Saturday, 5 November 2016

Genius, Circumstance and Critical Faculty


Nietzsche surmised in his opus Human, All Too Human that the capacity for genius was perhaps not so much rare as hard to come by, requiring a great mastery over καιρός, the right moment, as well as life circumstance. 

Furthermore, he argued, the minds of great thinkers or artists are continuously productive of good, average and bad ideas and it is the critical faculty, developed to a fine art, that enables the manifestation of quality in the deed and the work. 

Nietzsche used the apposite example of Beethoven who carved out his greatest melodies from a plethora of musical ideas of varying quality as evidenced in his notebooks. 

The word critical comes from the Greek κρίνειν, to differentiate and distinguish, including between what is higher and what is lower in quality. The critical faculty - as I have suggested in previous posts (Knowledge and Sensibility and Interpreting Information) - tends to be governed most by one's personal sensibility. 

A link could therefore be constructed between quality and good judgement, since critical faculty and judgement are the same thing. 

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