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On the Origin of Talent and Genius
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On the Origin of Talent and Genius

or from Homo Sapiens to Homo Faber, Humanus et Moralis

Presented in the paper are the results of an independent research conducted since 1984, within the context of the problem of creativity.

Four groups of the known theories of genius (pathological, psychoanalytical, those of qualitative and quantitative distinctions) are construed upon different conceptual grounds. Analyzing a certain set of known or specially studied facts, they arrive at polar, disagreeable conclusions as to the nature of this phenomenon.

Owing to the introduction of relevant physiologic, psychologic and gnosiologic aspects to the problem, a new synthetic hypothesis on the structural-and-functional organization of the genius brain has been suggested. An innovative, expanded notion of the genius has also been construed.

It may well serve as a prism through which well-known facts may be viewed under another angle of vision, and facilitate their arrangement in a non-contradictory fashion upon common, unifying conceptual base.

Besides, no less important would be to remove the brand of geniuses’ kinship with insane persons. Speculations of this sort, sometimes even clothed in contemporary scientific attire, appear now and then in mass media.

The results thus obtained may be used for more thorough planning of further research by the specialists in psychology of thinking, neurobiology, the theory of artificial intellect, and pedagogy.

The thinkers for a long time dwelt upon the origin of talent and genius. But that interest was mainly speculative, or as we would call it today, purely academic. Indeed, at that time practically no objective data were available on the functioning of the human brain. The psychology of higher nervous activity as the science yielding the most significant results has formed at the onset of the 20-th century. Psychology, this ancient branch of knowledge, has finally detached itself from philosophy and became an independent science only about 100 years ago.

But in our days the science, primarily its rapidly developing border branches -neurophysiology, neuropsychology, simulation of psychic processes, cybernetics &mbash; have accumulated enough objective data to make an appreciable advance in understanding the nature of talent and genius as phenomena of human reality.

The practical aspects of this are obvious enough: being many-sided and elusive, they are, nevertheless, very vivid examples of the real possibilities in possession of human being. As life-size models, they may be taken as a measure to check and improve, along with an experiment, the theoretical speculations and concepts as to functioning of the human psyche and intellect, and to plan more expediently new research. The answers to these questions would be very helpful for designers of new generations of computers, and for pedagogues &mbash; in choosing the optimum methods of teaching, adequate to the complexity of problems that will have to be faced and solved by the humanity of the 21-th century.

Definitions of the notions

Let us have a look at what is known today about talent and genius. The first notion seems to be simpler &mbash; so we'll start with it. Various authors (philosophers, writers, psychologists, etc.) define it differently, but, in general, a certain resultant mean may be drawn up. Here is a definition from a psychological dictionary: "Talent (from Greek "talanton" &mbash; initially – the weight, measure thereafter, in a figurative sense &mbash; the level of abilities) &mbash; a high level of abilities primarily, special ones, providing for high results in a certain field of activities. These results, in their turn, are innovative, based upon an original idea, and receive a high social appraisal."

The definition is somewhat dry-sounding, but precise and well-balanced. It reflects the phenomenology, i.e., visible manifestations (activity-wise) as well as the essence of the phenomenon (psychology-wise aspect). It is also well-known that the person may exhibit a talent in several, absolutely different, pursuits.

It should be mentioned that the talent allows for a certain, albeit rather approximate gradation or scaling, thus substantiating the principal possibility of its development: small &mbash; large, big &mbash; great, unique, etc. In this case, like in many others, a live language serves as a basis for reliable validation of any, even well warranted theoretical considerations and tenets. Actually, existing in the ethnos or nation for centuries and developing, evolving along with it, the language, much like a superfine organic filter, retains in everyday usage the words and expressions that more or less accurately reflect the essence of objects and phenomena that may, with incessant passage of time, unrecognizably change their outer image. It is well known, though, that an immanent essence of things is most precisely expressed not by the words in their daily usage, but by notions derived by science.

We may now proceed to the notion of genius (from Latin "genius" or spirit). The same dictionary determines it as the highest form of creative abilities &mbash; the general (intellectual) as well as special &mbash; in this sense the dividing line between talent and genius is rather arbitrary. The genius then is the person reaching the results of creative activities constituting an epoch in the life of society and development of culture (understood in the widest sense of the word). The philosophical dictionaries consider genius as the highest level of creative endowment; the creations of genius are marked by exceptional novelty and originality, and have a special historic significance for the progress of society. Other definitions view genius, on the one side -as the highest form of talent, as a combination of exceptional aptitudes, great patience and will; on the other &mbash; as the milestones of Humanity, growth points of civilization, etc.

It is worth mentioning that in the Western, especially in Anglo-Saxon and, specifically, American culture, the notion of genius has much wider meaning than in our, Slavic culture. This is a person with exceptional inborn (it is stressed practically by all authors) abilities for creativity in a given field of endeavor. Or, alternately, greatly surpassing the mean level of success in a certain field and getting the great social appraisal. Some even suggest considering a genius any person who, owing to one's achievements, became widely known in a given culture or society.

It is obvious that under this approach, there may be as many kinds of genius as there are fields of endeavor. This is corroborated by the definitions we come across daily: musical, poetic, military, financial, etc., genius.

The phenomenology of genius

On considering the most-widely used definitions of genius, one gets an impression that a genius is basically nothing but the talent- only much greater, reaching much higher results, and occurring much more seldom. Indeed, about l00 years ago, an extensive “polling” was carried out among the intellectuals and artists (as we would say today, by the expert estimates' method). The results showed that about 400 personalities are worthy of the title of genius &mbash; and all this during the entire history of civilization. But, most probably, these figures reflect the highest standards in the estimates of the contribution each of them made to the treasury of Mankind.

A similar analysis has been recently performed by W. Bowerman (USA), whereat various statistical data were laid out at the contemporary scientific level. The scales or dimensions used were: an epoch, geography, ethnos or nationality, occupation or profession, lifetime, family status, etc. The list included l000 personalities. Not much too &mbash; for 2000 years covered.

To sum it all: there seems to be more than enough examples and various factual data, but still no clear comprehension of essential distinctions between genius and talent and, moreover, the person with ordinary abilities.

The situation outlined is, however, readily explained: as noted before, the research in higher psychic, intrinsically human functions has begun not so long ago, if compared with the age of other sciences. Besides, the utmost complexity of the very object of research and well-grounded medical-and-ethics limitations as well as the impossibility of directly transferring the extensive data obtained in the experiments on animals, to human beings &mbash; are narrowing markedly the horizon of the human brain investigations. And it is twice as true of the borderline, highly variable and very rare occurrences of genius.

Revealing and predicting the event of genius?

The question posed is natural enough, and test methods come first to one's mind. They may indeed provide a rough quantitative estimate as to the level of, mainly, intellectual-and-mnestic functions (based primarily on the language or the second signal system). But they seem to yield reliable results only in the range from the ordinary (a certain "statistical mean") abilities to the talent, in its different gradations. Such conclusion is supported by the following well-established fact: high Intelligence Quotient (IQ), even combined with a high educational level doesn't necessarily indicate a high creativity potential. They are just prerequisite, but not sufficient conditions for reaching very high results in creative activities per se &mbash; be it in science, art, management, etc. Of not lesser importance are a number of psychological features or qualities related to emotional, motivational and will spheres of personality. All these form in their entity that always unique "alloy" ensuring the effective use of purely intellectual abilities. Resulting from this complex combination is a new, original and high-quality creative product.

Summing up, it may be taken that various batteries of tests widely used nowadays are, in principle, unsuitable for detecting and, moreover, prognosticating an advent of genius. We may use the following reasoning: Firstly, the history shows that the contemporaries are not, as a rule, ready to recognize real genius as such -this is rather a privilege and duty of the descendants. Secondly, any tests are designed by people &mbash; whether able or talented, is of little consequence here. And the answers to the questions offered (at most, the best one) are supposed to be known. But the distinctive feature of a genius, as will be shown below in detail, is the ability to pose the questions of his own &mbash; but not to other people. A genius asks, in a general case, the Nature &mbash; while the others remain unaware of the problem at all. It should be reminded that getting answers of this kind solely on the basis of the knowledge already acquired (or, in a wider sense, accumulated human experience) is, by definition, impossible. J. Majers (Germany), one of the first investigators of the problem, put it thus: "...Talented person is a sharpshooter hitting the target which seems very difficult to reach to the rest of us. The genius hits the target we cannot see at all”. And, thirdly, even if such a testing could be arranged, it would, most probably, yield no worthwhile results. Indeed, the genius is an obvious "break of continuity" or "qualitative jump" of yet unknown origin.

The situation described could be illustrated with a following diagram:

Result / Normalcy Talent Genius

Let us lay down the level of abilities along X-axis, and the creative work result (characterized by the qualitative and quantitative properties of its product) &mbash; along Y-axis.

As can be seen, the sharp "climb" of the result's indice occurs somewhere at the divide between the talent and genius "ranges". Insignificant (if at all) increase in the level of abilities cannot account for this. Neither can any "factoring" theories of creativity.

Viable routs of revealing the nature of genius

As we have seen, a "head-on" attempt at using the dialectics law of the transition of quantitative changes to qualitative ones won't work here. If it did, we would have to admit one of two alternatives:
&mbash; The brain of a genius (physiological substratum) is initially (as a genetically transmitted feature) or, having formed in ontogenesis, i.e., the process of individual development (as an inborn plus acquired qualities) is qualitatively different from a "normal" brain. It has to be noted that these views are based upon the theories of "qualitative superiority" originating to F. Galton and A. Shoepenhauer, to be discussed below. But they were not confirmed by contemporary scientific data. Thus, numerous pathoanatomical investigations on the brains of the great personalities revealed no positive results. It includes the latest of them (according to media news, by two Australian scientists, A. Snyder and D. Mitchell, in 1998) &mbash; on the preparation of A. Einstein's brain. As will be shown below in detail, all such attempts to elucidate the brain mechanisms of a genius "in vitro" are, most probably, futile in principle. They can be, in principle again, observed and studied "in vivo" only, in its action. A considerable portion of this paper is dedicated to substantiating this very argument, vital for the problem in question.
&mbash; The structural-and-functional organization of the genius' brain is entirely different, when compared with that of the person with ordinary abilities.

