The GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity
by: William A. Therivel, PhD
Vol 1 Vol 2 Vol 3 Vol 4 Vol 5 Vol 6
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-GAM/DP Synopsis
-GAM Introduction
-DP Introduction
-GAM/DP Summary
-Mozart and not Salieri
-Personality Families
-Berlin's Hedgehogs & Foxes
-James Joyce - Fox
-Newton's Personality Styles
-Gifted and Talented
-GAM's Marginal Men
-GAM's Heidegger
-GAM's Nietzsche
-GAM's Nathaniel Hawthorne
-German Ethnopsychology
-Japanese Ethnopsychology
-French Ethnopsychology
-Spanish Ethnopsychology
-Chinese Ethnopsychology
-Argentine Ethnopsychology
-Byzantium's Creativity
-Venice's Creativity
-Chaucer's Griselda
-Western Medicine's Origins
-Individual Growth by Thinking GxAxMxDP
William A. Therivel
William Therivel
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-High Creativity Unmasked
-Studying Power
-Studying National Characters
-Studying National Creativity
Biography of Author

Geniuses versus gifted & talented children and adults are discussed in
Therivel's GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity.

Gifted/Talented Children (High GxA) Will/Should Become Successful Professionals; Challenged Children (High GxAxM) Will/Should Become Geniuses

The above is the title of chapter 1 of volume 3 of William A. Therivel's The GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity (G stands for genetic endowment, A for assistances of youth, M for misfortunes of youth, DP for division of power, UP for unity of power). For an introduction to the GAM part of the theory click "Introduction to GAM"; for an introduction to the DP part click on "Introduction to DP".
In this website, the reader is also offered a shortcut: The GAM/DP Synopsis and an expanded version, The GAM/DP Summary of volumes 1 through 4.

This is a long (116 pages) and important chapter of which I report the table of contents and some pages.

This chapter is divided into the following sections

1. Introduction: Genius and giftedness/talents are different
2. Definitions
3. Creativity (definitions and proposed classification)
4. Nature and nurture
5. The challenged youth
6. When and why can the misfortunes be creativogenic
7. Intelligence
8. Hard work
9. Achievement motivation
10. Qualitatively or quantitatively different?
11. Implications for educational practice
12. The relative importance of fit
13. Which kind of creativity? Les Demoiselles d'Avignon?
14. Adolescence, graveyard of G/T creativity
15. The stigma of giftedness
16. The difficulties of managing giftedness in the peer world
17. Reinventing oneself, or being challenged?
18. Evidence for the GAM theory: Klee's miner personality
19. Fruitful asynchrony?
20. How important is creativity in childhood?
21. Gifted persons should court the field; challenged divide it
22. A funnel problem?
23. Creativity versus eminence
24. Are the gifted children pulling the short straw?
25. Are chance encounters important?
26. The importance of character
27. In the end
Appendix 1. Paul Klee: GAM miner

1. Introduction: Genius and giftedness/talents are different

     Dean Keith Simonton's chapter in the International Handbook of Giftedness and Talent (2000) is entitled: "Genius and giftedness: Same or different?" Early in his chapter, Simonton asked: "Does giftedness necessarily transform into genius? If not, why not? And on the other side of the coin, does all genius display giftedness in youth?" (p. 111). Simonton then restated this same problem at the end of his chapter "as two absolutely essential questions:

(1) Why do so many gifted children fail to realize their potential upon becoming adults? What are the places where the development trajectory is most likely to veer off target? What are the most common blind alleys? This is the problem of the 'nipped bud'.

(2) Why is it that many highly successful adults managed to display no clear signs of giftedness in their early years? Does the developmental trajectory for these unpromising youths differ in some qualitative manner from that which guides the precocious child to adulthood achievement? This is the problem of the 'late bloomer'" (ib. p. 118).

My answer, as explained in this chapter, is precise:

  1. Genius and giftedness are different.
  2. Giftedness/talents (high GxA) is not the potential for genius but for professional success.
  3. There is no reason why giftedness should transform into genius (i.e., realized high GxAxM); Challengedness (high GxAxM) is the potential for genius.
  4. Harmonious peer relations are important for the gifted-->successful, but not of much importance for the challenged-->genius.
  5. Many gifted suffer of the Stigma of Giftedness Paradigm (SGP); practically no challenged suffer from it.
  6. We should not talk of buds and nipped buds, nor of early or late bloomers, but of a potential that is realized or not in adulthood. A "bud" has in itself everything it needs for blooming; a potential needs much more, for instance long years of focused hard work, pruning, and a dynamic DP environment.
  7. Without the impact of a major misfortune(s) of youth (the M of GxAxM) on personal script formation (see in Introduction to GAM) it is nearly impossible to fight an important war of the scripts with society, and consequently to develop a new valid vision (the conditio sine qua non for sustained high creativity).
  8. Finally: gifted/talented children (high GxA) will/should become successful professionals; challenged children (high GxAxM) will/should become highly creative (i.e., geniuses).

