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Invocations: Fireworks & Joy

The invocation for GENIUS came from the beautiful and haunting Flowers for Algernon written in 1958 by Daniel Keyes.


A cautionary tale both about experimental medicine, and an exploration into happiness and genius, the novel follows a fictional experiment in artificial intelligence, uplifting first a mouse named Algernon and then a man named Charlie to new-found brilliance. Alas, it is not to last.

Here, Charlie is talking about the exhilaration of his new genius:

“I’m living at a peak of clarity and beauty I never knew existed. Every part of me is attuned to the work. I soak it up into my pores during the day, and at night—in the moments before I pass off into sleep—ideas explode into my head like fireworks. There is no greater joy than the burst of solution to a problem. Incredible that anything could happen to take away this bubbling energy, the zest that fills everything I do. It’s as if all the knowledge I’ve soaked in during the past months has coalesced and lifted me to a peak of light and understanding. This is beauty, love, and truth all rolled into one. This is joy.”

Flowers for Algernon on