Jim Morrison, lead singer of legendary American rock band “The Doors”, has etched his name in public consciousness not only for his music, but also because of his rather colourful and controversial public life. Though he died in 1971 at the age of only 27, his life has had an impact on singers and songwriters – indeed, writers of any kind – for decades since.
Known for his infamous persona that included substance abuse, public breakdowns and violence, rebellious but stunningly insightful lyrics, police arrests and general disregard for order, there is a side to him that not many are aware of – a genius level IQ of 149. (An IQ of 140 or above is considered to indicate a ‘genius’).
While most of us tend to associate such high IQs with academic, scientific or some sort of intellectual achievement, Morrison (unwittingly) channeled his tremendous intellect into lewd, aggressive and violent behaviour while growing up – often to the disgust of members of the opposite sex. Interestingly enough, his discordant personality never quite affected his grades; he did fairly well right up to his SATs. (He was eventually accepted at UCLA to study filmmaking.)
He also maintained notebooks right from an early age, which contained all kinds of outpourings, scribbles and rants. His writings were always esoteric, philosophical and came across as the musings of a troubled, directionless soul. The erratic behavior continued well into college, from where he eventually dropped out and dived headlong into an alcohol and drug-fuelled lifestyle.
Years later, at a chance meeting with a former UCLA acquaintance Ray Manzerack, Morrison revealed that his written rants had taken a new direction; he had begun writing songs and poetry. Manzerack, who was already part of a band, encouraged him further, which eventually led to the formation of “The Doors”.
The band existed for only a little over 5 years with Morrison in it, but while he was there, his genius expressed itself in a slew of poetry that led to some of the most memorable songs of all time, with lyrics that boggle the mind to this day. Who else, for instance, could have so prophetically written something like this:
I was born to sail away
To touch the land of my dreams
But evil wind filled my sails
And finally I lost my way.
It is important to recognize genius; otherwise it may whittle away into oblivion. Jim Morrison was one of the lucky ones, who achieved success despite incomprehensible roadblocks.So, if you see a genius, (or you have one within you,) know that it is a gift; one that needs to be used to the full.
Genius always needs direction. No one is rewarded for having brains or talent; we’re rewarded for using them.
~ Pradeep Menon