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Am I a Genius or Polymath? Is the Choice Mine?

Updated on May 17, 2012

Historical Geniuses and Polymaths

Throughout history, there have been quite a few notable people that have been labeled to be the term "Genius." For example, Albert Einstein was a genius when it came to thinking of and applying his thoughts to a new science - physics. Though Einstein didn't excel in many subjects, he certainly had a fantastic talent for creating previously unthinkable ideas in the realm of physics. Is there something beyond genius?

Yes. Another profound and historical figure is Leonardo da Vinci. He is not considered to be simply a genius, but rather a polymath (a well-rounded genius) and had profound creativity and knowledge in many different areas. Da Vinci is very well known and is historically renowned for painting. Some of his most noted works are the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Da Vinci was also an outstanding scientist, inventor, observationist and writer.

Some other historical genii and polymaths are: Rushd, Copernicus, Alfarabi, Galileo, Goethe, Jefferson (our former president) and Newton. All of which were considered in (and/or after) their time to be some of the brightest people in history. I can't leave out Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Haydn and Verdi.

You get the idea, right? If not, that's alright too!

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photo credit

Genius vs. I.Q.

Just as people are so diverse, the types of genius are as well. Types of genii are: mathematical, literary, musical, artistic, etc., etc., etc.. For any type of mental work that one could do, there could be and possibly is an equivalent genius for that specific work-type. Being a genius is totally dependent upon that person's creativity. Ex: You are a genius at understanding what I am writing.

Is genius based on I.Q.? No!!! I'm sure you've heard of I.Q. (intelligence quotient,) right? Well let's just say this. Whoever started the "I.Q" was right, but was certainly no genius. Why? Because what it stands for is wrong; at least as far as who would be classified as a genius. Why? Because there are multiple intelligences. As opposed to "intelligence quotient," "I.Q." should stand for "imagination quotient" and would then be more accurate. Regardless of which type of intelligence you are strongest in, your imagination would have to soar for you to be a genius in that specific intelligence. Could you be a genius? Are you a genius? Probably, but with which intelligence?

Leonardo da Vinci - Polymath

Polymath vs. Genius

I'd say that a polymath would most likely do better on an I.Q. test. Polymaths are generally more "well-rounded" an would tend to be better test-takers. Why is this? You see, polymaths are not really the same things as geniuses. Let me help you use your imagination for a moment. I'd like for you to visualize a circle. Imagine the genius as one complete circle. Now then move that circle to the left and imagine another circle. Label it polymath. Now, keeping the circle to the left, labeled as genius, take the polymath circle and duplicate it 10 times with the same label of polymath. Now imagine that the polymath circles become interconnected. Compare the two. Genius - one circle. Polymath - 10 interconnected circles.

Are you a genius? / Are you a polymath?

I say the choice just might be your own.

What do you think?

Is the choice your own?

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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      how could you choose to be a genius or polymath? haha

    • ProCW profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from South Carolina

      :) Glad to have informed. :)

    • talented_ink profile image


      12 years ago from USA

      Very interesting hub ProCW. Thanks for the education because now I know what a polymath is.

    • spryte profile image


      12 years ago from Arizona, USA


      Thank you! I've been sweating this for the past 7 days... :)

    • ProCW profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from South Carolina

      :) spryte, your circles can be any size you like! :)

    • spryte profile image


      12 years ago from Arizona, USA

      *scrunches face...thinking*

      Can the circles be different sizes?

      Like..okay...imagine a BIG circle for everything I know about...umm...

      ...okay imagine a "regular" sized circle for everything I know about cats and then maybe a smaller circle for everything I know about cooking...and then a reeeally reeeeeally small circle, pretty much a dot, for everything I know about car engines...

    • raguett profile image

      Meagan Elaine 

      12 years ago

      great hub...

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 

      12 years ago from Portugal

      Nice hub! Unfortunately genius tend to be undervalued until their dead :( . I guess I´ll only be famous after dead :D

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 

      12 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Aww, thx CW!

    • ProCW profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from South Carolina

      You're a polymath Shirley!! :)

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 

      12 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You were right, some of the hubbers are of literary genius standing!

      Thx for helping me understand the subtle shades of genius....I haven't quite figured out which one I am yet.

    • solarshingles profile image


      12 years ago from london

      Very nice. We should also mention two great (well-rounded) genius Michelangelo (di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) and Mendeleev (Dmitri Ivanovich).


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