We shall dwell on the second alternative as evidently more promising. It is worth mentioning again: owing to the reasons stated above, there are no direct experimental data on the issue. An ever widening front of research in neuro-psychology and neurophysiology, providing the most significant data, covers as yet comparatively simple forms of psychic activity; more intimate, subtle brain mechanisms responsible for its higher forms have mostly to be guessed by indirect evidence. This is an analysis of the phenomenon of genius from the side of activity, i.e., the subject and product. As to its psychological manifestations, considering for their immense variability and insufficient understanding of general physiological mechanisms, it adds very little to comprehending the phenomenon. Moreover, in investigations of the brain mechanisms providing for complex forms of mental activities, the psychological aspects are often treated only as "a background" and accounted inadequately as to the complexity of the processes in question. On the whole, taking into account an intertwining and very close correlation of psychological and physiological aspects of the brain operation, the main results may be expected at "the interfaces" of psychology and physiology, whereat the methods and instrumentation of both sciences are used.

The theories on the nature of genius

Helvetsy, the French philosopher of the 18-th century, seems to be the first one to dwell (in the general context of studying the human mentality) on the nature of genius. In his renowned treatise "On the intellect" he stood up for the acquired, socially determined character of the conception and development of human abilities.

In the 19-th century the German philosopher A. Shoepenhauer in his famous "Maxims"(1851) examined the problem of genius in detail &mbash; and understandably so, from phenomenological, outer side. He explained the achievements of genius as a consequence of a unique combination of inborn abilities. The same position was taken by such thinkers as R. W. Emerson (USA) and T. Carlisle (GB). Nowadays these views are shared by a great number of scholars.

Totally different approach to the problem was taken by the Italian psychiatrist Ch. Lombroseau in his treatise "Genius and Insanity. Mystery of an Intellect: Considerations on the Possibilities of Human Mind". He presented the results of his own long-lasting clinical observations, along with historical-and-biographical analysis of the lives of the great personalities of new times. They may be summarized as follows:
&mbash; a genius is characterized, as a rule, by quite visible and substantial deviations from some commonly taken "standard" character features and behavioral patterns, or as we would put it today, in personality's psychological profile;
&mbash; inherent to the majority of them were very high impressionability and sensitivity >to external irritants and stimuli;
&mbash; extraordinary purposefulness and persistence in fulfilling the tasks planned and reaching the objectives set, often range on affliction and obsession, thus sharply differentiating them from talents;
&mbash; their customary activity is very seldom even and orderly: the periods of the highest creative animation, reaching the state of ecstasy, are followed, due to excessive nervous energy losses, by equally excessive tiredness, up to complete prostration and inability to think;
&mbash; very often they used to excess various stimulants for keeping up creative activity;
&mbash; many of them describe their work (especially in periods of inspiration) as practically unconscious.

The analysis of genealogy in the families with unusually high incidence of exceptionally gifted persons didn't yield the conclusive evidence in favor of the theories of genius' inheritance. Contemporary genetics also has not revealed the hereditary (not to be confused with inborn) determination of genius, as mentioned above. Leaning upon established facts, it may only be asserted that genetically determined is the type of the nervous system &mbash; and psychological features are not inherited. More detailed and differentiated evaluation of inborn and acquired features in the psychological profile of the person remains, evidently, a scientific task of the days to come.

A predisposition of geniuses to various psychic anomalies was found to be higher, compared with average figures for population in general. On the whole, according to Ch. Lombroseau, there are enough points of contact between these two phenomena from physiological positions.

His followers in the 20-th century, primarily the psychologists W. Lange and E. Kraepeline (Germany), came to more radical conclusions. Namely, that there are no appreciable differences between the abilities of a genius and ordinary well-developed person. Outstanding achievements of the former were attributed solely to psychopathic factors (the correctness of these conclusions, within the framework of the concept offered in this paper, will be specially discussed below).

The third group of theories, psychoanalytical (such classification was introduced in 1950s by American psychoanalyst A. Anastazy) is based upon neofreudean ideas. For example, E. Fromm and K. Horny, reasoning from Z. Freud's fundamental concept as to the leading role of unconscious in the entire psychic life of an individual, consider genius to be a manifestation of the unconscious acts of creative forces. Used by them as arguments are self-reports of the famous people, mainly from the sphere of art, describing the process of creative ideas' origination and implementation as practically uncontrollable by conscience and occurring under the influence of some outer forces. It will be recalled that similar conclusions were made by the supporters of the "pathological" theories of genius. Besides, they hold that geniuses have ordinary abilities &mbash; again at one with the followers of Ch. Lombroseau, &mbash; but use their abilities to the utmost, owing to exceptionally strong motivation, an unswerving concentration on their work.

This paper is obviously not aimed at a detailed analysis and criticism of the psychoanalytical schools' theories. Their explications of the most complex psychic phenomena, in particular, their creative forms, have been discussed on numerous occasions. Suffice it to say that virtual exclusion of rational thinking from the creative process is in a certain sense quite natural. Since Descartes and up to the beginning of the 2O-th century, when Freud opened up the "ocean of unconscious" for scientific analysis, the process of thinking was considered strictly rational &mbash; and nowadays it is often "accurate to the contrary". But a rigorous rejection of facts concerning brain mechanisms, positively established by contemporary science, cannot be considered justified.

The leading role of unconscious processes based on associative-and-figurative thinking, is unquestionable, especially so in Arts. And, primarily, the spheres wherein the role of the formal logic or discursive thinking based upon the language, is least significant: painting, sculpture, music... But as for literature, poetry, playwriting, etc., this can't be considered entirely correct &mbash; if only one doesn't turn to supernatural forces. And such an explanation becomes absolutely inadequate in relation to all those who chose science, technology and multitude of other subject spheres as their field of endeavor; these aspects are discussed further. It will be remembered here that I. Pavlov established and described two markedly differing personality types, viz., "an artist" and "a thinker". It is now explained by the leading role of the right or left brain hemispheres in a unified process of thinking. But an extrapolation of regularities and relationships inherent in certain creative spheres (and arts in particular) to the rest of them would invariably mean bringing additional confusion into the issue requiring very careful and weighted estimates.

The forth group of theories related to our times, presupposes a gift for creative work in all people, but to a lesser degree than in a genius. The latter then is simply a result of the "quantitative superiority" reached upon favorable social conditions: proper upbringing and education, high social significance of the specific creative product, etc. To put it shortly, a genius is viewed as an uppermost limit of the continuous distribution of abilities, yielding considerably higher results.

Thus we have here a practical application of the above-mentioned dialectics law. True enough, considering the theory of "qualitative superiority" described earlier, the dialectics is the only tool that can be used here &mbash; because the qualitative jump is unmistakable. But the science has not found yet sufficient grounds for such a jump &mbash; neither in the nervous substratum, nor in the parameters of the brain's electrical activity registered today. The dialectics' laws must be working in another way &mbash; and that is exactly what we are trying to elucidate.

In conclusion, it may be said that each of the theories has its indisputable achievements and is based upon more or less convincing arguments resulting from the analysis of phenomenology of a genius as objective reality. But, viewed separately, they can reveal and explain only certain sides and aspects of this multidimensional, but intrinsically whole phenomenon &mbash; without delving into its depth wherein, as will be shown below, the sought-for essence resides. To aggravate the situation, their principally different conceptual grounds lead to controversial, mutually excluding explanations of even firmly established facts. Another limiting factor is the absence of an adequate scientific notion of genius, which could be operationalized and verified &mbash; a notion which would cover its principal links and mediations.

But let us not forget that such a situation is rather typical of science and, in particular, psychology. The construction of the hypothetical theory of creative activities requires a thorough and many-sided analysis of its various kinds and forms, as well as psychological processes concerned and physiological mechanisms involved. On the other hand, the very analysis and explanation of the results gained up to now are hampered by the absence of a unified theory.

In this connection, prior to continuing the analysis of the problem, mention should be made of V. I. Vernadsky's warning as to the attempts of developing a general theory of creatively &mbash; first of all, its excessive formalization. In his view, any conceptual constructs may, at the most, outline very broad contours and main tendencies of the multitude of creative processes. There should be no illusions as to covering the whole spectrum of their implementations, of all their variability.

In this sense precisely, the paper presented aims at a synthesis of everything positive and constructive contained in the theories described, upon a single basis of materialistic dialectics. This must provide us with a non-controversial and, to a certain extent, generalized picture of genius as a phenomenon, and assist in revealing the main principles of its determination.

A possible way out of a blind alley

A brief acquaintance with the history of studying the phenomenon of genius shows that a further analysis &mbash; by itself, within the boundaries of any group of theories outlined, &mbash; would not yield anything radically new. Indeed, we would only receive a certain set of new facts being very difficult to correlate with an extensive and dissimilar array of those already known.

Studying the problem may be moved from a standstill only with a new approach based upon a synthesis, delicately integrating and focusing all findings of the Arts and Natural Sciences, pertaining to the problem of creativity. It may be achieved by advancing a new hypothesis capable of introducing new aspects into the problem of the origin of talent and genius.

What exactly is meant here? It is well known that the studies of the problem in question have been carried up to now in two main aspects:
&mbash; activity-wise: an analysis of creative work's product estimated by its novelty and social significance or appraisal;
&mbash; psychological: by subjectively (introspection or observation) or objectively (instrumentally), registering the psychological processes and states during the creative activity.

