Perspiration vs. Inspiration

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With the World Series over and the election decided, let’s look at the time-honored competition between perspiration and inspiration.

Here is a word on excessive perspiration known as hyperhidriosis:

Perspiration can occur in many different areas on the body. Most commonly, hyperhidrosis occurs on the palms of the hands. In such cases, this condition is known as Palmar Hyperhidrosis. But hyperhidrosis is not just limited to the hands, it can also occur on the face, the soles of the feet (plantar), and in the armpits (axillae).

When the act of shaking hands presents a problem, business and day-to-day life can become very uncomfortable. Some patients report that the perspiration prevents them from being as sociable as they would like to be, as they are forced to hide in the shadow of hyperhidrosis. Regardless of where it occurs, perspiration presents an incredible problem to those living with the condition. Other problems occur such as smeared ink when writing or an inability to use electronic devices such as keyboards and computers. Hyperhidrosis can extremely affect people socially and functionally in their everyday lives.

And here is a definition of inspiration:

In Greek thought, inspiration meant that the poet or artist would go into ecstasy or furor poeticus, the divine frenzy or poetic madness. . . transported beyond his own mind and given the gods’ or goddesses own thoughts to embody.

Inspiration is prior to consciousness and outside of skill (ingenium in Latin). Technique and performance are independent of inspiration, and therefore it is possible for the non-poet to be inspired and for a poet or painter’s skill to be insufficient to the inspiration.

Revelation is a conscious process, where the writer or painter is aware and interactive with the vision, while inspiration is involuntary and received without any complete understanding.

Thomas Alva Edison is first reported saying “Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration” sometime around 1902, in the September 1932 edition of Harper’s Monthly Magazine. As the light bulb glowed over his head, his point was that genius is the result of hard work, rather than an inspired flash of insight. Around twenty years earlier John Ruskin wrote: “I know of no genius but the genius of hard work.” Maybe Mr. Edison was not as original as he’d have us believe.

Read yesterday’s “extra” on ping pong here.

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