Madness vs. Brilliance

I was reading this survey the other day, and it asked the following question:

“What is the difference between madness and brilliance?”

This is an interesting idea. I mean, there is a thin line, but what is it? And how can one person feel competent enough to tell the difference?

I think the main difference is whether or not the ideas formed are accepted by others.

For example, when Galileo tried to convince people that our solar system revolved around the sun, not the Earth, he was seen as mad. The church excommunicated him, and he was basically shunned by everyone. While he was not killed for his convictions, he was punished and isolated for it. When he died, he wasn’t even allowed to be buried near his father and other family because he had been kicked out of the church. It wasn’t until much later that society learned that he was, in fact, correct, and the finally saw his brilliance.

To be considered brilliant, you have to be able to prove that you’re right or skilled in an area. For instance, we can all agree that Steve Jobs was a brilliant man. We were able to view his inventions and ideas as exceptional, and we accepted him. Therefore, he was considered a brilliant man.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a brilliant person who is misunderstood and mislabeled as “mad.” To know that you hold a truth that no one else can see (or that no one else is willing to see) must be so frustrating. It’s sad to know that these people were only trying to better our world, and they get rejected because their ideas are so far outside of the box. But that’s how we learn. We have people that are willing to stand up for what they believe in, no matter what the consequences. It’s too bad that most of them die before they can see their ideas accepted…

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