to get re-geniused? How can you reclaim your birthright of genius?
One of the best ways to get re-geniused is to spend time with geniuses (actually or virtually).
In Memoriam: Murray Gell-Mann (September 15,1929 - May 24, 2019)
Murray Gell-Mann emerged into our lives in 2010 through a dear friend, Felicity Broennan, who introduced us based on our mutual passion for wine and creativity. The photos here are from a few of the many fabulous evenings we enjoyed with Murray over the years, including dinners with other extraordinary characters such as playwright Sam Shepard, poet N. Scott Momaday and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.
Bonding with Murray wasn't always easy, especially if you were sensitive to having your knowledge of word and name derivations and pronunciations challenged and publicly corrected, but we made a real connection when I volunteered to organize his wine cellar. The elegance of Murray’s thinking in helping to evolve Chaos Theory wasn’t apparent in his collection. It was just plain chaotic! Fine Bordeaux were hidden amidst cases of plonk. Rare Burgundies were intermingled with generic Merlots. Recent releases were stacked with wines that were getting close to or already beyond their expiration date.
Murray was thrilled with the reordering and clean up and we were all rewarded when he opened a magnum of 1955 Latour that offered a degree of complexity that transported us all to another dimension of shared appreciation.
Beyond enjoying wine and conviviality our evenings were organized around discussions of the relationship between truth, beauty and goodness and the role of creativity in living “The Good Life.” One of the most stimulating conversations began when Sam Shepard stated that he felt that creativity was a gift that wasn’t readily available to the average person, whereas Murray argued that everyone had the capacity to develop their creative power if they were curious and passionate enough.
Murray’s curiosity and passion for nature (especially birds), women (especially Felicity), wine, language, humor, music, archeology, world cultures and of course physics, served as an attracting force that drew other guests to think in new ways. These conversations helped to inform my 2014 release Creativity On Demand: How to Ignite and Sustain the Fire of Genius.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
Recover Your Creative Birthright
Who are the most imaginative, playful, curious, passionate beings? Children! Every healthy child is born with an unlimited potential to create. And children are pure manifestations of creative energy. That’s why they are all charismatic. The adults we call geniuses are those who have maintained their childlike charisma by continuing to cultivate their imagination, curiosity, passion, and playfulness as they grow up and then channeling it all into their chosen discipline.
Sigmund Freud wrote a book about Leonardo da Vinci in which he noted, “The great Leonardo remained like a child for the whole of his life . . . Even as an adult he continued to play, and this was why he often appeared uncanny and incomprehensible to his contemporaries.” At age eighty-five, Nobel Laureate Murray Gell-Mann displays a marvelously playful attitude and a wickedly sharp wit. Murray explains, “I chose the name ‘Quark’ [the elementary particle he conceived that revolutionized physics) because it was quirky and amusing. I’m driven by insatiable curiosity about the nature of the universe and I’ve always viewed my work as a delightful game.”
Like Leonardo and Murray, you were born with a neural and energetic endowment that gives you unlimited creative potential. We inherit a birthright of genius, but with rare exceptions, most of us are de-geniused. How do we get de-geniused? And what can we do to get re-geniused?
One of the best ways to get re-geniused is to spend time in either actual or virtual modes with geniuses. You can start by watching Murray’s wonderful TED talk on the relationship between Truth, Beauty and Physics.
N. Scott Momaday, Michael Gelb & Murray Gell-Mann
The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee (excerpt)
“...You see, I am alive, I am alive
I stand in good relation to the earth
I stand in good relation to the gods
I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful
I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte
You see, I am alive, I am alive.”
― N. Scott Momaday
Sam Shepard, Felicity Broennan, Murray Gell-Mann, & Michael Gelb
Deborah Domanski with Murray Gell-Mann at Deborah's musical performance of Shakespeare's TEMPEST with Sir Derek Jacobi.
Champagne Toast with Michael & Murray. CHEERS!
Murray's form has returned to the complexity from which it emerged, but his brilliance will shine on into eternity...