My previous theory was based on the guess that openness peaks in the IQ sweet spot.
First, we must establish that, as a rule, people with higher IQs are more creative than people with lower IQs. They are more likely to play musical instruments, write novels, publish scientific papers, and so on. This is partially because they have the higher emotional intelligence to channel stimulation into constructive outlets, and partially because constructive activity is much, much easier for them.
However, Paul Cooijmans (and others) notes that extraordinary levels of creativity are not found among first-rate minds (IQs between 175 and 200), but rather among second-rate minds (150-175). Let the reader understand, the difference between first-rate and second-rate intelligences as defined here is so profound that the communication gap makes them incapable of talking to each other. The second-rate minds are simply too stupid, like the difference between a Cambridge professor (around 120 IQ) and a street corner drug dealer (around 95 IQ). In fact, this comparison is unexpectedly apt because the IQ sweet spot for genius can be profitably compared to the IQ sweet spot for crime. Let the reader understand that the author is well-pleased with himself for noticing this even though it was basically an accident.
Oh right, the new theory. You can’t be driven to genius levels of creativity unless you have a bee in your bonnet about something. According to Dutton the earlier in life the bee gets stuck in there, the better.
So my new theory is that first-rate minds are more likely to achieve catharsis and get over the traumas and alienation of the high-IQ existence because they are so much higher in emotional intelligence and maturity and lower in neuroticism. They probably have such negative experiences at a somewhat elevated rate compared to the second-rate minds, but they are so profoundly superior that even as very young children that they’re able to process what’s happening to them and come to terms with it at a much more elevated rate. To wit, when a first-rate intelligence gets a bee in his bonnet he removes the bonnet, removes the bee, and then replaces the bonnet and gets on with his life. The second-rate intelligence, on the other hand, gets really into opiates.
That’s where my theory of genius-as-addiction comes into play.
Soon after I began working for the Professor, I realized that he talked about numbers whenever he was unsure of what to say or do. Numbers were also his way of reaching out to the world. They were safe, a source of comfort.-Yoko Ogawa, The Housekeeper and the Professor
The bee-in-bonnet theory explains why someone would be more prone to supervaluation, which could then translate into a long career of trying to rationalize the entire universe such that it fits within the new model. And as the genius becomes accustomed to the dopamine hits of insight, the still-stinging bee in his bonnet combined with the positive emotional associations of achieving relief work together to drive him to pursue bigger and bigger insights to produce the same alleviating effect as the original insight. This restlessness produces the extreme conscientiousness that characterizes the endogenous personality, which centers around the intangible object of supervaluation as an obsessive-compulsive anxiety disorder. The difference in creativity is achieved by sheer focus, leading to a higher level of expertise than could be achieved by mere talent. This could be humorously compared to the drug dealer’s extensive knowledge of marijuana chemistry outclassing the Cambridge professor’s, because he is driven to prove that it’s good for you and probably cures cancer.
So the new theory is that second-rate minds are more often geniuses because they are more often obsessively focused on some specialized field. I believe this is a better theory because it matches the observation that geniuses are almost exclusively hedgehogs, not foxes.