Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Erasing the Thin Divide

Oscar Levant, a famous pianist and media star of the 1930s and ’40s, battled for decades against mental illness, surviving several painful hospitalizations. He once declared: “There is a fine line between insanity and genius. I have erased that line.”

The late Michael Jackson (MJ) erased the same line—and blurred many other distinctions in the course of his extraordinary career. In his death the pop icon leaves behind a very telling story of human life.
This story unfolds thus:

A talented child is what we are all born. This talent is a birth gift of God or divine creation that every child receives. Those of you who have read Stephen Covey’s book ‘The 8th Habit’ will know in much more clarity the totality of gifts that we receive at birth through the four intelligences (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual).
As we grow into young men and women, we sometime leave these gifts in their original packaging without ever bothering to open it or we open these gifts and fail to use them to their full potential. Many people have their own tainted view of what the gifts are intended for and remould them to suit their own perception of life’s purpose.

The physical intelligence bestows excellent health in everyone. You only need to look at a baby to realize the vitality and vigour. But as we grow we heap abuse on the body. The post mortem on MJ revealed the extent of abuse his body has been subject to. The culture of addiction to junk food through commercial exploitation and the unhealthy life style we go through in our lives constantly deteriorates the physical intelligence with which we are born.

The mental intelligence goes through a spurt of upgrade in the early stages of our lives. You can see it in children’s capacity for learning and this is the stage at which our individual talents become manifest and MJ was a pioneer in introducing a new genre of music and dance to the world. I was always fascinated with his moon-walk. The gliding motion while still rooted to the ground which to me today signifies the frictionless movement of life in a cosmic stream while still rooted to this grounded existence. The emotion that was created in millions of youth was an emotion of ecstasy. But as we progress we get distracted to the superficial values of appearances. There used to be a comedy show in the British television (1990-1994) called “Keeping up Appearances” which portrayed how people take extreme and rediculous measures to be seen as someone different from what they are. This was true in MJ's case. The quality of life degrades.

The emotional intelligence which is focused and nurtured through love goes through gross modification. MJ missed his childhood totally and all that went on in his marriage and the Neverland Ranch scandal was a shoddy attempt to seek authentic and unconditional love.

The ultimate result is that your spiritual intelligence which cannot be altered goes through a period of suppression. Always the spirit calls out to you and I was moved to read the interview which Deepak Chopra, who was good friend and mentor of MJ, gave after MJ's death. Deepak said that MJ was reading Tagore’s poems and was composing songs on climate change. This is the spirit calling out.

It is within our capacity to remain rooted to our true spiritual nature. We are all born geniuses with our different gifts. But it is easy to erase this divide between what is perceived as genius and what we term as insanity. All artificial modes of effecting any so called enhancements to our inherent talents are the tools with which we erase this barrier that prevents a genius from becoming insane.

There have been geniuses like Leanardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, Einstein and many more who understood this great truth and their contribution is none the less valuable.

Love to you all


  1. MJ was the ultimate celebrity of all times. Serena Williams has said that when she met him, all she could think of is Oh My God! It's hin! It's him!

    This write-up brings home clearly the spirit-calling of geniuses who seemingly border on the throes of insanity and suffer excruciating pangs all their lives, probably to learn for their next. Very beautifully done, TIBS.

  2. Thank you Bhaskar,
    Every little creation, whether it be mundane or the most elevating, has a purpose in its life and the sayings of Jesus "the harvest is plenty but the gatherers are few" denotes our capacity to harvest the richness of all creation as we go nitpicking the weeds through our judgemental attitudes.