In writing this article, I want to talk about the notion of brilliance and innovation within a scenius, which is a term that means scene of genius. Scenius is a term coined by the musician, composer and visual artist Brian Eno.
The concept of scenius plays an important role in cultural change and the evolution of culture, and with it, the evolution of consciousness within society and the world. Ultimately, it can play a role in the Quantum Revolution – the movement towards a more enlightened culture and world.
Eno suggested the word scenius to convey the extreme creativity that groups, places or scenes can occasionally generate. His actual definition is: “Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene, and is the intelligence of a whole operation or group of people. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”
Individuals immersed in a productive scenius will blossom and produce their best work. When buoyed by scenius, you act like genius. Your like-minded peers, and the entire environment, inspire you. Scenius can erupt almost anywhere, and at different scales: in a corner of a company, in a neighborhood, or in an entire region, society, or even the entire world.
The history of art and science is crammed with episodes of scenius. In modern literature there was the Algonquin Round Table, the Bloomsbury Group, the Inklings in Oxford, UK. In art and culture there was Paris in the 20s, the lofts in Soho, NYC, the folk music scene of Greenwich Village, and most recently, Burning Man. In science there was the Lunar Society in England, Building 20 at MIT, and the ever-spreading Silicon Valley.
A scenius emerges out of vibrant, cutting edge scenes or cultural niches where a group of people, often crossing disciplines and areas of expertise, are pushing into something new and rewarding each other for taking risks and challenging the status quo.
This movement is predicated on people accessing their visionary and genius capabilities, which is something we are all born with and have. Yet, as that great visionary Buckminster Fuller once said, “Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.”
David Bowie, who died on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 at the age of 69, was one of those geniuses, a true Renaissance man, an innovator who through his art transcended many boundaries and limitations.
Bowie and Brian Eno, who knew each other well and collaborated on some music projects, created a scenius in the late 1970’s in what was then West Berlin, where they worked on three albums together, “Low,” “Heroes,” and “Lodger.” Their scenius was populated by other musicians and producers; yet Bowie did not work in a vacuum, as he immersed himself in the energy and life of the local culture. He chose to live in a section of the city as bleak, anonymous, and culturally lost as possible: Schoneberg, populated largely by Turkish immigrants. He took an apartment above an auto parts store and ate at the local workingmen’s cafe.
As his producer Tony Visconti said of that scenius, “Working with Bowie is much more than going to a studio. It’s a social event, too. We would eat together, go to shows together, go to clubs together, and really soak in the local culture. That was always his way of working.”
And often, with the energy that is felt in a scenius, there is a pressure that drives it, you feel under pressure – this pressure is an impulse, the creative impulse of the universe and the creative impulse of emergence, of the new that is emerging. The scenius is innovating, transcending boundaries and creating something new, something that could radically change the world.
Imagine being involved in something like that, imagine how it would make you feel. You would be firing on all cylinders with passion, and your creative juices would be flowing – you would feel fully alive, fully in love with your place on the earth.
And this is what a scenius is. You can create this scenius anytime, and at anyplace. It’s all about like minds coming together and allowing for the unknown to unfold, and seeing what arises.
Without a scenius, there’s a feeling of under pressure that goes like this (From the song “Under Pressure” – you can see the music video at the top of the page):
“It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming, “Let me out!”
And with a scenius, there’s a different feeling of under pressure that goes like this:
“And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
And so, if you do say you want a Revolution, then the key is to start moving towards a scenius in order to start feeling your own genius potential.