I’ve been asked in the past by a few friends ‘How do you know all that stuff?’ and it’s usually followed by ‘What’s it like you be you?’
Huh? Are you serious? I’m me. I’m really no different than you. I’m just more intense. Puzzling looks are what I usually get in return. Maybe I am different… some might say ‘quite different’. I do tend to over- analyze things, taking new information and applying it towards what is already known and then speculating possible conclusions. I also fill mundane/routine tasks with intellectually stimulating calculations, ie., figuring out how fast the Earth is rotating at a particular latitude. For those of you who are interested, here’s the formula. Take the cosine of your current latitude (San Diego is at 31.725 degrees) and multiply that by 1,041.666 (the Earth’s circumference is approximately 25,000 miles. Divide that by 24 hrs in a day = 1,041.666 miles per hour at the equator). In my case, the computation would look like this… Cosine of 32.975 x 1,041.666 = 873.862 mph. That’s the relative speed of the Earth in San Diego. To compute the speed at your location, just change the latitude value in the formula to reflect where you are.
Am I a nerd? A geek? Too introverted? Maybe, I’ll let you be the judge of that. I do enjoy history, politics, and some social interaction. While I enjoy the company of others, I tend to like my quiet solitude more. Contrary to what the popular TV show The Big Bang Theory might have you believe, I don’t like comic books or super heroes… nor, am I stereo-typically socially awkward. What some may confuse in me as being as being ‘angry’, is really just me pondering an idea or thinking in depth about something. Yes, I’m a Mensan, but not all Mensans wear thick glasses and live in their parent’s basement or garage. And not all highly intelligent people have trouble relating to others. We just have a different or unique way of doing so. Mensans, just like all other people, are unique. We don’t all have the same quirks, hobbies, or interests. We just take the things we do have interest in, to a higher level of knowledge and understanding.
Listed below are a few of my quirks or idiosyncrasies:
Curiosity. They say the devil is in the details. When I become curious about a subject matter or a particular object, I research all that I can in order to gain a knowledgeable understanding of it. Over the years, I have acquired considerable knowledge in many areas that all have a common thread… history. Through my several collections, including antiquarian books and coins, I’ve deepened my appreciation of the past and those who’ve shaped the world during their time. The thing I like most about coins are that they tell the stories of the countries of their origin. The images on coinage and banknotes usually contain the images of national events, heroes, and patriotic symbolism.
Mind like a steel trap. I pay attention to the most mundane and trivial things. I file away those ‘facts’ until a later date and can recall them with amazing accuracy. It is not uncommon for me to have already formulated multiple scenarios to an upcoming discussion or meeting, and plot out how to ask and respond to potential questions.
Perfection. While I don’t strive for perfection, I do try to do my best at whatever I attempt. OCD is not one of my faults. I learned a long time ago to let go of that which is not obtainable or is not worth the effort required to achieve the desired outcome. With that said, I’m a stickler for details and context. To me, context is everything.
Peer pressure. This isn’t something that has ever concerned me very much. I don’t give in to peer pressure or what the ‘in crowd’ is doing. I’m my own person and do things because it is something I want to do. At times, it does put me outside of the herd mentality, but that’s OK. Most people are ‘sheeple’… followers… and I view them as weak. That may sound arrogant, and to a certain extent, that might be so. My day-to-day personal experiences have thus far revealed to me that most people are intellectually shallow.
Peer pressure typically has the opposite effect on me. If a certain celebrity, movie, opinion, etc., is very popular… I tend to become turned off towards it. I embrace the insipid… I look for the trivial beauty in the ordinary.
My moral compass is not based upon other people’s opinions. I draw upon insights gleaned from the Holy Bible and the writings of great authors such as Dickens, Hugo, and Paine, to name a few. My values are primarily black and white. It is either right or wrong… there’s very little grey. Those values may not quite mesh with the values of society at large, but in my opinion, I alone must live with the consequences of the choices I make. I have very few regrets in my life.
Perspective. As I’ve stated before, I tend to over-analyze things. I look at situations from many viewpoints and how they are perceived, or can be perceived, by others. I’ve found it to be very true that a person’s perspective is their reality… no matter how asinine or screwed up that perspective is. I constantly re-evaluate what I believe and why I believe the way I do. Most people tend to hold the same beliefs, political positions, and religious affiliations as their parents and close family members… never questioning ‘why’? It’s as if they embrace what is familiar without thinking for themselves.
Introverted or extroverted? Like everyone else, I’m a combination of both but I do fall more strongly into the introvert category. My Jung’s and Briggs Myers’ personality profile identifies my personality type as INTJ. The percentages of each are as follows… Introvert (33%) iNtuitive (25%) Thinking (62%) Judging (100%). Here’s a link that discusses INTJs in more depth. I do value my ‘alone time’… time set aside just for my own personal reflection. It could take on the form of being on the still lake waters at daybreak fishing, walking along a hiking trail, or just picking a comfortable spot on the couch and reading a classic book. That’s my time to unwind mentally.
Outlook on life. I don’t consider myself to be a very religious person. I do believe there’s a lot of life lessons conveyed through biblical scripture but I have a problem attributing scripture as the divine word of God. That doesn’t mean having faith in God is a waste of time… it just isn’t for me. Do we have souls? Is there a heaven or hell? What about karma? What is ‘good’ and ‘evil’? Are good or evil based upon changing societal standards? These are just some of the questions I ponder from time to time. My own personal feelings are that we are all here for a very brief time. I do not think we have souls but do hope I’m wrong. I’m not afraid of dying but sometimes do grow weary of life. I think life boils down to what you make of it. Your happiness, your sorrows, your triumphs… and your failures, they’re all temporary. How you come to deal with this thing we call ‘life’, says more about your inner strength and general outlook than anything else. Goals are important. Family is important. Finding things that stimulate your curiosity and adds some meaning to your existence, that’s what makes life interesting. But in the end, the reality is that our legacy is perpetuated only in our offspring and our contributions to society. The totality of our lives, will slowly pass from the memories of those we loved, as they too will inevitably pass away. Only the relics of our brief existence will remain in heirlooms, pictures, and tombstones.
Relationships. Much like an onion, my relationships and friendships are in layers. I make friends easily but most of those friendships are superficial at best. I don’t trust readily trust people. It takes quite an effort to get close to me. I do have a few very close friendships that have stood the test of time but those can be counted on one hand. I admire the qualities in a person that makes them stand out from the crowd. I favor a person’s inner qualities over their outward appearance… their dignity and grace above their beauty.
I accept people as they are. I don’t try to change them to fit some preconceived idea of who I think they should be. To me, that’s dehumanizing. Either accept who they are or walk away.
I do tend to forgive people easily, sometimes to a fault, but that really depends on the transgression involved. But I don’t forget.
In closing, I challenge you to self-assess who you are and why you tend to believe the way you do. Why are you the way you are? Always ask yourself ‘why?’ Question everything. Expand your horizons… and learn new things.
(Originally posted 14 June 2014)