Genius Can Only Breathe Freely in an Atmosphere of Freedom

Encouraging genius comes at a price: allowing nonconformity. John Stuart Mill makes that case eloquently in On Liberty chapter III, “Of Individuality, as One of the Elements of Well-Being,” paragraph 11:

Persons of genius, it is true, are, and are always likely to be, a small minority; but in order to have them, it is necessary to preserve the soil in which they grow. Genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom. Persons of genius are, ex vi termini [from the force of the term], more individual than any other people—less capable, consequently, of fitting themselves, without hurtful compression, into any of the small number of moulds which society provides in order to save its members the trouble of forming their own character. If from timidity they consent to be forced into one of these moulds, and to let all that part of themselves which cannot expand under the pressure remain unexpanded, society will be little the better for their genius.

Shall we try to fit ourselves into boxes?