Good will hunting: the genius who doesn’t knows love.
But, you’re a genius, Will, no one can deny that. No one can assess how deep you are.
Those words above belong to the psychiatrist Sean Maguire, Robin Williams’ character in Good Will Hunting, a 1997 film directed by Gus Van Sant. With a screenplay by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who won an Oscar for their work, along with Williams, awarded for best supporting actor.
Maguire was talking to Will Hunting (Damon), who is in the shoes of a troubled boy, struggling with his personal dilemmas. In the scene, just before calling him a genius, Maguire also says he’s a “cocky, quarrelsome, scared kid”. Yes, Will Hunting was a genius, but that doesn’t help him much.
I started to think about how current that movie is. A beautiful and profound look at human nature.
Innovation is what remains when all our failures are removed. — Kevin Ashton, in The Secret History of Creativity.
Will Hunting was capable of solving the most sophisticated math problems given to him. He read compulsively. But, he was incapable of dealing with his own emotions and, especially, with the emotions of others. This gave him difficulties and a vast and painful police record. His genius was not capable of solving its own problems. He was a failure. At least, apparently.
Unlike the geniuses we know, Will was a guy who dedicated himself to the subjects that interested him, digging deep until he knew as much as he could.
He had grit.
He wasn’t just born with a gift, he honed his attitude daily, page after page, equation after equation. But that didn’t solve their problems.
He was still alone, surrounded by useless friends, attending places where he didn’t find answers, being forced to go back inside his books, where the answers smelled of mold and tasted like paper.
No human warmth.
Then, he meets new people who help him to begin to see a world he never imagined existed. A colored world, full of smell and shapes, but included people who confronted it in a way he hadn’t yet experienced.
The beast struggles in the cage in fear of a reality that frightens and terrifies him.
All of this reminded me of the technological revolutions we are experiencing. We are also afraid of its effects. We came face to face with this avalanche of news that floods us. The water doesn’t stop rising and we are terrified, not knowing how to deal with this situation. We’re terrified that we don’t know if we’re going to survive. We fear failure. We fear the guttural face and the weight of the presence of a revolution that never stops.
If you don’t experience failure, you’re making a much bigger mistake: you’re being driven by the desire to avoid it. — Ed Catmull.
For Catmull, Pixar’s CEO, this strategy — avoiding error at all costs —, especially for leaders, leads to certain failure. The unhealthy pursuit of perfection, without considering the power that mistakes have to fuel us for healthy and sustainable growth, is a clear shot at the core of our best intentions.
Will was a young man passionate about his art, but he didn’t offer an outlet for it. He was hidden in an artificial world, created to protect him, surrounded by predictable characters, who could control their shallow speech and also the time to turn the page of the story that he didn’t like or wanted to continue. He wanted to get out of there, but he had no idea how. Until his own fury led him to meet what he most avoided.
Unfulfilled passion creates a gap between our present and our potential.
The reality around us does not hide this truth from us. Much of the violence that tempers our relationships are the result of generations and generations of people not knowing their true art, people who have not yet discovered their greater purpose. Corny? Perhaps. But violence is not. It’s there and you can’t deny it.
For Ashton, unfulfilled passion “can cause destruction and despair or lead to stagnation”. For him, if we don’t chase our dreams, they will chase us in the form of nightmares. “Unfulfilled passion creates addictions and criminals,” he says.
Will was just a naive kid.
Inexperience hit him in many ways and left indelible marks on him.
Just as life does to all of us, whether we accept this truth or not, whether we are rich and millionaires or not, whether we are tall or short. Talented people are just people. Grumpy or not, they are still people, with the same passions as any of us.
Life always demands, and revolutions will always be made by people who left their colorful worlds to discover the harsh reality, which offers more possibilities. For Ashton, great creators work whether they feel like it or not, whether they’re in the mood or not, whether they’re inspired or not.
Artificial Intelligence is today, a great asset to technology companies.
Those systems will soon be controlling every electronic device available around the world. No one can say anything or even deny it, right? After all, this technology is still just a child, a little and puerile kid. Too young and still naive. Ironically, it will be based on our own experiences. They will learn from us. They will experience the world and read life through us.
Are we taking any risks? Will they become violent? Indomitable?
Impossible to say.
After all, any technology based on our own experiences needs to have the potential to overcome anything your own problems. Otherwise, there would be nothing human about it.
History is there to prove it. I believe! Do you?
Schedule a DDIChat Session with William Barter at the link below.