Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Genius Is a Relative Thing

Think twice before assuming that playing chess will make your child a more capable person - well, at least outside of the art of playing chess itself. This is what the example of Bobby Fischer teaches us (HT Selva Brasilis):

Fischer’s hatred of Jews turned paranoid. Pictures of Hitler decorated his lodgings. He denied the Holocaust. America, he was convinced, had fallen into the hands of “stinking Jews.” When the September 11, 2001, attacks occurred, he called it “wonderful news.” Wanted by the U.S. government for violating an order not to play a return match with Spassky in Yugoslavia, Fischer renounced his U.S. citizenship and settled in Iceland. ...

John Carlin, in an article titled “The End Game of Bobby Fischer” in the Observer/Guardian (February 10, 2008), described Fischer, during his final years, as looking like a homeless bum. “His teeth were rotten, and his white hair and beard were long and unkempt.” Bobby had a low opinion of doctors and dentists. He had all the metal fillings in his teeth removed because he thought radiation from them was injuring his health, or perhaps American or Russian enemies were causing the harmful radiation from his molars. Fischer seldom changed his clothes or removed his baseball cap. After his death in 2008 at age sixty-four, he was buried late one night near a tiny church in Iceland. A brief, shabby funeral was attended by a Catholic priest he had never known.

BTW, Einstein's pseudo-economics is another good example of how genius is indeed a relative thing.

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