Lipton’s Journal/December 31, 1954/130

From Project Mailer

On the understanding of genius. We think of a genius as always succeeding during those times when he is creative, but actually the genius succeeds and fails, often in successive moments in that his genius is to do something new, to go farther than anyone before, and often he fails that and is merely mellifluous or skillful at a very high level. So the difference between the genius and the mystic is clear—the mystic succeeds or fails with himself or a very small audience; the genius contains his sense of his own soul and his sense of society (his skill, his craft) both at very high levels, and the torment of the genius is that he is so fantastically and variously organized that he can contain two such terribly antithetical elements in his character and succeed in combining them in works.