In an article about President Obama’s
State of the Union address, Jonah Lehrer
takes a fascinating look at the nature of genius and innovation in the 21st century. In watching the speech, Jonah notes that Obama seeks to “usher in a golden era of American ingenuity.” Yet, ingenuity demands genius, which got Jonah to thinking: are there fewer individual geniuses today? And if so, why? As Jonah concludes — after comparing the public intellectuals of today with those of 150 years ago — the lack of singular geniuses isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a sign of our increasingly complex times. “[T]he era of the lone genius is coming to an end,” he writes.
More from Jonah’s Frontal Cortex
“If our current lists of global thinkers seem paltry, it’s because the best thinkers no longer exist by themselves, toiling away in a vacuum. Instead, they require the constant feedback and knowledge of others. We live in a world of such complexity that our problems [clean coal, hydrogen cars, everything in neuroscience, string theory, etc.] increasingly exceed the possibilities of the individual mind. Collaboration is no longer an option.”
Read more about keynote speaker Jonah Lehrer