Inner Michael » Art and Genius

Art and Genius

When someone looks at a task as art rather than industry, the outplay of that simple change shifts the outcome. The translation then enlists the language of elegance. It makes a significant difference when something is an aesthetic rather than mechanical. Art implies and invokes a grace that is not inherent in ordinary tasks or undertakings.

Art incorporates beauty, love, perfection and grace and it comes from the spiritual world, not the material. It is a gift given for the ennoblement of humanity—for the sake of humanity and for humanity’s sake and stake in evolution.

The artist’s job is to somehow reveal us to ourselves. The artist siphons some essence from the chaos of the Universe and makes order from that organic mess with myth and magic. The artist cannot keep her soul out of the equation—the soul comes along deliberately or perhaps by default. It does necessarily “bind the soul to the art” as Michael Jackson said. Art can’t help it and neither can the artist.

When an artist is a channel of great power, he is able to affect the one but at the same time the many—maybe even millions. Art conveys, invokes, evokes, solicits or invites the ideal or the lofty human condition. Art is intended to evoke emotion, to be transcendental—to take us somewhere. Most times this is a place where the artist beckons us. He takes us out of ourselves and guides or sometimes even catapults us into a space we might not have visited or even imagined before. Art is a wellspring and a destination of creativity and genius—a fountain of grace and human originality with a big splash of spirit distilled, rarified, sometimes effusive like mist, but somehow tangible.

Michael Jackson was one such artist who was a channel of great power. We were able to catch a glimpse of this artist at his craft in the film “This Is It.” We watch as our minds grope to understand from where comes such talent, such inspiration, such elegance, such ethos?  From where begins the vision, the inspiration? And we wonder how does he know?

Yes, how does he know? How does the artist know the precise thing—stroke, tone, color, note, angle, expression, movement, flourish—that will move the work forward into revealing not just the human but the Divine. Particularly in art, the Divine is at home; it is the mystical union, the sacred marriage—the alchemical god-infused human endeavor and portrayal.

Music especially, is the fastest vehicle to elsewhere. In the arts, it is music that inspires, brings tears, makes us want to move, dance, sends the heart soaring. Music is transcendental, transporting us consciously or unconsciously to other realms, to emotions, to action and provoking movement. Music doesn’t require thought—it is a right-brained thing. It processes differently than the intellect. Music marks our moods, our feelings, our loves, our milestones, benchmarks and our lives. Music leaks into every celebration of human achievement, milestone or recognition. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, funerals, parades, graduations, inaugurations, presentations—almost every human endeavor and memory is marked and accompanied by music.

Think music for a moment—a power and universal language that speaks to every race, tribe, ethnicity, culture, region, country and land on Earth and all those peoples and their meanings and meanderings. It is both personal and universal, individual and collective, thematic and inspiring. It has a signature feel, color, rhythm, patterns, mass in the sense of heaviness or airiness, and lightness or dark. It can soothe, rankle or lift up the human spirit. Michael was a singer-songwriter, musician, dancer, vocal shaman, performer, choreographer, entertainer, author, filmmaker and more. But above all, Michael was Le Artiste`. Michael was also a genius.

As an artist, he tapped the wellspring of creativity. As a genius, the fire of creation burned in him. His mind, body, work and life was the canvas. Every aspect of Michael Jackson was art and genius. Michael Jackson saw things that were never seen before, heard things not yet heard, and he created them into being.

Geniuses are intense. They often puzzle,  confound, frustrate  and even infuriate those who try to understand them. They are creating at the behest of something unseen, higher, and from a place where we do not live and is beyond our understanding. In that space, things that we do not comprehend are obvious to them. It has always been humanity’s fate to struggle to catch up to and comprehend those truths visited ahead of us by geniuses. The genius is often unrecognized and unappreciated and certainly un-embraced and un-nurtured. They are most often viewed and labeled as unconventional, eccentric and even abnormal. Society has been indifferent to geniuses, has seen them as odd or different, treated them with disdain and even open hostility.