As for physiological aspect, the situation is much more complex. As we have noted above, the bulk of data on higher nervous activity obtained in experiments on the animals must, of necessity, be very gingerly extrapolated to humans. Furthermore, due to obvious limitations, the brain sciences have to move ever deeper into substratum very carefully and slowly. As regards the human-oriented branches of cybernetics laying the bridge between organic and inorganic domains of Nature, there still exists an objective barrier of complexity, incommensurate as yet with the methods and technologies of today.

It is obvious, though, that only understanding of physiological mechanisms providing for creative activity, especially its most productive forms, may give the notion of genius a visible and completed form of highly ordered integrity.

The comparative analysis of the theories of genius shows that, with the exception of the earliest treatises, the studies have not considered the widest plan of all, the philosophical one. Or, more precisely, it seems that the question of including the problem under consideration into general conceptual and categorical contexts of the theory of cognition, gnosiology, has not been posed explicitly. And it's easily explainable: in those times all the aspects of the problem were viewed and studied in their entity &mbash; quite in the spirit of natural philosophy. Later on, with psychology becoming an independent science and its rapid differentiation, once single flow of studies related to human beings, as it should, branched to a multitude of rather loosely connected scientific "streams" wherein "a dilution of synthesis in analysis" gradually took place. Nowadays, the tendencies of synthetic approach are becoming increasingly more vital in science, and in the problem of creativity in particular.

Returning to gnosiologic aspect, it may now be positively stated: an issue of very specific and characteristic features of the problems usually solved by genius minds were left outside the sphere of analysis. We mean here the ability of a genius to cognize the essence of objects and phenomena of surrounding world &mbash; or as Shakespeare put it, “the nature of things”, -and the laws governing them.

Synthetic stage

Considering the admonition mentioned above, we shall not attempt to cover the whole phenomenon at once. To avoid a polysemantism of notions and a vagueness of conclusions, &mbash; which are inevitable with generalized consideration of the highest forms of creativity without taking a due account of their key particulars in two main realms, art and science, &mbash; we shall initially concentrate on science. It stands to reason, because the science possesses much more systematized bulk of data pertaining to the object of our study. But keeping always in mind that the concept offered herein must retain in its principal elements an essential identity, an isomorphism in relation to various spheres of human activities. In other words, the sought-for essence of genius must (by definition) be practically the same, identical for all diversity of its actual manifestations.

From now on, there are two possible routes of synthesis &mbash; taking into account the controversy of the research situation. Indeed, we have an ample quantity of heterogeneous and different-order descriptive, phenomenological data and their explanations which are contradictory in principle. Their plausible agreement may be achieved by advancing a complex hypothesis. And at first sight it would be logical to develop it consecutively, introducing the above-mentioned aspects into consideration one by one But to insure the integrity of comprehension and adequate cognition of the phenomenon, it is evidently prudent to present its central part, the core &mbash; the definition of the notion of genius at this stage. And use it further on as a distinctive "system-forming factor" in a subject-oriented and logically consecutive consideration of all specific issues comprising the problem &mbash; supported by the formulated notion.

Thus, the notion of genius, complementing and developing those already known, in the dialectical unity of its operational, activity and gnosiologic aspects, may be formulated as follows:

Genius is a great creative ability of a person, including the capability of one's brain to form, while solving complex problems (with the number of incidental or labyrinth trials and errors in the order of hundreds of thousands or millions) under the influence of ultrastable dominant, a controllable, stable and prolonged emotional discharge, and with substantially lowered level of psychological or personal defence, a large heterogeneous functional system providing for mental activity. The results of its operation are implemented in the innovative and original products issuing from the cognition of certain sides of the essence of events and objects of reality. Their introduction into the subjective and spiritual spheres or human activities constitutes an epoch in the life of society and the advance of culture.

Problem solving versus In search of the unknown

The central question pertaining to creative activities in all their specific forms and applications as the search for something new, was distinctly formulated as early as antiquity: "How can we search for something not known to us; and if we know what we are searching for, why do we have to search?"

To further clarify this question which has not received a satisfactory answer up to now, let us consider a typical algorithm of problem solving &mbash; as it is done in the psychology of thinking and cognitive psychology (e.g., O.G. Tychomirov, 1983; M. Vertheimer, 1987). In doing so, we shall, as agreed before, use mainly the subject material of science. The main criterion of creativity will remain the same: finding something new, unknown before, or presenting something known from a new side. We shall proceed, understanding the human psyche and thinking as the whole, in integrity of their principal mechanisms and processes &mbash; irrespective of the specific forms and features they take, &mbash; be it in science or art, in theory or practice.

A typical process of solving the problem situation or simply a problem includes the following operations or stages:

1. Discovering or revealing the problem, its investigation/analysis and comprehension/realization.

2. Setting up/formulating the task &mbash; as something known/given and something sought-for, unknown or required.

3. Putting forward a hypothesis (or an idea, plan or concept of solving the problem).

Checking up or trying to substantiate the hypothesis:
&mbash; if it has proved to be valid in experiment or found a conclusive theoretical confirmation, formulating and drawing up the decision; if possible, its generalization and transfer to another or wider class of objects and events;
&mbash; if it has been proved false, proposing a new hypothesis, etc.; a new cycle from ii. 3,4.

5. On completing the consideration of all possible/thought-of hypothetical ways of solving the problem, returning to i.2. Restating the task/ formulating a new task, etc.; a new cycle from ii. 2-4.

6. On completing the consideration of all possible tasks, returning to i.l. A recurring analysis and realization of the problem, etc.; a cycle from ii. 2-5 until a final solution is found.

In the process of solving a specific problem, certain stages may coincide or be combined, and the cycles arranged in another way. But a general layout will be similar to that presented above.

Psychophysiological aspect

Let us analyze these typical stages to determine the psychological qualities providing for the most efficient attainment of entirely different results required at each of them; and as far as possible, their supposed physiological correlates. The ultimate aim being the elucidation of the distinctive features of the genius' creative thinking.

The first distinction is revealed right at the first stage, originating the entire process of finding something new. It should be pointed out that this very stage has not received a due attention from the investigators of thinking process as well as creative activities; the studies begin, as a rule, from the task formulation.

As noted above, life observations corroborated by the history of science and technology, indicate the following: detecting and recognizing a new problem unseen yet by the others, but ripening already within the depths of social practice, is a duty and prerogative of a genius. It also seems obvious that sharp-sightedness in seeing still vague and undeveloped problems is determined not by the power of the intellect proper, but requires certain personality traits that have to be much more developed, compared to those of a person with ordinary abilities.

Let us first look into an issue of intellect. It is characterized by a multitude of features or qualities and parameters; those pertaining to creativity are well studied and described in a special and popular literature. As mentioned earlier, even high IQ in conjunction with extensive academic knowledge do not necessarily mean a high creative potential, an ability to create something new. But let us not forget that it can be derived only from something already existing, on the basis of something already known, i. e., past experience, either personal or social &mbash; but acquired by the person. In just the same way, seeing (or more precisely, foreseeing) something new means revealing, noticing it on the background of something well-known and used-to. It definitely points not to a highly developed intellect per se, but to a high sensitivity to stimuli received by a nervous system from the environment (or natural and social surroundings of the person).

Here is how it is described by the American psychologist D. Gowen: "...We have too long considered the brain as a device for problem solving. More correctly, it is a receiving device which, if adequately tuned, can receive very weak signals that are always present, but are accessible only for the most precise and sensitive appliances, with the optimal conditions of their operation..."

And Ch. Lombroseau set off, in this connection, the following; ...Very strong impressionability &mbash; up to the sickliness, morbidity. The highest sensitivity to outer irritations. What a normal person perceives like a prick of a pin is to a genius like a stab of a dagger". Even accounting for the relativity of these analogies, their psycho-physiological meaning is obvious enough.

It should be stressed that not only a small absolute value of the sensitivity threshold is relevant here. Of no less significance is a resolution (or, in physiological terms, the differentiating ability). True enough, as we have established in analyzing a typical problem solving sequence, the process of detecting and comprehending still undeveloped problem is practically identical to the search and discrimination of ultralow signal from the background of inherent, more or less strong noise. It is obvious that the observation results and accompanying speculations given above, being entirely descriptive, are inadequate as a basis for conclusions of any value. But owing to a well understood difficulties of setting up direct experiments with highly gifted persons, the observations still remain the main source of relevant data. And it should be born in mind that the multiplicity of meanings attributed to many notions in differential psychology, the theoretical "reconstructions" and explanations of observed facts sometimes turn out to be vague and tangled. Moreover, they are often based upon a mixture of scientific and everyday, figurative notions that are very difficult to divide. Thus, we shall turn to the concepts corroborated by experimental data.

According to I. P. Pavlov and his followers, a high sensitivity/reactivity of the nervous system has as a consequence its weakness, i.e. low threshold of capacity for work (characterized by a strong irritability, rapid functional collapse of nervous cells and rapid development of inhibition processes). Such a type of the nervous system is compared by the researchers with a supersensitive photographic film which suffers from "lighting-up” &mbash; with ultrahigh irritant, or "overexposure", with prolonged action of an irritant( B. M. Teplov, 1985).

These experimental data partially coincide with Ch. Lombroseau's clinical observations noted above. But he indicated yet another property of a genius: "...times of extremely intense creative bouts alternate with periods of complete physical collapse". However, proceeding from the criterium of the capacity for work, a weak nervous system is not capable of withstanding ultrahigh and/or lengthy overexertion. How then does a high sensitivity (indisputably, one of genius' distinctions) compromise with a high capacity for work?

