18/05/2012

Are the great born or made?

This is one of the important questions that human beings have been thinking about since the begging of time. Who knows for what purpose, perhaps that of turning us all into potential geniuses. Would that be possible? Talking about the issue, one always thinks of Mozart, Einstein, Picasso and lately Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. How are we going to compare to them? It seems impossible.

And that is due, in part, to the many scientific researchs that have been carried out on the issue. Yes, it seems that with proper education, and in a favorable environment, everyone can develop incredible skills. But, can we talk about genius?

Most of the studies say that in order to speak about genius, something innate is needed in addition to study, work and determination. We will conclude then that the great are born and made even though the proportion of one and other it is majorly unbalanced to second. The documentary My big brain, produced by National Geographic, and in which the American Arthur Toga, Professor of Neurology at the University of California, collaborates, points in that direction.

However, there are some voices, which disagree with this opinions. In his book The genius in everyone, the writer, journalist and filmmaker David Shenk faces this prevailing determinism and denies what we call innate talent. Shenk tries to prove that environmental stimuli or our own nerves are able to activate or deactivate the influence of genes. Hence, our talent is defined by how we use the inheritance we have received, plus the interaction with the world around us.

We cannot explain why a three year old is capable of playing a melody by Beethoven, but we understand that a young woman, who was not born with a privileged intelligence, can become a chess teacher based on an outstanding education, discipline and training. That’s the point: to enhance and achieve what is in our hands, which depends on us. This requires commitment and some sacrifice. You only need to be willing to do so.

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