Genius is innate and available to everyone because everyone has that thread of genius—a capacity for extraordinary insight in a particular arena of human expression. Our culture does not recognize it, does not cultivate it and in fact often discourages it. It may be judged as arrogance or a lack of modesty. ‘Who are you to be so brilliant?’ is asked even if it goes unspoken. Actually who are you not to be? Hiding your light, playing small and not developing the dedication that your life mission requires, cheats the world of the unique contribution only you can make. The idea of playing small and safe while keeping your unique genius under wraps is neither desirable nor authentic; it is an indoctrination from a culture that is mistaken about genius.

The genius goes unappreciated and unrecognized in their own time because it takes near genius to identify them. Artistry, vision, mission, invention, expression, inspiration, intense drive, and mastery are components of genius that come from creative fire. The fire burns brightly in some. It’s not a voluntary fire. The fire of creation rages in a genius and can burn so brightly that everything else loses its luster next to the blaze of the consuming flame. That realm of genius is unfamiliar to the uninitiated and therefore often goes unrecognized. Sometimes genius is misunderstood because it is missed. It’s not always a product of intellect although people in advanced mathematics and sciences can have a high IQ and display genius. But intellect is not a requirement. Genius is the realm of creativity and inspiration. Geniuses are often driven and the creative gift is the central core of their life sometimes sacrificing all else for the gift. That is not voluntary either; it’s a form of slavery. Creative geniuses are enslaved to the art and for the sake of art.

Genius does not necessarily accompany talent. The talent may be present but it requires allegiance to a vision, hard work, courage, dedication, immense drive, a magnetic attraction to elegance and perfection, integrity, and the impulse to capture the fever and use that heat for creating. It’s the impulse to hone the instrument (sometimes self) to laser-sharpness in service to the calling. It can take the mind, the soul, the body, for the sake of the aesthetic. The Hollywood aesthetic in particular demands beauty from its constituents and Michael was even a slave to that—he was a constant seeker of the right timbre for his voice, the right resonance in his facial structures and chambers and the correct look in his appearance. Genius doesn’t just beckon, it demands. And commands. It would take great determination and superhuman strength for the genius to not respond to an inspiration that lands in their life—because it possesses until expressed or until the genius– the attribute or the person, whichever comes first, is spent.

What if, in judging Michael Jackson we overlooked something really important? What if we completely missed that Michael was first, an artist? That he saw the world through the eyes of an artist? And that much of what he did was artistic? What if we conferred artistic license upon him? What if we didn’t understand that he was a genius? A musical and artistic genius? What if he was a true savant? Did most of us miss it? Some didn’t. Bob Geldof saw it and he said about Michael Jackson when introducing him at the Brit Awards: “When he sings, it is with the voice of angels. When his feet move, you can see God dancing.”

For Michael, the creative fire was like a lightning bolt and the current was hot, intense, insistent and eternal. It took everything from him and he gave it all back to us. His gift is in music and magic, in humanitarian efforts and messages, in a legacy that asked us then and still asks us now to change the world and make it better. We didn’t recognize the gift; we didn’t see the genius; we childishly made fun of it and him; we sophomorically called him odd and bizarre and even whacko. Some used his naive authenticity to betray him, his innocent trust to hoodwink him and his childlike spirit to take advantage of him—for vicarious fame, for money, recognition, for selfish envy and gain. Some cannibalized his star quality to produce cynical and inhumane headlines for sport and to sell publications and amass profit. Some in his orbit gave him bad advice in order to keep him producing in allegiance to the money machine industry that he became.  Some abandoned him in his greatest time of need. Some necrophiliacs still feed off the vilification of Michael Jackson or on it. The slurs and slams continue even now in the wake of his passing.

