I don’t claim to know the life of all the geniuses’ but reading in the personal life of my favourite philosophers: Baruch Spinoza, Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, I know that they were rejected by women they were deeply fond of, and in his youth Schopenhauer had been rejected by his own mother whom he loved dearly, as a result he condemned all women and questioned their competence as human beings in his writings during his adult life. Beethoven too was repeatedly rejected by women he was attracted to and for whom he had composed the most majestic sonatas, music that was endlessly beautiful and endlessly sad. The great poet W B Yeats was so obsessively infatuated with Maud Gonne, he proposed to her four times over a period of ten years, all his attempts were rejected by Gonne who continued to be his muse and the subject of his most passionate poems even after his marriage to another woman. In Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia stands a statue of Slovene’s national poet France Prešeren
staring directly at window of a house where once his adored Julija Primic lived, Prešeren was rejected by his beloved’s family due to the fact that he belonged to an inferior class. Sylvia Plath’s most powerful poetry was written after her marriage to Hughes whom she loved deeply fell apart due to him leaving Plath for his mistress Assia.
There are so many examples where unrequited love had provoked strong emotions, beautiful poetry, haunting music and strokes of genius, thought and ideas. Rejection seems to have the power to make us hurt and suffer but also to focus our negative emotions in the productive activity of writing, painting, composing or inventing. When we are rejected by those we love we suddenly turn our attention to ourselves and to our own interests and passions; all those intense feelings, all that time, all that emotional effort and mental tax we were squandering over our love interest is given back to us and we realize that we can take this immense energy and use it, really use it to create. We are inspired by our pain and inspire others by it too.