The Lost Genius Manifesto

Ever since Sir Emmanuel Manstronia wrote the pivotal Manifesto for the Lost Genius in May of 1988, the world has never been the same. We provide for you the full text of this historic work as found at his ranch near Lancaster, Ohio, three months after his death (July 15th 1990).

Manifesto for the Lost Genius

"Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some Heart once pregnant with celestial Fire,
Hands that the Rod of Empire might have swayed,
Or waked to Ecstasy the living Lyre."
--Thomas Gray, An Elegy Wrote in a Country Church Yard

t is a fittingly dreary day as I write this, holed up in my hovel in the heart of the Ohio badlands. I write in earnest, and slowly; occasionally I am paralyzed knowing that despite my agony people will slight me, spit on me, and wish for my failure. Indeed, unless I find an uncensored means of publication, my epic undertaking invariably will fall to their wishes, because at every turn I and the other lost geniuses of this world find culture and thought dominated by shameless, arrogant elites who audaciously presume to know and speak for the divine truths restlessly ambling within their collective soul.

And then there are our souls, which, as islands in a sea of brilliance, inertly reach for guidance, but are blinded and sometimes thwarted by their own enlightenment, and diverge on so many paths that they simply dilute themselves into endless black nethers; so hoping to reunify themselves with that fog-like Other that remains perpetually just beyond arm’s length, we bemoan our existences (oh, if they could only be existence in the singular!) in self-conscious, unsavory ways that bear no fruit and tempt no tastebuds.

Still I try:

istory hitherto has been marked by the failed efforts of many millions of unheard and unseen martyrs to countless causes. My lack of specificity here proves my point, however starkly, and Thomas Gray illustrates the problem eloquently and poignantly in the epigraph. But I am sure that every reader of this Manifesto, regardless of his circumstances, has encountered a lost genius in his time: a genuine young soul against whom the sands of time and the winds of fate always conspire; one who rightfully bemoans the banal circumstances into which he was born or has fallen, but who courageously hopes to make great things of them; one who attends a state funded college but who has designs on a more stimulating environment; or one who doubts that he will ever be able to escape the philistinism that distracts, disgusts, and debilitates him daily.

The lost genius is in fact a pervasive, often invasive, force in our society. He is the layer of clay immediately below the fruitful topsoil of commerce and industry. The lost genius clings to himself and motivates his own existence and lack of achievement by deriding fruitful adventures, finding the necessary logistics to maintain their paradoxical superiority a true inferiority because of patronage, self-indulgence, or simply not understanding the unheard significance of the unsung brilliance he will not deign to sing. The lost genius is a nuclear bunker buster detonated below ground in a sealed cavity, a complete transcendence of light, matter and energy, but completely shut off from an outside world that might ask for justification or proof;

So he stews in his own transcendence, convincing himself he need not convince the world outside of his brilliance, and must never become aware that the nuclear reactions have long since ceased, that the electrons have stopped bothering to orbit their nuclei, or that the chemical bonds have atrophied and been replaced by a fallout residue that inspires nothing. The lost genius inspires no one while infinitely inspiring himself, and thus creates a singularity of inspiration that in its confusing, unfathomable structure relies on numbers like pi, e, and the golden ratio to curl in on itself and its infinitude. For all the custom-tailored conceit a lost genius devises for himself, he never quite grasps that millions of unremarkable people have borne his same fears, desires, and self-made superiority.

Only with the help of an empowered, organized body can these lost geniuses sit in confidence in the darkness outside their homes and let crippling doubts born of endless abuse vanish with the smoke from their cigarettes. These doubts and abuses are but words; with glory from a significant institution lost geniuses are no longer stinky, bilious piles to others, and the glory-borne unarticulated mass of freshly verdant thought rising within them can guide them to the orgy of personal satisfaction they deserve. Through this they can and must become a part of that fog-like Other, eventually sloughing off their wretched, leprous skins to combine their self-awareness into something that, like the fog itself, extends everywhere. Beyond all doubt, this is
an unalienable truth:

The lost genius has nothing to lose but his own, cherished, claim to self-consciousness and singular brilliance, while he lives in a world that, like it or not, will be defined for him. Give lost geniuses their stake in that definition.

Come! Lost geniuses of all countries: t’were’p’h!


Emmanuel Manstronia (1917-1990)

Preface to the May 1989 Bottom-Desk-Drawer Edition

n all of my years of writing, nothing proved as tremendous as my last effort had become. A pomegranate of thought, it simply defied the very same definition it sought, so like an egregious typo, all thought-ideas clustered into something indefinite. Realizing by the end of writing the manifesto that despite my preparations I could not articulate it, I instead edged toward t’were’p’t, realizing inherent in it a transcendence that made it impossible to spell it the same twice. I hope that did not make an anticlimax, though I am sure it did.