What if it was wrong? What if we were misguided, wrong, mistaken? What if Michael Jackson was a true gift to humanity? What if he was innocent and loved children from that childlike unconditional and sweet place that he spoke of? What if they loved him back from that same place? What if he really was their hero– someone who was a minority, came from nothing, was born in poverty yet overcame huge obstacles and leveraged his talent to become the world’s brightest star? What if the bright star was darkened deliberately? What if he was victimized by extortion and framed by a vigilante crowd  just as the trail of legal documents and FBI reports indicate? What if the media circus surrounding all things Michael was a result of learning that making him a lightning rod for controversy could double their sales or viewers? And what if the focus on sensation was deliberate only to fill greedy coffers? What then? What if the orchestrated takedown of Michael Jackson on the worldwide and very public stage was racially, egoically or even financially motivated?

What if Michael was an innocent man with a big heart and an authentic parental love for children—all children of the world?  What if he truly saw the world as a global village, a related family called “humanity”  (“You are all my brothers”) and the children of the world as dependent members of our family (“Heal the World”) and felt that all adults are essential custodians and surrogate parents for the world’s children? All of them! What if the story his mother told is true: he was barely a child himself when he saw starving children on TV and vowed to do something about it someday? Seems he did with iconic “We Are The World” and U.S.A. for Africa, only the beginning of his worldwide philanthropy. What if that person is the real Michael Jackson and the one that should be remembered? What if his fans do see something in him that the rest have missed? That the cynical have overlooked? And what if they are right? What if Michael Jackson was exactly what he appeared to be—a creative artist and genius savant? What then? What now? And what shall we do with the next one that comes along?


  1. Sue Springer said . . .

    All of those “what ifs.” I have watched this beautiful soul for most of his lifetime, and although I am a person whose glass is usually half full, it is very hard to remain optimistic when reviewing the vilification of this gentle man. You are so correct Rev. B — when we cannot see genius and gentleness and a true loving nature, we are doomed to repeat the destruction. When we settle for accusations and money and salacious rumor over uplifting creative genius, what is left is not a world I want to live in. He is among the finest people to ever walk among us, the perfect example of the genius you discuss, and a shining example of a life well lived. Michael always reminded us that the divine lives in each one of us, and he gave us every ounce of his artistry to uplift us. We must respond to that extraordinay gift by seeing the divine in ourselves, and each other. Love and Peace, sue.

    Posted October 2, 2010 at 4:52 am | Permalink
  2. Jeanne said . . .

    We did not just see him, we felt him. We connected to this divine energy that he transmitted. Michael connected us to God. He took a bow but he gave credit to God for his gifts. He told us to love each other. He told us he loved us. I can hear him even now shouting at the end of a song or concert or speech,” I LOVE YOU. That beautiful gentle heart was never afraid to say I love you to a stranger. And you knew he meant it. He wanted you too to feel that love. I never got an opportunity to get a hug, but I did feel the love. Still do.

    Posted October 2, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink
  3. Greet Boete Belgium said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Barbara. I needed this post. There are still some videos out there talking about how Michael Jackson was taking too much attention in the media, was an example of how you DID NOT have to live or is the opposite of a role model. What do you all think about that? How can this be? There is still falsehoods that spread lies about Mr. Jackson (how he bleached his skin, how he has white children.) They do not know anything about Michael!How we can reach people like that? They do not understand the message. Maybe they will still be ignorant if they would read all your articles Barbara. And also it occurs to me that even some of those who defend Michael, don’t know all the facts. Not everybody can spend time researching Michael. the real Michael should be revealed. I had to get this off of my chest. Such a great, wonderful, loving, caring, selflessly artistic genius, human being, deserves far more and it hurts me how is treated still… Thank you again.

    Posted October 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  4. admin said . . .

