neuroscience | January 25, 2011

Jonah Lehrer Asks: Where Have All the Geniuses Gone?

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 blog:
“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

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speaker news | January 24, 2011