Over the past few weeks, you could say one and one doesn’t necessarily equal two when it comes to Kanye. From the Twitter rants to some of the lyrics on his latest studio album “The Life of Pablo”, Kanye has been a bit more Kanye than usual if you will. He defends being mad as a hatter by asking us to and I quote “name one genius that ain’t crazy”. Immediately you should start to think and chances are you didn’t find any. If you have, Kanye and myself would please like you for to share your answers. In this piece I will try my hardest to decode what I call the Kanye complex.
By textbook definition a genius is someone who has the IQ of 140 or greater. However, not all forms of “genius” can be measured by testing. According to Howard Gardner’s 1983 book, Frames of Mind: Theory of Multiple Intelligences, there are nine modules of intelligence. The nine modules being musical, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily, interpersonal, intrapersonal, moral and naturalistic. Each individual is said to possess their own blend of these intelligences. Gardner also presents the idea of a g-factor, stating there is a dominant type of intelligence. Now that we’ve got that covered, it’s time to attempt to answer Kanye’s question.
Let’s select a genius. Vincent Van Gogh seems as good as any. The post Impressionism painter, most known for The Starry Night severed his own ear and delivered it to a brothel. Only to wake up the next day with no recollection of the event. Another one? Let’s try Socrates. Said to be one of the greatest philosophers of all time, he pushes the envelope too far and is sentenced to death by execution. Ernest Hemingway? Amazing author. Shot himself. We can keep going, they’ll most likely have the same end result.
Geniuses are oftentimes ignored and ridiculed during their lifetimes and aren’t celebrated until years after their deaths. Thus making them “crazy”. The more they try to get people to understand them the crazier they seem, creating this complex I speak of. This is solely because they present radical new values, ideas or beliefs that are contradictory to the ones the general public already possess. This discomfort is known as cognitive dissonance. If we take a look back at “Yeezus”, Sir Kanye West is said to have committed blasphemy. The third song on the album is titled “I Am A God” and is featuring God himself. If I’m not mistaken (correct me if I’m wrong) the Bible states we were made in the image and likeness of God. So by that standard, would that not make us all gods? Or did I interpret that incorrectly? Your cognitive dissonance should be kicking in at the current moment as you try to find a reason as to why this isn’t the answer. Although you’ve tried you were unable to find a reason as to why it doesn’t make any sense.
That’s the thing with geniuses, they make normal people “think outside the box”. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There is no box. Geniuses think freely. All things imaginable are possible. That’s what makes them crazy. Everything isn’t literal. All of life is a metaphor. Interpreting things as you see fit is what life is all about. Geniuses master the ability to do so; making the most mundane aspects of life amazing. From Socrates to Oscar Wilde to Basquiat to Kanye. They’re all crazy. You aren’t supposed to understand geniuses on an interpersonal level. You’re supposed to understand the art they composed for you. As I leave, I leave you with words from Kanye himself.