[NetBehaviour] a literature project

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 27 18:14:13 CET 2020

Hi all,

While processing the current year's events, I've been reminded of an old (and not very good) literature project I did long ago.

This in turn has led to some thoughts about a potential new project.  Maybe this is one way I process literature and experience, to ask what is going on now, then ask what from the past might be relevant, then ask what future events might be the same, different, desirable, possible, etc. in an ongoing cycle of comparison, review, and revision.

The hypothetical new project doesn't fit the standard definition of a literature project at first glance, but might have subtler relations to some aspects of past literature (like say the haiku, koan, riddle, or folk tale).

I don't know at all if I will "do" the project, or want to, or if it even can be done, or if it should be done; or, if it should be done, how, and by whom; or if it is even possible for there to be a "done" and a "how" and "by whom."  But the hypothetical literature project I'm thinking of could be named "what is genius 2020?"  Its full textual extent could be three questions: "What do you think about the concept of genius?  What do you think about the year 2020?  How do you think the concept of genius and the year 2020 are related?"

In my life I've found often that asking too many questions, being too questioning, can be a false path that leads me to misjudgments and bad consequences.  Sometimes being of a simple and non-questioning mind is very important for me to retain balance, perspective, and context.  Following group conventions, the ebb and flow of human sentiment in which we all move albeit in different places and ways, can also be beneficial in its own right.  I certainly don't know the answer to these dilemmas.

I suppose that being too "answering" can also be a source of terrible imbalance!

I wonder now if it would be better to ask just one question rather than three:  "how do you think the concept of genius and the year 2020 are connected?"  (This seems more concise, but I find the somewhat magical pattern of three more reassuring.)

Perhaps we are all asking and answering this question in our own way, if not in these exact terms, the best we can all the time anyway.  What is going on?  What does it mean?  How should I be?  Perhaps it is best left as a personal and internal question, a mystery in the ancient sense of something to contemplate calmly, quietly, and slowly, a question generally unspoken and unanswered but no less alive and well for being in that subtle form.

Very best regards,



genius (n.)
late 14c., "tutelary or moral spirit" who guides and governs an individual through life, from Latin genius "guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation; wit, talent;" also "prophetic skill; the male spirit of a gens," originally "generative power" (or "inborn nature"), from PIE *gen(e)-yo-, from root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups. Sense of "characteristic disposition" of a person is from 1580s. Meaning "person of natural intelligence or talent" and that of "exalted natural mental ability" are first recorded 1640s.

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