    I edited your comment because there was a rather large dose of dark shadow by inadvertantly revisiting shadow. How things change is through shadow work. Those who do not see Michael do not see themselves. Those who don’t “get” the real Michael are not ready. Move the shadow out of the way by doing shadow work. They only know what they have been told and sold. They are not aware of how greatly they have been manipulated. Some people need their own darkness because the light frightens them. The message of Michael is not meant for them in this moment. Maybe when enough shadow work is done and the darkness is dissipated and the light is a little brighter?

    Posted October 2, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Permalink
  5. Anne Mette Jepsen said . . .

    I love you Rev. Kaufmann! You see everything so clearly! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom! You are truly appreciated:)
    LOVE and GRATITUDE 🙂 Anne Mette, Denmark

    Posted October 2, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Permalink
  6. lmat said . . .

    It is really difficult for me to understand those who don’t ‘get’ who Michael was. I see only bright light in his genius and music. All the what if’s you ask already give us the answer. Michael was all those things. Then I remember that before June 25 I did not know that light existed. Never crossed my mind, really. The awareness has to settle itself inside slowly, at least it did for me. I understand the purposeful shadowing of Michael. I understand it was profit driven and he was such an easy target. Of course we all want to read all about it–the planet’s population knew of him. Strangle and choke the connection we had to him and the artist dies, or at least he becomes silenced. In the future, not too long from now, the ‘noise’ will go away and the genius will be appreciated. Too late for Michael, yes, but I take comfort in the fact that he knew. He knew his purpose and he did the best he could with that fire from the Creator. He was successful and that is his triumph. Thank you Rev. B. I have a better understanding of artistic genius and the fact that it is not asked for–it’s just present.

    Posted October 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
  7. admin said . . .

    Thank you lmat. Yes, you bring up “noise” and that is a different attractor field than “music.” We’ll explore that later. Hard to hear the music in the din of all the noise? And what if noise is all that exists in your world? When you have your dial set to the frequency of noise and that station, you can’t or don’t appreciate the melodies that come from that other place– the channel with harmony.

    Posted October 2, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink
  8. Jan said . . .

    Well said, as always, Rev. B. I continue to be inspired by your almost preternatural understanding of the man and the magic!

    Posted October 3, 2010 at 1:33 am | Permalink
  9. lmat said . . .

    Oh, another terrific idea is noise vs. music’s harmony. I like that a lot. Can’t wait to read what you have to say about that. In my fledgling attempts at writing, I incorporate what I learn from you and I find that very exciting. It’s like all these new little neurons start to fire and not only do I understand and appreciate Michael better, but the concepts and how it all fits together is wonderful. Thank you.

    Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:54 am | Permalink
  10. Dalia said . . .

    What if Michael was an innocent man… And what shall we do with the next one that comes along? Would they do exactly the same if another genius like Michael arose? Humankind needs a radical change. Now it appears that only if a great danger threatens us we are able to come together and see each other as brothers. Michael’s sacrifice was not in vain, his efforts have paid off in you and me and many people who are inspired and are trying to continue his legacy. I know you were already working on this before you even put your attention on Michael, and my general feelings toward humanity were mine before. Michael came to give us a guideline, today it has acquired a special meaning, because he had the magic to touch the hearts of those who want to “hear” such an important message for humanity. I want you to know that I admire your work and how you are so clear in your essays; your words are pure truth for those of us involved in this change. I am reminded of a well known phrase of the master teacher Jesus: “He who has ears, let him to hear.”

    Posted October 3, 2010 at 6:50 am | Permalink
  11. Susan T said . . .

    Reverend Barbara,

    I always enjoy your writing but this piece was particularly soothing. I think for each of us, this journey we’ve been called to take has revealed most clearly that Michael was an artist. I’ve always viewed people who possess artistic talent as having a touch of genius. They see and feel on a level that most of us have yet to attained, or ever will. Everything you said about this man is so true. I was listening to a video where musicians and dancers/choreographers who had worked with him previously spoke about their experiences with him. Their praise of his talent, genius and creativity, and his ability to bring together and gain maximum cooperation from other musicians who, in the world of music were not always known for their stellar efforts at excellence, was nothing short of phenomenal. An interviewer asked a very young Michael about what his role was with the J-5 and he responded with “My songs are fast. I don’t sing ’em unless I feel ’em”. Many of his peers remarked that he sang with such a knowing feeling yet he was just a child!

