Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin
Author: Stephen Jay Gould
I was watching 'Christmas With the Kranks' earlier tonight with my parents. Pretty funny movie actually, I'd recommend renting it; definitely a great Christmas flick.
During the movie, my mind was wandering off; and I was trying to harvest some deeper thought processes that I might have planted. And they are long overdue.
I, like anyone, always wonder if maybe I'm special compared to others. Am I smarter? Do I have other particulars to me that set me apart? Of course, the mature answer being that EVERYONE thinks about this once in a while because EVERYONE DOES have particulars that set them apart. Life as a whole; in the animal kingdom, and in the modern world; is abundant with variation within its complex systems. Of COURSE I'm special compared to others. There is no real normal.
The word 'normal' in this case, can best be described as the imaginary average that exists when applying standard deviation to a large sum of data. SURE, normal is there; it can be mathematically expressed as a line (possibly curved depending on the set of data). But just because something can be mathematically expressed; doesnt mean it can be physically described in the real world. Thats pretty obvious, I guess. I think most people have to find their own description of 'normal'. For me, it'd have to be this geeky way. But it amazes me that it popped in my head while watching a movie about a couple doing something DEFINITELY not normal; by attempting to skip Christmas.
In thinking of the ways I'm different from the calculated average, I've always known I was smarter than the average guy. Of course, 'smartness' can be really vague, and I guess I've expressed it about as vaguely as possible. :) My intelligence stems from the ability to remember things very clearly; and to totally absorb subjects that I'm interested in (and their particular associated facts). I've known this for my entire life. But it never ceases to amaze me. I can spend 1 month with great interest in a subject; I turn around and look at myself; and I feel like I can just understand everything so much more clearly. And by everything, I mean everything in life. How offhanded subjects apply to real life; MY real life.
For instance, I've just expressed being 'normal' as an expression of sabermetrics. And the definition TOTALLY works with me. It makes MORE sense to me than someone just saying "everyone is different". Larger standard deviations are the spice of life you know? *geeky laugh*
You may be reading this and thinking: "This guy is so totally self-absorbed." And you'd have a good case, definitely. But I use this blog to sort my thoughts and to develop my brainpower.
My title of this blog entry, being 'Cycles in my head' DOES have a point, I promise. The cycles I'm describing, are my cycles of learning. I'm somewhat like a locust, I'll learn many things about a subject that I'm totally engrossed in, and then I'll get bored and sit stagnant. I feel HORRIBLE when I'm stagnant. My mind wanders and goes blank, I cant sleep, and I have no motivation for anything. I only feel REALLY alive when I'm learning something of which I am interested.
Why not just always be intersted in something? That's a great question. I've tried, but I have a difficult time forcing myself to be intersted in something. Me being interested means that I will research that subject into late hours of the night. Always learning little things as I go along while I search for a question to the answer I already have. Sometimes I find the question, and then I'm still interested and I keep going. Other times I don't, I get bored; and then I have to wait until something else comes along.
I'm currently searching for something. Not just the cultural study; or the civilization stuff... or THE natural science (which includes everything from darwinism to psychology to geology)... I guess I'm searching for others like me. Others that make posts like this. I've searched on Xanga, searched on google, and searched by hitting random blogs here. I just can't find anyone doing it. No one seems to step back and write an analytical statement about themselves; its always a criticism of something outside. It is this trend I'm seeing here, in a world full of mathematically-expressed averages, that I wonder if no one else really does this. Am I the only one?
I sincerely hope not. Next time I think I will write something on exercising my brain; not just with knowledge, but with experience.