True enough, there is an ample number of examples of great people enduring lengthy creative overstrain. It will suffice to recollect Leonardo da Vinci not laying down his tassel for more than a day while wall-painting the Sixtine Capella (the Master's hand went completely lifeless for a while afterwards &mbash; but this is not relevant in our context). This is also Paul Goghin, painting "at a stretch" many of his canvasses; and D. I. Mendeleev, standing three days in succession at the bureau trying to establish a correct layout of the periodic table of elements (thereafter an answer came to him in sleep &mbash; but that is irrelevant as well); according to reminiscences of A. Einstein, between 1914 and 1916, prior to making public the principle of relativity, in the process of almost incessant, to obsession, thinking, he was advancing and rejecting a new hypothesae about every two minutes. We may recall also I. Newton, working for 16 hours a day around the year, practically all his creative life; and Ch. Darwin and I. Pavlov with their two decades of "continuous thinking"; and L. Tolstoy, rewriting 11 times the whole of "The War and Peace"; and A. Ivanov who was painting his large-scale "Appearance of Christ to people" for l0 years, etc., etc...

Obviously, such working bouts can be withstood, if at all, by a strong nervous system. This contradiction may be solved by suggesting an entirely different way of ensuring high sensitivity for a strong nervous system. And this suggestion fits well into a general concept of a hypersystem. Specifically, it is a reduction &mbash; to a very low level &mbash; of the psychological or personal defense (PD). It is conventionally understood as a special regulatory system of personality psychic stabilization, its main function being to keep to a minimum the feelings of anxiety when an individual confronts the conflict with the environment &mbash; by guarding the conscious from painful feelings born in the unconscious. An issue of PD is considered in general psychology and its applied branches in a wider context of interpersonal interactions and communications and intrapersonal conflicts. In the first instance it could be termed an outer PD (or PD's outer boundary), in the second instance &mbash; an inner PD (or PD's inner boundary) -whether it is considered as two interrelated systems or a single two-level system is of no relevance here.

The study of the role and significance of PD (we mean the internal PD, in the sense mentioned) initiated by Z. Freud, is extensively covered in the literature, mainly of the psychoanalytical school. As regards the works, primarily of art, their creation is attributed primarily to the mechanism of sublimation included in the PD. In this connection, we are interested in one of the psychoanalytical theories of creativity explaining an absence of creative abilities by the "defence functions" preformed (in the course of individual development). And further, postulating the very possibility of an existence and development of these abilities in the absence of such defences. These statements were verified by P. S. Powers (1978) (USA) while investigating the influence of hypnosis upon the creative potential of a person.

It was established therein that "even a short-term liberation of the persons under investigation from the functions of defence, enhanced their creative opportunities". Much the same effect was obtained if the persons in question imitated a hypnotic effect themselves, i.e. performing a peculiar autogeneous “self-exposure”. Another investigator, V. L. Rajkov (1968, 1972) observed the same effects on suggesting to the persons in a state of hypnosis the images of well-known creative personalities.

Of paramount importance in our context is an inference that a stable centre or nidus of excitation (a stable dominant) aimed at mobilizing the psychophysiological reserves of the organism, exerts a pronounced stimulating effect on the brain operation. Besides, markedly increased is not only a capacity for work, but also a task complexity limit at which a dominant transforms into a parabiosis.

The results of the experiments cited agree in general with the hypersystem concept offered here, its principal physiological mechanisms being an ultrastable dominant and a stable, prolonged and at least partially controlled emotional discharge.

The suggestion of an extremely low level of genius' psychological defence is indirectly substantiated by yet another distinction noted by many authors: their simplicity and artlessness, ingenuousness. That's how A. Shoepenhauer put it: “...Every child is to a certain extent a genius, and every genius is to a certain extent a child. Their affinity lies largely in the naivety and lofty ingenuousness, simple-heartedness, openness”. Obviously, this is not a simplicity that is worse than a theft, according to a Russian proverb. Unlike a sheer primitiveness, it is the most naturally (or still better, optimally ) arranged complexity. But this quality is rather difficult to discern due to very prominent, visible to a naked eye, very often peculiar and strange character features. They may completely mask it from an inquisitive and partial look. Another affinity may be added on our own behalf: it is in a gigantic capacity for work; in an adult it is obvious enough, in the child &mbash; hidden inside a very rapid process of becoming a person, in acquiring an uncountable number of bits of knowledge, skills and knacks, and doing all this as fast as life itself requires it.

A child or, more precisely, an infant has evidently no psychological defence. It is formed or builds up gradually, in the process of one's ever widening and becoming more and more complex, social interactions. On the contrary, in a genius the PD must undergo a process or stage of deactivation or demobilization (under the influence of a set of inner and outer factors noted) in the process of hypersystem's formation). There is no sense in speculating now whether the same principle may be applied to the instances of very early manifestations of exceptional abilities; really, all the above assumptions may be verified only by means of the experiments. But in any case, an initialization, the very beginning of this process is possible, if at all, upon three key conditions
&mbash; a sufficiently high development of the individual's psyche as a whole;
&mbash; a strong(-type) nervous system;
&mbash; a formation of a very strong and stable dominant and a stable and continuous emotional discharge which is becoming increasingly controlled in the hypersystem's evolution.

The genius' nature traits discussed above mean, in their entirety, an openness of one's psyche to the outer world. They are also adequately reflected in everyday language. Such expressions as "the simplicity of a genius", "as simple as all that is genius", etc., as well as "as simple as the truth", "the truth speaks for itself”, etc., are complementing a picture of inner, essential affinity of a genius and the truth. He is grasping and elucidating the truth while it reflects, as it must, the nature or essence of things.

It should be remembered that we have considered the very first stage of the problem solving process, determining, however, all the rest of them. But naturally, they cannot be reduced to the psychological processes discussed. The basic process of searching for unknown which is included to a greater or lesser extent to all subsequent stages, is well investigated by the psychology of thinking and cybernetics in its numerous applications (e.g., O. K. Tichomirov, 1983; A. B. Brushlinsky, 1970). This process was named an orienting-and-searching activity. Its subject is information received from the person's surroundings and from past experience, and multi-sidedly processed at various stages of the process of thinking.

Currently, it has been almost generally agreed that directly contrasting conscious processes with unconscious ones in a unified, intrinsically whole process of thinking is both methodically incorrect and non-constructive. Obviously, it includes both as closely intertwined and interdependent components, their relations determined by the subjective and operational features of each process stage; they become alternately the leading ones. The conscious steps deal with "verbalized" senses presented as words or symbols &mbash; and traditionally associated with functioning of the cortex, the consciousness. The latter operate with "non-verbalized" senses and occur principally in the unconscious (or subcortex, the subconscious).

It has been found (e.g., O.K.Tichomirov, 1983) that a general amount of "unconscious work" by far surpasses that reflected in consciousness. A non-verbalized activity is, in fact, performing an all-sided preparation of the verbalized reflection (of a given stage's contents), which is thereafter processed by the consciousness. This process is not linear, as was thought before; it may have multiple recycles, even with a complete changeover to another direction, range and depth of the search.

One of the key points in our analysis is an operation or process of foreseeing or anticipating the results of mental activity &mbash; as successive preliminary forms of a new knowledge, thus consecutively moving to the final solution. It has been already noted that drawing directly (by means of a formal logic) new data (in our context it may be a hypothesae, a plan or idea of a solution &mbash; or, in general, any required result satisfying the aim set at a given intermediate stage of the search) from data already known is impossible by definition. It is precisely here that a qualitative, dialectical jump takes place. But considering everything said above of the role of conscious and unconscious, logical and intuitive components of thinking process &mbash; it cannot by any means be reduced to a sudden, spontaneous insight, flash of inspiration, etc., not prepared by and provided for by the preceding mental process. Such conclusions are usually derived from the fact that this moment only is clearly comprehended as a critical momentary breakthrough by the subject of creativity. Breaking through the limiting horizon of already known and coming into the space of new knowledge. But a famous "Eureca!" of Archimedes was preceded, as we now know, with mainly unperceived, prolonged and intense thinking work &mbash; or, as Pavlov put it, "incessant thinking". All this is amply illustrated by the experimental data cited.

Each of the consecutive set of foreseen results, up to the final one, may be looked upon as "a future" in respect to the known "now". But, strictly speaking, the latter relates only to a transient, brief moment of the process of finding the solution. And it may be arrived at only from the data already known, from past experience, stored as a set of models in a long-term memory matrix (LTMM) (N.P.Bechtereva,1971; N.M.Amosov,1979) &mbash; most probably, located in subconscious in distributed form. The process of including a foreseen result into the system of neuronal links of the models located in LTMM causes their updating &mbash; restructuring, rearrangement &mbash; in accordance with new data acquired at each successive step in the course of thinking. These conclusions fit satisfactorily into the system genesis concept (P.E.Anochin,1975), the anticipated result of any current operation constituting the main system-formation factor. To put it differently, we see a mechanism of active, positive feedback action of perceived only, not yet actuated future knowledge upon the present and, through it &mbash; on the past knowledge.

The same experiments indicated that the models placed and stored in LTMM and constituting all the previous experience of the person, are rather stable formations. Furthermore, they include a greater or smaller set of "rigid" or "flexible" links, their ratio determined by the extent to which a specific process or action is stereotyped or, in other words, by the frequency of their repetition in individual's life. The more frequently used they are, the more strictly minimized are the structure of the model and the number of its flexible links &mbash; as a specific manifestation of the homeostasis principle at this level of organismic hierarchy. But the main target function here, as in all other cases, remains the provision of a particular adaptive or useful result. Hence, compared with the models of simple locomotive acts, rigid and minimized to a limit, the models of communicative and cognitive activity allow for much greater variability, changeability. This is a key factor responsible for their much easier restructuring in the process of creative thinking and efficient operation of the mechanism of active action of the anticipated results upon past knowledge.

