I have written previously on the myth of genius in this society and how it often leads bright, intelligent, creative people to paths of self-destruction, partially because of the media's portrayal of genius as damaged, addicted, and at the fringes of society. A recent conversation about the eccentric genius, has led me again to consider what genius means and whether it necessitates some sort of eccentricity. The conversation ended in the person telling me that I was arguing semantics and maybe I was and am, but words are power and it is important how we use them, especially if we are going to use them to label some "genius". The argument was that genius goes hand in hand with being a kook. I feel that this kookiness is something that people choose and use to their advantage to separate themselves from others. I find this problematic. If, in order to maintain that one is a genius, one has to remove oneself from others, make oneself special, and hence better in some way (see my post Can We Be Unique Without Needing to be Special?) then the label of genius is just another way to use power over others. The dictionary definition of genius is: exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability, a person who is exceptionally intelligent or creative either generally or in some particular respect; a person regarded as exerting a powerful influence over another for good or evil; the prevalent character or spirit of something. From these definitions I would argue that everyone has a potential genius, but not everyone's genius is recognized. Those that have their genius affirmed have the confidence then to express this in their dress and manner. These are the eccentric geniuses, but they are not the only geniuses. Arguing that to be a genius is to be eccentric is upholding an imbalance of power where some people have their genius confirmed and others ignored. I love people that are eccentric and kooks, I do think they are geniuses, but it is important to remember that there are reasons that they feel comfortable in expressing their uniqueness. If everyone had a supportive, affirming environment, it would be much easier to express each of our individual geniuses and we would not have to categorize only some as genius.