    Genius enveloped all of his senses and gifted him with such vision and sensitivity that I am convinced there was no one like him before or ever will be again. That creative fire he possessed could not easily be contained. For reasons beyond our ability to understand, his agonizing time spent in God’s crucible of refining fire revealed a brilliance and beauty not seen before. I believe that he was on the threshold of creating even more beautiful music and images, possibly through film. Sometimes I am overcome with grief in imagining what incredible, meaningful screenplays and acting roles (himself included) he was on the verge of bringing into existence that we won’t see in our lifetimes. Oh! that he could have lived to fulfill that next chapter of his unforgettable life.

    I believe most of us have always known there was something really special about Michael Jackson. But it took his abrupt departure from the mortal world to make us realize how desperately important it is to recognize these special talents and qualities and what they hold for the betterment of mankind. Sometimes when I watch him in Will You Be There, I swear I see his aura, his light. Yes, we didn’t just see Michael. We felt him. That is how he touched so many millions on such a deeply level. And graciously, that feeling, that connection cannot be breached by distance. He is there. He always will be. Michael is surely smiling reading this one, pressing his hands together, touching his heart and blowing you a kiss of thanks!

    Posted October 3, 2010 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  12. Rose said . . .

    This is an amazing post. Thank you so much. I truly believe that you really helped people understand Michael a little better. He was a channel for the creator and one thing you do not do is tell God when or where or how to show up. He will do so to the people who are willing and ready. Michael had a huge tree out on Neverland Ranch which he would often climb to get away, but that was also his God space where he and the creator met. I can just imagine how many songs, and what wisdom he acquired up there. God told Michael the truth because Michael knew what to do with it. He never stopped, compromised or argued with God. He simply did as he was told. What are we going to do when the next genius shows up? First of all, don’t tell God where or when or how he is supposed to show up. That is up to the creator and the genius chosen not sneddon, dimond, o’reilly, arviso, chandler and the rest of the bunch. Better yet, why don’t we become the kind of people who God can use to help make the world a better place.

    Posted October 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
  13. Niamh said . . .

    What a stunning post; it touches on everything Michael has bestowed upon us. I have hope that we are reaching a new consciousness where we don’t project our fears and hates on people who are innocent, pure, genius, and a gift to us. I also hope that those who believe the lies, create the lies, one day see Michael for who he truly is.
    Thank you, as always.

    Posted October 4, 2010 at 3:15 am | Permalink
  14. Keisha said . . .

    Thank you Rev. K. I applaud your piece with thanks. Most of the world instinctively knew that in Michael we had a great genius. And such was the power and beauty of his artistry, that whatever our race, religion, age, background, we the audience stopped looking at him with our eyes, but with our souls… because that is directly what his genius touched. And even the enormous dark shadow that was cast on him was by default a testament to Michael’s outstanding, enormous, exceptional light –his light must have been so threatening to existing dark structures, that they came after him with full force! His kind of genius, and how it impacted the whole world, was so unprecedented that I am still in much grief thinking what future treasures we have been deprived of , that he would have channeled and gifted us with . Had he not been stymied, what movies, what performances, what more music and dance would he have been created? Rev. K, how do I console myself about this? And how do we ensure that the next time the world is blessed with someone like him, history does not repeat itself? It’s on the shoulders of such genius, that the greatest magnificence that humans are capable of, comes to fruition. We have to really protect these human treasures when they come along. We must also work towards a society where the inner genius in all of us is encouraged and nourished.

    Posted October 5, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  15. admin said . . .