Then it logically follows that in such cases, when the process of thinking (incorporated to a certain extent in all forms of activity) becomes an activity in its own right, i.e., creative work in science, art, etc., the LTMM's models become all the more pliant, liable. Thus, the process of their transformation, by becoming easier and more effective, provides the distinctive "effect of training the brain" in a continued search for the new.

What is then a physiological picture of the brain's functioning in conformity with the scheme outlined? In the course of clinical and experimental studies, the so-called "reaction for novelty" was revealed (N.P.Bechtereva,1988; L.P.Grimak,1975). “…It originates on meeting with a situation having a greater or lesser uncertainty or a problem situation. Due to the practical impossibility of deriving a solution by directly using past experience, the above-mentioned mechanism of searching-and-investigating activity is being triggered. It immediately activates or mobilizes the reserve capacities of the brain for the purpose. It was found that even in the case of very simple tasks with just a hint at novelty, a great number of nerve elements and a huge array of links between various brain zones are immediately activated. . . "

The psychologists offer several alternative explanations to this phenomenon:
&mbash; as a mechanism of a natural training of the brain for providing a redundant availability in a reaction to anything new;
&mbash; as a specific human ability retained in the course of evolution;
&mbash; as an evidence of the brain operating by different "time scales", the switching-over to the other, compressed scale occurring unconsciously.

In view of the hypersystem concept offered herein, all these explanations appear non-contradictory, but complementary. Each of them refers to one of the sides of multi-dimensional, but intrinsically whole psychological process provided for by the equally whole physiological mechanism. Indeed, we witness here the evolutionally developed and characteristic of all living organisms, provisions for emergency activation of the organism as a whole. Its main function is ensuring a survival (we exclude here the instances of purely emotional outbursts or affects). But due to the development of the second signal system in humans, this mechanism is set in motion to a full extent only on a direct threat to an individual's existence.

Our case is entirely different. The "traditional" system for providing intellectual activity, as we have seen, cannot in principle cope with solving the problems of very high complexity. This cannot be achieved even with operational, emergency &mbash; but unprepared, "ad hoc" activation of the brain reserves, as vividly demonstrated in the experiments. But referring to a complex problem (and this case only is being considered here), "the situation of novelty" remains virtually permanent throughout the process of finding the solution, within the context of mental activity of this very kind. That is the reason a hypersystem has to be formed: for comprehending the problem, setting the tasks and a gradual, methodical and sequential, step by step advance from one intermediate result to the other, up to the final one &mbash; activating for the purpose all the required resources of the brain. As this takes place, the phenomena of the marked intensification of brain activity noted in the experiments must occur at a much higher level and greater scale, covering with a single "excitation field" the vast brain territories.

All this may be readily accounted for by the formation of the dominant which could be tentatively termed as very strong and stable one. Being the decisive factor in forming the hypersystem, it substantially inhibits, as it should, the majority of brain functions (except those providing for the organism's existence). Accordingly, an inflow of external stimuli has to be substantially curtailed. It is well known that in the hypnotic and hypnoidal states this leads to lowering of the brain core's tone. Both these factors account for very intense and vivid manifestations of the central nervous system's reproductive capacity, i.e., easier generation of images, ideas etc, as a consequence of such activation. Or, to put it another way, activation of the assotiative-and-figurative thinking.

Very similar phenomena were observed in a specific suggestive state of a psyche, SSSP (A.A.Vostrikov; V.V.Ivanov,1981). As a result of optimally limiting a zone of conscious perception and thinking to that essentially required for the studies (as a part of the experimental training under SSSP) the experimenters greatly facilitated an associative activity as well as a transfer of ideas and images from unconsciousness to consciousness of those under test. In addition, their memory started functioning on the principle of unusually strong imprinting (resembling the phenomenon of eidetism), its volume expanding, Besides, the consciousness boundaries could be narrowed or expanded as required by the training task requirements.

In the case under consideration, similar effects must also take place, as indirectly evidenced not only by the results mentioned, but in self-reports of the famous persons concerned as well. Their consciousness has also to be substantially narrowed by the problem's brackets, but this time with an increased brain core's tone. An issue of the brain operating "on the compressed time scale", as it was named by the researchers, is, no doubt, the central one. And it receives a reasonable explanation within the hypersystem concept. There seems to be no other way to ensure finding a solution of a problem requiring (with random search) not less than 10000-100000 trials-and-errors; we are leaving aside for the time being a question of choosing the search direction and an optimum algorithm thereof.

But what, in this connection, is a real "working speed" of the brain in the "normal operating mode"? It is known to be limited by the very consciousness performing formal logic operations with words or symbols (corresponding to the notion of verbalized senses, as noted above). The "algorithmic intellect", termed so by N.M.Amosov,1979) operates on a linear algorithm or program, in compliance with the conditions and requirements of each microstep of the solution finding process. The execution of the algorithm are of necessity halted by means of "system interrupt" operations of the "network intellect" (Amosov's term as well) &mbash; a seat of intuition or dialectical thinking located in unconscious or subcortex. It alone is able to effect the abovementioned breaches of continuity or qualitative jumps in the course of creative thinking.

A time or a measure of a unit operation of consciousness working discretely (a period between its two consecutive switch-overs from one most excited model to the other) is estimated of the order of several tenths of a second. This is long enough &mbash; not in the abstract sense, but considering the requirements dictated by the task complexity.

Unlike this, the "network intellect" of the subcortex operates on an analogue principle, continuously. Quantitative estimates of its speed are not available for the time being. But one may well perceive that it is incomparably higher than the figure given above, from the descriptions of the experiments carried out with entirely different purposes (N.P.Bechtereva,1988): "…In spite of a very high speed of signals' transmission in the brain, it cannot, according to calculations, provide for a complex psychic activity. Evidently, this is contrary to facts. On observing the brain's activity during physiological studies, a strange impression is formed, as if each brain's zone knew everything about tens of thousands of points participating in the psychic activity. And these points, in their turn, knew everything about it, a solitary one. The brain seems to possess an instrument which, of necessity &mbash; for instance, a complicated, crisis situation of decision making, &mbash; provides an opportunity for emergency transmission of practically unlimited volume of information".

Similar generalizations were made by the scientists investigating the above-mentioned phenomenon of SSSP: "…the brain must have some "control structure" which "knows" where to address the information destined for the subconscious… ". The experiments set for the purpose, confirmed not only this suggestion, but the fact that this hypothetical control structure "knows" the address for outputting a non-comprehended information to consciousness as well. These phenomena were by right linked with intensification of associative-and-figurative thinking. This fully agrees with the experimental results of reproductive capacities of the psyche being intensified in hypnotic and hypnoidal states mentioned earlier.

The main cause of all these phenomena is now understood: it is the formation of a dominant, an excitation centre (similar changes occur in the neurophysiological mechanisms of the hypersystem described), But it still cannot account for the tremendous speed increase. At the same time, the hypersystem concept provides a reasonable explanation to this as well.

Indeed, the hypersystem formed in compliance with the principles stated, provides for direct (without a usual interface in the form of the inner psychological defence) functional connection of subcortex to cortex. It also insures their joint operation, coordinated and controlled by hypersystem's effectiveness criteria. But the obvious prior condition for this (met prior to or directly in the process of hypersystem's formation) is a substantial, compared with the usual operating mode, increase of conductivity of nervous tracts therebetween, i.e., lowering the psychological defence.

The picture closely resembling this "theoretical design" was observed in clinical practice (N.P.Bechtereva,1988), while recording the electric activity of epileptoid brain under the influence of widely distributed excitation; during the period of crisis it became "exceptionally permeable".

There are, however, two more probable (complementary?) mechanisms providing for ultrahigh speed of information transfer to the required addresses from cortex to subcortex and in the reverse direction, mentioned earlier. Firstly, it well may be an experimentally discovered phenomenon of "circular dispatching of copies" of electric impulses with information encoded therein, by way of collaterals or interneuronal links, those between the cortex and subcortex (P.F.Anochin,1975). Further, an "instantaneous information transfer" may be also facilitated by the above-mentioned "excitation field" directly capturing or seizing the efferent nervous tracts not used at the moment, under the influence of a dominant. Secondly, it may be a direct result of the long-term memory's using the holographic technique for writing-in and retrieval of information. This issue, widely discussed lately, may also facilitate explaining a sizable part of experimental data that don't fit into the active memory concepts now in use.

The suggestions made above and requiring, like any others, experimental verification, conform, nevertheless, to the general principles of the structural-and-functional arrangement of the brain, and the hypothetical hypersystem as well. Indirectly corroborating this are repeatedly described phenomena of the so-called "miracle-counters", i.e., the persons capable of manipulating multiple-order figures, as well as the persons with phenomenal eidetic memory; such instances, however, are very specific and require a separate discussion.

Recognizing, as before, that the process of thinking is united and whole, the concept offered has also to hold for the differentiated and coordinated cooperation (in compliance with the effectiveness criteria set by the hypersystem's highest hierarchical level) of the left and right brain hemispheres in the problem solving process,

The left hemisphere is known to be responsible mainly for formal logic or discursive thinking based upon speech or, in general, the language (in a broad sense of the word). The right one &mbash; for associative-and-figurative thinking; is also called creative, intuitive, dialectical or even lateral ( Bono,1970). In the widest context, the left hemisphere reflects the reality analytically, dividing (or as is currently said, quantizing it into interconnected fragments. The right one takes it as a whole, i.e., synthetically. These two sides or aspects of the brain operation conform, as said earlier, to "thinking" and "artistic" types. But it is now well understood that setting them off in a formal, mechanistic fashion isn't true to reality. A "pure thinker" lacking a developed, well-trained imagination, as well as "a pure artist" without sufficient language support (at least, in the form of an inner, monologue speech), &mbash; are, if not a total abstraction, then a very seldom occurrence; it should be remembered that we are discussing here the highly productive creative work only.

