Geniuses are unloved.
During their lifetime they are decried, often condemned to being demonized by their peers.
They divide just as much as their works. History is teeming with them, from art to technology to science.
They are most often rehabilitated after their disappearance. Most often it is advised to separate the work, the accomplishments of the person from the genius in the hope that critics will finally see the specificity and uniqueness of these exceptional human beings.
If there is one point on which detractors and admirers of Elon Musk agree, it is that the whimsical CEO of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX is a visionary. A boss who plays in his backyard with rules that only apply to him. A boss whose every word, every intervention makes you react positively or negatively.
Musk seems to know his place in our society right now. And for those who decry him, he seems to have a message: love me.
Is Elon Musk a Genius?
In a series of Saturday Twitter posts, his favorite means of communication, the billionaire wrote a message echoing the sentiment shared on geniuses.
"Geniuses are often rejected by society," Musk wrote above an open oven in which four slices of pizza appear to be cooking.
The most interesting thing is that three of the four pieces of pizza seem to have the same ingredients. The fourth slice contains clearly distinct ingredients. And this piece of pizza is the one that's right next to the oven door. It is as if it were going to be ejected from the oven, while the three slices containing identical ingredients seem to wedge inside well kept warm by the heat of the oven.
Musk adds no further comment. He lets us interpret as he likes to do on his Twitter account through posts that are both comments on Tesla and SpaceX products and geopolitical issues.
Sometimes he indulges in jokes, quoting writers and poets or declaring his love to Canadian singer Grimes, his ex and mother of two of his children.
It's unclear whether Musk sees himself as the slice of pizza that's about to be ejected from the oven.
The posted message had already been liked by nearly 360,000 users at the time of writing. Musk has over 78 million Twitter followers.
The post aroused a great outpouring of sympathy. Some users saying Musk is misunderstood, while others want to hug him.
"When I see the mark you are leaving on the world, and how much misunderstanding you endure, I feel such gratitude that I am alive to witness history while you walk the earth," one user wrote. "I don’t deify you; perfectly imperfect - and a national treasure. Thank you."
"Rejection doesn't mean you aren't good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer," another user commented.
"It's time for a hug E," said another user.
But others also wanted to tell Musk that he might not be a genius.
"You are not one of them," commented one user.
"If you are rejected by society, it does not mean u r a genius for sure," added another one.
Musk Divides People
Since Apple's (AAPL) Steve Jobs, no other boss has aroused passions as much as Elon Musk. He is recognized for having been one of the architects of the conversion of the transport sector towards electric vehicles that pollute less than gasoline vehicles. But at the same time, we tend to remind his admirers and fans that it was not he who founded Tesla.
On the one hand we weave praise to the exploits of SpaceX which participates in the revival of the conquest of space and on the other we wonder why Musk cannot devote himself to solving the problems here on earth to begin with.
When he sends aid to Ukraine and to the Ukrainians whose country has been invaded by Russia, one doubts his good faith and one does not stop wondering if he really takes seriously this conflict which has already caused hundreds of deaths and displaced millions more.
We like to enumerate his failures and promises not yet kept: autonomous vehicles, electric buses, complaints from black employees accusing Tesla of discrimination, opposition to unions.
We are monitoring the progress of Neuralink, a company, founded by Musk, that is developing a brain implant that will link the human brain directly to computers.
The various controversies Elon Musk has created is a long list, from Twitter battles with U.S. politicians to creating turmoil for stockholders of Tesla stock, to criticisms of the SEC, the richest person in the world shows no desire to keep his opinions to himself.
He has an estimated net worth of around $232 billion as of Friday, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Elon Musk wants to go down in history but there is undoubtedly a price to pay.