     The above does not exclude the fact that, in a few cases, the same person can be first a gifted child not yet affected by major misfortunes, then a challenged youth, because of major misfortunes of youth, and finally a genius in adulthood. This was the case with Mozart and Picasso. In reference to Picasso's evolution, from gifted to challenged we read the following:

Around this time Pablo [aged 12 to 13] must have realized that, compared with other bourgeois families, his parents were poor and déclassé, and that his beloved father was a pathetically bad teacher and painter. This realization would have dealt Pablo's pride a grievous blow. His response was embodied in a determination to exorcise the stigma of paternal failure by a triumphant display of his own gifts, something that can only have increased his guilt toward his father. (Richardson, 1991, p. 48)

     In parallel, young Pablo--like young Mozart and young Goethe (and all three became challenged personalities)--must have realized that in order to exorcise the stigma of the paternal failure, he had to be different from the father in many more things than painting techniques: he had to face life differently, he had to refuse many of the paternal scripts, and, instead, build his own. Picasso's evolution from gifted to challenged had already begun before (in a process which parallels that of Goethe, and his strong interest for the French language and theater):

The more the father came to loathe Corunna, the more the son came to love it--so much so that he eventually learned enough dialect to recite poems by Rosalia, the Galician laureate, and to sing songs in Galego. In old age Picasso chided the Galicians for forgetting all about the formative years he had spent in their midst--at the outset such happy years. (ib. p. 41)

However, the problem was not only the father:

Although the family was obliged to live on the father's miserable salary as an art teacher, they were never in actual want, thanks to a network of prosperous relatives. However the stigma of being a poor relation permanently bruised Picasso's pride. He remembered charity, above all the niggardly charity of his rich uncle Salvador, the benefactor who stood for the bourgeois hypocrisy and stuffiness that Picasso associated with Málaga. (ib. p. 14)

This same evolution from gifted to challenged can be seen in young Charles Dickens:

     "His father and mother accepted the offer very willingly, and on a Monday morning only two days after his twelfth birthday Charles started to work. The event left him stunned, sick with despair. [Later he wrote:]

It is wonderful to me how I could have been so easily cast away at such an age. It is wonderful to me, that, even after my descent into the poor little drudge I had been since we came to London, no one had compassion enough on me - a child of singular abilities, quick, eager, delicate, and soon hurt, bodily or mentally - to suggest that something might have been spared, as certainly it might have been, to place me at any common school. Our friends, I take it, were tired out. No one made any sign. My father and mother were quite satisfied. They could hardly have been more so, if I had been twenty years of age, distinguished at a grammar-school, and going to Cambridge" (Johnson, 1977, p. 31).

     Then, after five months, a small legacy had enabled the father to pay his debts, emerge from prison, and a little later--after a quarrel with the manager of the warehouse--he announced that the boy should cease working and be sent back to school. "[Charles's] mother was appalled. Probably John Dickens's affairs were not yet straightened out.... How could they afford to throw away even the seven shillings a week Charles had now been earning?.... But John Dickens had taken a stand. Charles, he said, should go back to the blacking warehouse no more, but should go to school. On the boy their divergent positions made a deep impression. He summarized it:

I do not write resentfully or angrily for I know how all these things have worked together to make me what I am: but I never afterwards forgot, I never shall forget, I never can forget, that my mother was warm for my being sent back. (ib. p. 40)

     The time that Charles had spent in the warehouse amounted to no more than five months, but the lonely anguish he endured had made it seem an eternity of suffering. The wound was so deep that its emotional scar remained with Dickens forever. All the remainder of his life he lay under the double shadow of the Marshalsea [where his father had been gaoled for debt] and the workroom dungeon where he had toiled in despair.
The experience was crucial for Dickens's entire future course. It is hardly fanciful to say that in the blacking warehouse that unhappy child died, and into his frail body entered the spirit of a man of relentless determination. Deep within him, he resolved that he should never again be so victimized. He would toil, he would fall prey to none of his father's financial imprudence, he would let nothing stand between him and ambition. He would batter his way out of all the gaols that confine the human spirit. (Johnson, 1969, p. 45)

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