Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Blessing and a Curse

There is a fine line between genius and crazy. Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment definitely toes it. The book is filled cover to cover with his inner struggle, his thoughts, anxieties and paranoia, bred from the fact that he is different, whether genius or insane.

Forget happiness for Raskolnikov. He's more worried about climbing out of depression than reaching any type of happy peak. In his mind, his incredible mind sets him apart from the society he lives in, alienating him and branding him as an outcast. It is this separation that spurs the sadness, the shame, and the blaring lonesomeness. He feels nothing, sees nothing and hears nothing when it comes to those around him, because he is on a separate level. Lost in his own introverted world, one more advanced than the world of his neighbors. Or at least that's what he tells himself.

Perhaps Raskolnikov's theory should be disregarded as schizophrenic nonsense. But it still brings up an interesting question. Can gifted people be mistaken for outcasts in our world? Does being too set apart from the norm through the magnitude of a certain ability incur a life of loneliness and misunderstandings? Is being normal a key ingredient to happiness? I hope not. Abnormalities, the good ones, are what keep the world spinning. They invent the atomic bomb, they start revolutions, they lead, innovate and dream. There can be misunderstandings. But I think genius, in any form, should be embraced.

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