However, considering psychophysiological data mentioned above, we may underline that the right hemisphere (to the extent that it provides for intuitive thinking) operates on analogue principle &mbash; just as a subcortex in general; the left one, discretely &mbash; just as a cortex in general. In summation, the hemisheres' joint operation in the course of problem solving must also adhere of the cited principles of the structural-and-functional arrangement of the hypersystem as an integral nervous apparatus providing for an integral process of thinking.

Gnosiologic aspect

We have earlier suggested the existence of a close link between the genius and the nature of phenomena and objects of reality reflected by the truth. To substantiate it, let us revert to the problem solving again.

But first, a brief, strictly methodological digression seems to be pertinent here. Very often the terms "a problem" and "a task" are used as synonyms or arbitrarily interchanged. But, as shown earlier, these are two absolutely different, though closely interrelated entities. The first one, a problem is given or exists objectively, in reality, i.e., independently from the subject of cognition &mbash; at least up to the point of practical actions aimed at the implementation of the solution derived thereby. Unlike it, the task exists only subjectively, in the subject's mind or thinking &mbash; also till its introduction into practice. The task setting or formulation is possible only within the context of the problem, after its detection, analysis and comprehension. It is also well known that any given problem may be solved, in principle, in a multitude of ways developed and implemented after setting an equal multitude of various tasks. But this rule is valid only for technological, administrative, etc., problems, when their nature or essence is already known in general. The scientific problems are entirely different. They consist exactly in defining the essence of a given phenomenon or object (having, of course, various interrelated sides or aspects). However, strictly speaking, it is possible to move to their cognition by various routs, i.e., fulfilling various tasks.

Continuing the line of our analysis, let us recollect the definition of already cited J. Mayers: “…A talent, reaching the original and prominent results, remains in general within the limits of that already reached or known. A genius creates something principally new, breaks in really new roads beyond reaching high points on the roads already built”. But this description, however vivid, adds little to comprehending the differences in the qualitative side of the phenomena in question. Little help is provided also by such characteristic as a high social appraisal (or estimate) of the creative results. And it is not surprising: the majority of notions related to creative work were formed in various cultures and languages as those of everyday, colloquial usage. Contemporary "factoring" theories of creativity also don't shed additional light upon the issue in question.

But one conclusion is obvious: the main distinction of the problems which a genius usually has to handle, is their complexity. The complexity understood not subjectively, but one that can be estimated by means of some numerical criteria. Let it only be recalled that at the first stage of our study we are limiting the analysis primarily to the sphere of science and technology &mbash; in order to avoid polysemantism and ambiguousness of conclusions.

Suggested for use as such a criterion is a problem or task complexity level (G.S. Altschuller,1964). It has passed a rigorous process of verification and validation in the decades of practical application of the Theory of inventive problems' solving or TIPS in this country and elsewhere. This level is determined by the number of choices (in a general case, labyrinth or incidental), using trial-and-error technique, that are required for finding the best solution of the problem. Of course, the search is practically never carried out by a trivial, chaotic choice of alternatives, but in more or less orderly fashion &mbash; but it is irrelevant in this context, at least for the time being.

All in all, five levels of complexity has been thus defined: the 1-st -10 choices or tries; 2-nd &mbash; 100; 3-rd &mbash; 1000; 4-th &mbash; 10000; and 5-th &mbash; 100000 and more tries.

Judging from theory as well as from practice, tackling the 1-st level problem is sufficed with the knowledge from a given specialty. The 2-nd level problems are solved using the experience gained in a given field of technology. The means for handling the 3 -rd level problems have to be found in other branches of technology or science, and the 4-th level -in the domain of science only. Reaching the 5-th level requires making first a discovery and getting the new scientific data relating to the problem in hand.

It is clear that the criteria described are fully applicable to the result or the creative product constituting, in our case, the sought-out solution of the problem. Such an approach provides for getting away from the uncertainty and multiplicity of meanings &mbash; inherent to the terms like originality, innovativeness and novelty present in all definitions of both talent and genius. Being, in fact, colloquial, they have no explanatory value &mbash; any creative product has to be, by definition, innovative and original, hasn't it?

It is also obvious that in other spheres of human endevour, first of all in art, the estimates of originality and novelty are largely determined by other subjective and difficult to formalize, criteria. The creations of art, for well-understood reasons, very rarely get a status of a masterpiece or a genius creation during its author's lifetime, from one's contemporaries. To acquire it, they have to withstand much less partial (and, hence, more just trial of the descendants. Or, &mbash; which is the same, &mbash; the most reliable trial, that of time.

Referring to a high social appraisal of the results attained by a genius, it is quite justified. It is exactly a genius who is able to discern &mbash; on the general background of well-known and used-to, the very special problems. The problems having, even prior to their detection, a very high social priority &mbash; since the society has already come very close to the necessity of solving them in the course of its historically determined advance. And in spite of the fact that the problem in question is only ripening, maturing within the depths of social practice and, as a rule, has not manifested itself in a mass conscience, the genius, in fact, takes for execution a peculiar informal "social request". This refers primarily to the problems representing the urgent need in cognizing the nature of phenomena &mbash; in Nature or social life, &mbash; which would permit the society to get control over them. And since mastering the forces of Nature, live or inanimate, is at the same time a cause and a consequence of the social progress, geniuses are justly called "the milestones of Humanity" or in a more recent version, "the civilization's growth points". This is an invisible, inner affinity uniting all the geniuses whatever they may be doing: formulating the new laws of Nature, inventing new sources of energy, means of communications or transportation, writing a novel or a poem, painting or composing a symphony.

The main line of analysis continued

All considerations presented above in analyzing the stages of detecting and comprehending the problem and task formulation, are fully applicable to the second and third stages of finding the solution: advancing a hypothesis and its verification. A key process here, just as before, is foreseeing the result of the mental operations. The main distinction is that these two stages form an inseparable unity, a peculiar “iterative cycle” that may be repeated many times and last, as mentioned before, seconds or decades.

But psychological requirements to each of them are directly opposite. Advancing a hypothesis (an idea or a plan for reaching the solution) requires non-stereotyped, unchained thinking or well-developed intuition. These issues are extensively covered in a variety of treatises. And although the nature of intuition is not yet clear to a minute detail, it is evident that intuitive or really creative thinking is developed in geniuses to a very large extent. But immediately at the next stage, that of checking the hypothesis, entirely different trait is required: a well-organized, "disciplined" thinking &mbash; we have referred to it earlier as a formal or discursive logic. Hence, a pithy saying of A.Pointcaret: "The intuition creates, while the logic proves".

All seems to be correct: a usual division of labour and cooperation. But there is one hidden contradiction: among various psychological classifications of thinking, it is divided to creative and critical. And, according to numerous experimental data, in majority of people one of these two mentality types is a leading, prevailing one. Closely related to this may be psychophysiological distinctions as to participation of cortex and subcortex processes in the unified act of thinking (I.I.Krasnogorsky, 1930).

The suggestions described are supported by the theory and practice of one of the well-known methods of stimulating the creative activity, the brainstorming. It presupposes the direct separation of two stages: generating the ideas (this being, in fact, proposing a hypothesa) and criticism (including their analysis, working in detail and, if possible, further development). The same principle is observed while forming two working groups, operating separately or, more correctly, one after the other. Only this approach provides for attaining the results of any value. In exactly the same way, a person with ordinary abilities solving comparatively simple problem (according to classification presented above) doesn't experience noticeable difficulties. The two heterogeneous stages naturally follow each other, not coming into serious conflict. Unlike this, a genius, having to try many thousands of alternatives, is obliged to maintain a "dynamic balance" between the creative and critical thinking, sometimes for a very long time. And obviously (judging by the results) both these types of thinking are in geniuses not only highly developed and liable, but form a natural unity. That is why they are able to proceed patiently, successively and methodically to a far-away and not yet clearly discernible objective.

As a result of joint action of all the factors described above, the “cognitive barrier in a search of unknown”, as it was named by B.M.Kedrov, turns out to be very high &mbash; with complex problems. But the complexity criteria given above, while reflecting the gnosiologic aspect of the creative search, do not cast any light upon psychological processes and states accompanying the inevitable stop before this barrier and only gradually “clearing it”.

At the same time, psychologists discuss the "psychological barriers" commonly understood as an intensification of negative emotions and settings when an individual is confronted with a strained, critical or, simply, problem situation. In our context it is a difficulty of overcoming the stereotypes of thinking known from previous experience and fixed in LTMM. It seems, however, that more appropriate here would be the notion of "psychological inertia" (G.S.Altshuller,1972). On trying to solve a problem (of any complexity) its vector is always directed towards the past experience in handling similar problems. This feature of our psyche is not individually acquired, but one typical of all species including ours; it is based upon a stable fixation of all previous experience in LTMM. Otherwise, it would be practically impossible to ensure not only an organism's homeostasis, but a relative constancy of psychological processes and states with any changes in the environment.

Hence, it may be justly reasoned that a successful (as is clear from facts) overcoming of psychological and cognitive barriers by a genius is facilitated not only by a greater liability of LTMM's models, but by a well-trained psyche as a whole &mbash; specifically in dealing with problem situations. Only this can make the process of thinking that has become an activity in its own right, a highly productive one.

All this becomes possible as a result of an intense and, as a rule, prolonged thinking, consequently entailing a high and lengthy strain upon a person's psyche (or, in our case, the hypersystem and functional subsystems included thereto). What is then the manner in which this forced, accelerated mode is provided for? Indeed, it's well known that normally it may last for a comparatively short time only (an obvious example being the affective states of various origin), interrupted only by the security function of the central nervous system's inhibition.

