It is a Pulitzer Prise winning play by David Auburn, now powerfully performed by the Merrimack Repertoire Theater in Lowell, MA.

The play centers around a daughter whose just-departed father was both a genius and somewhat insane. She has clearly inherited one of not both of these qualities and the prospect is terrifying.

In my experience as a person in the world, a family member, and a rabbi, this situation happens all the time.  We just never talk about it except in the third-person and in the context of art and literature.  Part of the silence is this unarticulated question of whether one should be an unmedicated genius–and therefore crazy–or be properly medicated, not crazy–and ‘therefore’ also not genius.

Perhaps for some that feels like the big tradeoff and I imagine it must feel like a momentous decision and painful.

I would also like to suggest a middle way in which the most important thing in one’s life is not supermentalpowers, but the capacity for true relationships, not world fame but daily usefulness.  (And btw, there are many paths to pardes without the danger of recreational drugs or the isolation of insanity.)

Discern what is of most importance and aim there.  The decisions will look different the further you are along your path.

path with tunnel