Etymology of Genius ~
From Latin Genius (“the guardian spirit of a person, spirit, inclination, wit, genius, literally ‘inborn nature’”), from gignere (“to beget, produce”)
Genius ~ Noun ~ late 14c., “tutelary god (classical or pagan),” from Latin genius “guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation, wit, talent;” also “prophetic skill,” originally “generative power,” from root of gignere “beget, produce” , from PIE root *gen- “produce.” Sense of “characteristic disposition” is from 1580s. Meaning “person of natural intelligence or talent” and that of “natural ability” are first recorded 1640s.
Latin genius originally meant ‘deity of generation and birth’. It came ultimately from the Indo-European base *gen– ‘produce’ (source of English gene, generate, genitive, etc).
It broadened out considerably in meaning, initially to ‘attendant spirit’, the sense in which English originally acquired it. French took it over as génie – a word which, because of its phonetic and semantic similarity to Arabic jinn, 18th-century translators of the Arabian nights eagerly adopted into English as genie.
“the genius is a unique spirit in a person; it’s the part of them that makes them unique and it’s tied to their destiny, or the destination of their soul…”
“The issue is not whether someone “is a genius,” for genius is a given, something naturally given to each of us as part of the inner project of one’s life. Inner genius is something originally given to each of us in order that we each find a way to give something meaningful and valuable back to the world.”
“Genius has the root meaning of “the spirit that is already there.” As such it points to the inner uniqueness and natural giftedness that enters the world with each person born. When seen as a cohering thread in each life, inner genius serves to weave together a person’s innate talents and abilities while also revealing one’s purpose in life. If people are to find creative ways of living together and healing both culture and nature, the awakening of individual genius may be the deepest and most imaginative way to approach the seemingly impossible tasks that face contemporary cultures.”
~ Michael Meade