The main motive force for satisfying all the spectrum of human needs is, naturally, a motivation. In our case, its very high level is made possible, as noted above, with sufficiently developed instincts of self-expression, aim-setting and orientation. It may be assumed that, providing in their initial, biologic form for an individual's life preservation, they are transformed or sublimated at higher, spiritual level of human needs, and integrated into the general creative need. Very often it is attributed to the so-called intellectual need, although it is evident that the second notion doesn't fully cover the first, much wider one. Of no less importance are the aesthetic needs in beauty, order and harmony &mbash; and not much less in science than in art.

If the instinct's development goes beyond the "reasonable needs' limit", these needs naturally increase or are hypertrophied. Such psychological states, are known as passion, thirst or craving. In a specific, subjective context, e.g., thirst for money, fame, power, etc., practically all aspects of person's behaviour turn out to be biologically determined, whatever its visible side or plausible explanations of one's motives. In other words, the general direction of person's activities is subordinated to the need paramount for all living creatures &mbash; the need for survival. Indeed, the examples cited refer to the indomitable (owing to underdevelopment or deformation of the individual's spiritual sphere) craving for something vital for one's survival and thus having the highest biological value.

But the creative work is rightfully associated with the higher, spiritual sphere of the person's psyche. And declaring its main motive force, as it is often done, an irresistible striving for fame, etc., is too trivial. Naturally, very high motivation is indispensable here &mbash; but of absolutely different, lofty sort, as it was said in old times. Indeed, to keep overcoming for a long time all the above-mentioned objective obstacles of the process of cognition, and resign oneself to, most probably, the absence of recognition of one's work, partiality and envy, one is forced to waive much of things constituting, in their entirety, "an ordinary human life". To do this, a creative striving in a genius has to become literally vital, acquire a status highest for all living creatures &mbash; that of biological need. Or as the saying goes, become the sense of one's life &mbash; again in the literal meaning of the word.

But it seems that very often there is yet another motive force acting in the same direction, synergetically &mbash; namely, the developed sense of social responsibility. Judging by the available life evidences, this feeling may be completely uncompre-hended by the person, being masked by manifest creativity striving. And, recurring to that already said: although a formal request for fulfilling a specific social need (i.e., cognition of a phenomenon having great significance for social practice) is never issued formally, this specific need, revealed and comprehended by the genius, becomes personally significant, and is acting thereafter as an inner motivation of one's creative work.

In recent years many investigators (predominantly American) began linking the problem of high creative endowment (naturally, no special mention is made of a genius) with that of leadership. There are indeed reliable data on high correlation between these two personality traits. But the speculations as to the existence of a direct causal determination of creative abilities by pronounced leadership qualities seem to be insufficiently grounded. Obviously, all known characteristics of creative personalities mark their very often unusual, up to eccentricity, individual features; this originality is usually, as it should, transferred to the product of their work. But these qualities are natural manifestations in the spiritual sphere of the highly developed self-expression instinct (or more pointedly, its dominance over imitation instinct).

However, to get a high-quality creative product, of no less importance is an additional back-up in way of the development of both orientation and goal-setting instincts; their actualization was discussed above. And all this becomes possible on the basis of sufficiently high level of overall psychic development.

In search of the truth

The geniuses seem to have one more vivid personal trait. They are practically never satisfied with that already known &mbash; the quantity and, moreover, the quality of the knowledge acquired by society. Hence a striving for a search of the first causes, the essence of phenomena. Unlike the overwhelming majority, quite content with the visible side of events and a common sense for tolerable orientation in everyday life, the searching-and-investigating activity vector of a genius is, firstly, much larger and, secondly, directed into the depth of what is seen with a naked eye. This personal quality reflecting an intellectual need (but, as noted above, not reducible to it alone) is, according to the American philosopher D. Dewey, "in its undeveloped form, a curiosity, and when developed &mbash; an inquisitiveness." It may be added that even this is not a limit &mbash; the very term philosophy means, as we know, love for wisdom.

One of the specific creative mentality indicators, a "transfer ability" has currently become considered one of the most important in attaining high creative results; namely, it is the ability to transfer the comprehended or cognized regularities or relationships of a certain object or phenomenon to a wider group thereof or to entirely different context. Thus it can be stated that in a genius this capacity is exceptionally developed, enabling one to bring together the most remote spheres of human knowledge and, in the limit, the Arts and Sciences &mbash; thus providing for learning the origins of things.

The personality traits described (their list being, certainly, incomplete) provide a genius with an opportunity to break through the horizon of what is already known and apparent to the space of new knowledge. But on the second thought, it is not a breach of a horizon, but plunging into the depth of what is visible, where the essence of things resides. Let it be recollected that the problem of the essence and visible has been dwelt upon since antiquity. One of Democrites’ postulates reads: "The truth is concealed at the bottom of a deep precipice", which agrees with what is said above in contemporary language. And life experience shows that nobody in one's right senses, unless an acute need arises, is eager to climb down there &mbash; thus the knowledge acquired long ago does not become the possession of the majority, Here is how the status of this problem, ancient, but still topical, was expressed by our contemporary, S.Platonov (1990): "..The majority of people spend all their lives, gamboling about a meadow of visible and not taking heed of an abyss of essence lying underneath. Those who fall down into it for the first time are unforgettably impressed by the occurrence…"

The difficulty in cognizing the essence of a phenomenon stems, as noted earlier, from the necessity of delving into its depth, beneath its visible shell. To do this, one has to clear the objectively existing cognitive barrier as discussed above. But it is an obstacle before the phenomenon itself, and to overcome it, a mechanism of problem solving is activated as described. But in order to reach this outer, objective barrier, one has first to clear the nearest, psychological barrier (or psychological, personal defence). As we have suggested earlier, in geniuses it is basically dismounted and their psyche (or more correctly, the analyzers) become virtually open for unobstructed perception of reality. This greatly facilitates the process of getting a firm grasp of the phenomenon studied, growing intimately accustomed to it; in social and cognitive psychology it is called an empathy. This ability is a sine qua non in an actor's profession, for instance. Relating to the spheres lying far from art, the psychology treats it as an interiorization of the subject activity's structure to the structure of the interior plan of the person's conscience. And the more completely and precisely it is done, the more effective would be solving of the problem associated with a given phenomenon. Accounting for all the above-mentioned, an issue of the visible side of a phenomenon and its essence may be formulated as follows:

The level of cognizing the essence of the phenomenon of the objective reality and, hence, the effectiveness of solving the problem relating thereto, is directly determined by the depth of penetration into the dialectical core of the phenomenon, its essence. The same, in a wider context, applies to the degree of approximation to objective truth.

Emotional support

Emotions are known to provide for integration and, at the same time, activation of organism's functions required for satisfying any specific need of an individual. However, in a comparatively steady, unstrained situation this role of the emotions is largely masked with a sheath of apparent sensomotor or behavioral acts determined, to a certain extent, with a participation of consciousness. Actually, the functional system (FS) providing for emotional processes and states is one of subsystems incorporated into FS of the higher level of hierarchy, integrating and coordinating

the operation of all functional systems involved in providing for said acts or, in a wider plan, any current activities.

In a critical situation endangering the very existence of an individual, one's behaviour is determined not by a personally acquired, but a specific experience, i.e., biologically. This function is accomplished by very strong emotions known as affects. With a rapid development of affect, an execution of any individual's current activity is halted or blocked (following the pattern of unconditional or system interrupt in a computer), and total control over all actions is seized by the functional system of providing for emotions. By virtually instantaneous integration and activation of all organism's functions and reserves required for resolving the emergency situation, this system is acting by a rigid, genetically fixed behavioral program: an attack, defense, retreat or fleeing, or, at last, becoming rooted to the spot or temporal rigidity.

Referring now to the complex forms of mental activities and their emotional backup in the context discussed, we may assume that a transition from the "normal", unstrained operation to a high-intensity mode has several principal distinctions:

Firstly, the creative need, as we have recognized, has largely social determination, its motive force, being equally strong and in the limit, absolutely dominating, but entirely human feeling, a passion. And it was quite reasonable that I.P.Pavlov, addressing the youth in his well-known open letter, listing the main qualities required of a scientist, put the passion at the third place: "The science demands very strong exertion and a great passion from the person. Be passionate in your work and quests...". The same equally applies to other human activities, and most vividly, to art, in all of its varieties.

Unlike an affect, a passion is a prolonged and stable state, the person's activities being controlled with a substantial participation of conscious processes &mbash; excluding, perhaps, the repeatedly described periods of creative ecstasy, the highest form of inspiration.

As indicated above, one of prerequisite conditions of hypersystem's formation and stable functioning is, a stable and prolonged "emotional discharge" initiated and supported by a dominant and controlled by the hypersystem's highest level of hierarchy. This level which may be formed only upon the principle of complex systems' self-organization, is, functionally, a super- or hyperconscience. As is well known, an idea of its existence and distinctive features was put forward by K.S.Stanislavskiy and further substantiated and developed by P.V. Simonov (1975).

Sideline of analysis

The individual and specific chemical sensitivity of the organism's metabolic processes to the action of various agents are known to cause major changes in the operational parameters of neurophysiological mechanisms. The clinical and experimental data relating to the problem in question show semblance to those received in Ch. Lombroseau's observations of the constitution and behavioural patterns of genius personalities. For instance, they were characterized by much higher incidence of gout; it was commonly associated with an increased content of uric acid in blood. And its action, similar to that of adrenaline, was considered to be responsible for the ability of intense and prolonged concentration upon the subject of creative work, reaching in the moments of inspiration the state of affliction; however, of no less importance may be its role as a neuromediator, the substance determining in large part the very character of the brain's functioning. Studying the influence of such agents upon the brain has begun only several decades ago (e.g,, N.P. Bechtereva,1988); their role will be undoubtedly ascertained in future research.

