Imagine a fly near both an open and closed window trying to return to the outside world. Which would we conceive to be the greater act of intelligence?- the physical ability to fly and the magnificent feat of bodily engineering that that entails- or the ability to correctly discern the open window as the means of departure? From our perspective, the ability to correctly choose the open window barely qualifies as an act of intelligence. The relevant intellectual process is effectively simultaneous to the act of perception; there is nothing to figure out.
However, this most basic act of intelligence is beyond the capacity of the fly for the simple reason that he is not equipped with the requisite mental apparatus to perform the intellectual actions. Comparative to the most simple exercise of choosing the open window however, the fly is able to perform the astonishing act of flight. How did a creature of such a stupid level of conscious intelligence come to be such a genius at the bodily level?
From there to look at the standard view on Darwinian type logic which is that things evolve so as to give themselves the gratest chance for survival, adapting to the environment and the like. In a sense, things exist so as to exist, and 'improve' their existence so as to continue to exist, which a more cynical mind than mine might describe as tautological nonsense. Another view is that evolution is specifically directed towards heightened intelligence( though not perhaps as a matter of course), and in a sense the physical structure develops as a vessel suitable for, or within which, more refined levels of consciousness can exist. Life is clearly intrinsically charged or motivated towards this progressive evolution of consciousness, such as from the simplest organisms to the higher animals and, for now, ultimately the human.
But to return to our fly at the window, possessed of a physical work of engineering at the level of astonishing genius, but an intellect of almost absolute idiocy. Which isn't to say he is without intelligence, but this is almost purely at the level of automatic response, or an intelligence intrinsic to his unconscious nature. When called upon to carry out the most simple of 'higher intelligence' acts such as recognising the open window as opposed to the closed, or learning from experience that the phsycial impediment of the closed one will continue to prevent his desired departure, then such a conscious action is beyond him.
So how did he get to the stage of development of genius on the one hand, while allied to an obvious dearth of conscious intelligence. In other words, how did he become the organism that he is: who is doing the evolving, adapting to environment, etc? Adaptation to his environment, or whatever paradigm we use, is an intellectual process infinitely beyond his ken. He couldn't possibly formulate or understand the theory or desirability of this adaptation, never mind then instigating the proceses necessary to this evolution. And resorting to even less intelligent beings such as micro-organisms as the vehicles of change is simply a deepening of the quandary, as what in the way of brilliantly directed intelligence are we to expect from a lower species again? Fuck all says you, and you'd be right.
Even traditional evolutionism accepts that life is being propelled by certain forces, though the forces it tends to resort to, or the governing principle, are clearly intelligently incapable of effecting the processes. It would be like if I suddenly appeared in two places at once, here and the local shop, and the explanation for this occurence were that "Oh, this was beneficial to his existence. Bi-location is a very effective survival technique. One self can get food while the other writes this shite." Perhaps it is desirable- even if a ludicrously reductionist explanation- but the desirabilty of bi-location and my ability to become capable of bi-location are two enormously different things. And similarly, for us animals on earth to have become the animals we are involved intelligent processes infinitely beyond our own conscious capacities. So what is this unconscious intelligence that is manifestly present directing operations?
Likewise our finest minds push themselves to their limits endeavouring to understand processes like gravity, and we would have no reservation about describing an Einstein as a genius. Naturally as an extension of this, he is being called a genius because of his capacity, flawed though it may be, to form fragmentary intellectual pictures of the nature of reality. But what about reality itself? We most likely wouldn't describe a critic of Beethoven as a greater genius than Beethoven himself, which to a degree is what an Einstein is. He is reaching into and endeavouring to understand, depending on one's perspective, aspects of an almost terrifying depth of intelligence which is intrinsic to and indeed is reality itself. The only justified sense of self for man within this reality is the utmost humility, and there is a line by the philosopher Plotinus that is apt where he describes the mystical experience as "the flight of the alone into the Alone," but which is also appropriate for the scientific exploration of reality.