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, we share your pain and we ask the same questions here. Yes, what is lost when those who are treasures are taken too soon? And yes, the magnitude of the darkness IS a testament. How do we change this? Not with and by attack. We lift up human bright shadow. We make it popular to recognize and display brilliance and unpopular to showcase shadow. We invite humanity to the light. That is why you are here, Keisha. It is part of your mission in this time. How and where to begin? Read the “Words and Violence” curriculum at so that you are informed about the mission and movement. Then go out and promote it. And do your personal shadow work- to shift the field. Invite the light. Darkness cannot exist where there is too much light. I remind you here because I have to remind myself- to “imagine” and see it already in the light. Things become realities when they are already in the field of possibility. You can’t create something you can’t imagine. That is also true of humanity. Let’s give them the dream. ~Rev. B.

    Posted October 5, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  16. diana said . . .

    Thank you for writing that is so beautiful. You are so gifted and gifted to be able to see the Inner Michael. Even today the loss seems so huge. I asked the angels for a sign about Michael. after reading about angels and how they can answer, I asked. Several days went by, everyday I asked. Then while driving on the highway it became congested with cars, many quickly passing then a car passed going slower- the license plate read IMALIVE. Never have I seen one like it nor have I since. My husband can confirm this. He was unaware of my request. I swear on the Bible that this is true. I’ve gotten mixed reviews about this. I believe it was a sign not to be taken literally of course. I’m hoping you’ll weigh in on this Barbara. Thanks for helping all of us.. and Michael too….

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Permalink
  17. admin said . . .

    There is no doubt that Michael Jackson is still very much alive in Spirit. Letters have come from everywhere and all kinds of people that tell of his stopping in to say hello. Many master teachers and those who have had a “near death experience” have already weighed in on this- that in their brief visit to the afterlife after life, they experienced the purest love, the sweetest music, the brightest light and the greatest joy imaginable. I have heard that music comes in color there. I can imagine Michael would find that an even more inspiring and creative medium than he found here. I couldn’t wish a greater joy for him. ~Rev B.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
  18. Joyce said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Barbara and all of those who have written such thoughtful, beautiful comments. I always feel renewed after reading your posts regarding Inner Michael. I get very frustrated and feel what you describe as a “shadow” after reading some of the posts on other websites that sometimes go too far in the negative, blame and hate direction in my opinion. Your posts always seem to encourage me in more positive thoughts which is exactly what I think Michael’s life was devoted to through his artistic genius. I don’t think I can add anything to all the wonderful comments above except to say “ditto”!
    I have been listening to a lot of Michael’s songs from his early years lately and it is amazing to realize how gifted he was at such a tender age. He just had a level of creativity and musical intuition that was from his soul. To put it in really simple terms…He was a Natural.
    I was in Disney World last weekend with my friends and I kept thinking about Michael and how much he loved all things Disney! It is such an escape from reality there. Everyone can be 10 years old again! I did go to see “Captain EO” 3 times. Simply Wonderful! Michael most certainly did “Change the World”! Now we have to make sure his light keeps shining through our actions. Thanks again

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
  19. gertrude said . . .

    I would just like to respond to diana briefly. diana I have started dying twice in my life and after the experiences I had no choice but to confirm there is a life that is invisible to most of us while in the body, and it is the life we return to when we leave the body. Michael, thank God, is there. The license plate that said IMALIVE after you asked for a sign from the angels was him speaking to you, and now to us. I have no doubt of this. I am very grateful for you sharing that with us and for the inspired writing of Barbara here.

    Posted October 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  20. gertrude said . . .

    My comment now to you Barbara is your writing has reduced me to wracking sobs. The entire article is magnificent but the last 2 paragraphs are GENIUS. Its a terrible thing to say but I almost hope I don’t see another MagnifiCat like Michael in my lifetime because I think I could not take another crucifixion like his. His soul did magnify the Lord, and it filled us with spirit.

    Posted October 18, 2010 at 1:45 am | Permalink

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