The same considerations are all the more evident in relation to yet another widely known fact: excessive use of various stimulants, from coffee and alcohol to narcotics, by many highly gifted persons engaged in various creative activities.

Taking a due account of the above-mentioned clinical and experimental observations, life facts and biographical analyses of famous persons evidencing substantial deviations from a "psychic normalcy" in many of them, it would be now, probably, prudent to remove the brand of their kinship with insane persons. The matter is that these undeniable deviations thought of before, phenomenologically only, as representing the integral, inherently pathological features of genius personality, may well turn out to be, in view of the concept offered, an orderly consequence of a prolonged functioning of one's brain in a highly intensified, forced mode.

Really, the pathological cases resembling very closely those under discussion, are well studied. Exceptionally intense, albeit a disorderly, brain activity has been observed (e.g., P.K.Anochin,1975; N.P.Bechtereva,1988) in epileptoid brain, or the brain of the patients with Parkinson-type syndrome or other nervous disorders. However, in all these instances there exists an eleptogeneous or other pathological centre, attracting excitation from other zones and regions of the brain. And just this centre, in conjunction with LTMM modified by disease, constitutes a physiological mechanism providing for a stable pathological condition.

In our case, a highly intensified operational mode activated by ultrastable dominant and emotional discharge, is also backed-up by the modified LTMM and controlled by the hypersystem's highest level of hierarchy, hyperconscience &mbash; a central nervous apparatus of self-organization and self-control. But close resemblance of psychological manifestations in both cases causes one to suppose that the hypersystem described is operating very close to the threshold of stability and controllability &mbash; with inevitable consequences resulting therefrom. It is well known that functioning of living organisms as well as technical devices to their limiting capabilities leads not only to higher incidence of various failures, but to the disruption of control in general. (It should be underlined that such an emergency mode is allowed for a very limited time only). As to the people under a prolonged stress, such phenomena are usually referred to as neurotic symptoms, emotional flashes or outbursts and the like.

The situation is further aggravated by certain outer factors. According to a well-grounded bitter conclusion of A, Shoepenhauer, the geniuses, as a rule, haven't found an understanding and appraisal from their contemporaries, in their lifetime. As we might say now, there was a lack of positive emotional support or stimuli for the work done. To say nothing of trivial poverty many of them had to live through for years. In such conditions any work, even creative one, becomes doubly difficult. And even unbreakable will and endurance before the hardships cannot always guard one from the deepest frustrations and falls.

The large heterogeneous functional system

Now we may set about trying to present a detailed answer to the question posed earlier: what are the main causes of that qualitative, dialectical jump in the results of creative work achieved by a genius &mbash; compared with a talent and, moreover, a person with ordinary abilities.

The brain itself as a physiological substratum remains, in all probability, practically the same; this is corroborated, at least by state-of-the-art data of neurobiology. Another thing takes place: the brain's structural-and-functional organization changes radically.

The general operational architecture of the integral process of the high-yield creative activity comprises certain key mechanisms of a hypersystem as a central nervous apparatus of self-organization and self-control of these activities:
&mbash; a useful or adaptive result. As in all other instances conditional upon the principles of system's genesis, it is the main system-formation factor. Or, considering the whole process of problem solving, it will be a successive set or continuum of all intermediate results, up to the final one, i.e. the sought-after solution, formally terminating a process of thinking. However, one important reservation is pertinent here. In order to become an actual system-formation factor, as it does with the functional systems of any adaptive reactions of an organism, the result of creative process has to become vitally important &mbash; for its subject. Or, to put it differently, to acquire a status comparable with that of a biological need of the organism. This strictly logical deduction is backed-up with an aim, common and paramount for all living creatures in the process of their evolution &mbash; that of survival. And this fully coincides with numerous descriptions of how the geniuses worked &mbash; it was a matter of life or death for many of them;
&mbash; an ultrastable dominant formed, as a rule, at the early stages of ontogenesis;
&mbash; a stable and prolonged, controlled emotional discharge.

It is under their combined influence that the functional systems providing usually for intellectual-and-mnestic functions, are radically changed. In addition to them, all structures and zones of the brain required for ensuring the main target function &mbash; the effective solving of a complex problem &mbash; are being activated. The consequence of this general rearrangement is a formation of a large heterogeneous functional system or hypersystem providing for a highly intensified or forced mode of brain operation. In the process, the operational parameters of individual brain units (hemispheres, frontal lobes, analyzers, various anatomically and functionally divided cortex and subcortex structures) are determined by the general, integral properties and effectiveness criteria of the hypersystem thus formed. The main system effectiveness criterion being, as before, an attainment of the required positive result &mbash; the sought-for unknown, the essence of the phenomenon or object of reality in question.

Taking into consideration everything said about deactivation of the outer range of psychological defence resulting in much greater openness of the person's psyche, it would be quite logical to include into the hypersystem being formed &mbash; as its integral operational component &mbash; an environment or objective reality, to the extent that is directly related to the object of cognition. Such a de facto inclusion makes the hypersystem inherently open. As a result, two principal interrelated macrostages, those of understanding and explaining the phenomenon, will have much lower intensity of dialectical contradiction therebetween. A transfer of objectively given links of the phenomenon to the system of links peculiar to the person at the first stage and an inverse transfer from the subjective context to the objective one at the second stage (S. L.Rubinstein,1958) has to become much easier. This factor ought to facilitate still further the process of cognition.

Proceeding as before from the system genesis concept and accounting for the principal difference in the very character of the activities in question &mbash; not sensomotor or behavioural, but primarily intellectual acts, &mbash; it would be only natural to presuppose equally substantial differences in the hypersystem's formation.

Firstly, it has to be very selective and differentiative, determined by the particulars of the given creative activities, as well as the conditions of the environment (social or otherwise) and individual psychological features. Of paramount importance is that from the very beginning, from the first attempts at creative work proper, the formation and productive functioning of the hypersystem are, in their dialectical unity, a prerequisite and a result of these activities.

Secondly, the hypersystem ought to be, in general, not a central-and-peripheral formation; it has to sustain its unity by cyclic circulation of nervous impulses not so much from its periphery to the centres and back, as is generally the case, &mbash; but largely between various centres (of afferent synthesis). But there is yet another (additional?) possibility. Under the influence of a dominant and with a marked inhibition of the majority of the brain's functions, except for those providing for the organism's existence (as it takes place with forming the behavioural functional systems in emergency, i. e., affects), an excitation may directly seize the efferent tracts of subsystems activated and incorporated into the hypersystem, their operating mode set by the general system's functional requirements. In so doing, the hypersystem's key mechanisms have to provide for adaptive dynamic focusing of each subsystem's capacities upon attaining a useful result at each stage of the problem solving process.

Thirdly, an action acceptor (signalling the execution of each mental operation) has also to be formed mainly upon the basis of the central afferent apparata.

It may be concluded that the hypersystem's "unusual" properties and operating mode are the direct result of the "unusual", but considering the task requirements, most expediently coordinated and controlled operation of the ordinary physiological mechanisms of the brain.

Geniuses among us

The majority of people have grown so accustomed to this term devoid of an exact meaning, that its wide daily use creates further difficulties for the attempts at comprehending an essence embedded therein. In antiquity everything was much simpler. They were called the "wise" &mbash; and few comments were necessary They were, in fact, "pure thinkers" teaching mainly the basic rules of ethics and very few laws of Nature known at those times a narrow circle of their pupils and followers. But in new times they already had to apply their wisdom in real life, participating, willingly or unwillingly, in a certain sphere of human activities. And bring to each of them their uniqueness, marking everything they did with their distinctive features. In this sense, the terms used in everyday language: poetic, military, scientific, literary, financial, scenic, etc., genius &mbash; considering the definitions presented in this paper &mbash; are totally justified. However, the visible, apparent features particular to each creative activity, shield, specifically in each case, their "generic" properties, the essence common to each of them.

Everything said above, leads to the conclusion: this "generic" property lies in the ability to grasp or cognize the "nature of things", as Shakespeare put it &mbash; in order to turn this newly acquired knowledge to the benefit of people.

Indeed, if we talk about the laws of Nature or the diversity of human affairs, then a genius reveals their essence by discovering the laws governing them, their motive forces &mbash; and we have before us a scientific genius.

He who came to know the nature of Man and learned to delve beyond the shell of the words, is a great writer, poet, playwright or actor.

He who perceived the laws of harmony and managed to link them with the realm of Nature and human passions, and became skillful enough to express it in sounds, plastic forms or visual images is, accordingly, a great composer, musician, sculptor or painter.

Those who studied the laws of war and the nature of people, and learned how to make them do what is required in a battle, are great warriors or commanders.

There is no need to continue this list. It is not a discussion as to who should be placed first and who &mbash; the twentieth... The geniuses live among the people. They talk the same language &mbash; although very often what they say seems incoherent and strange.

They are no more different from other people than those living beside them &mbash; at least until we haven't got used to them carved in stone, cast in bronze or put on canvas; except that their manners and habits are somewhat strange, and they seem to live not like the rest of the people.

They live seemingly very near, but spend a greater part of their lives in the world entirely different from ours &mbash; the realm of the essence of things or objective truth, hidden deep under the surface of what is visible by sight. And the distance from them to the people living by their daily joys and sorrows is as great as the depth of that precipice where, according to Democrites, resides the truth. Or, alternately, they may be compared with the stars that seem to be very close to us. And only looking into a telescope, one comprehends the vastness of the Universe. But just as even the most distant of them continue to shine for us after they had long ago subsided, the fruits of the genius' work remain with us for many centuries after he is gone.

And it's probably not incidental that people gave them the name of that eternal and elusive substance, a genius or a spirit. And, as distinct from Homo Sapiens, called them Homo Faber, Humanus et Moralis.

Sergey Kamenskiy, M. Sc. (Eng.)

Odessa, Ukraine, E-mail:

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