Continued from The Way My Mind Works (Part 1)
Some of the things that I’m about to say may seem arrogant, and while I may want to argue with you about that, you may be right in believing so. The point of saying such things so blatantly is that they are (I believe) factual for the most part, in that I believe them. If they are wrong, it is not because I am lying, and if they are right, I’m not saying them because I’m bragging.
Okay…with that out of the way, I’ll get started…
These are the things that will be referred to later on; these are things that need to be known in order to better explain things later on.
I’m smart. I have an amazing memory. These are two facts – one may be caused by the other, or maybe they’re the same thing. One philosopher who’s name I forget once said something along the lines of how “bodies should not be multiplied unnecessarily”, meaning that if he had his way, he would call the two things the same thing.
If you put those two things together, you get something interesting, but if you endow a young child (by young I mean 4 or 5) with them, you get something even more interesting.
Let me tell you first what I mean by “smart”, and what it has to do with having an “amazing memory”, to which I’ll simply refer to as “memory” simplify things. I’m smart in that I can understand concepts easily, and my memory is such that once I “get” something, I keep it. If I “get it” once (and I mean really “get it”) there is a good chance that I will have “it” for the rest of my life.
That is how those two things work together – alone, they are equally useful.
I can memorize something if I concentrate on it. While this is effective, it is…well, I wouldn’t call it difficult in a sense, but it requires a great amount of mental effort. If you’ve heard of or know of visualization technique, imagine taking what you want to remember as a physical object, and stapling, nailing, or taping it to your brain. To the outside observer, I close my eyes tightly for about 3-10 seconds, depending on how complex what I want to remember is, and how sure I want to be that I’ll remember it later on.
With concepts, as soon as I get something, all sorts of applications that the concept can be used for flash through my mind like lightning. The moment of realization may be a long time coming sometimes; it’s either all or nothing. If I understand something, I understand it completely and totally. If I don’t understand it, there is nothing gained until I do.
When I was taught multiplication, it took me a small amount of time, but once I understood it, it became a part of me, no different in my understanding of everything else in life. Once understood, a concept is no less integrated into my understanding of things than the concept that water is wet, and that fire is hot.
The Plot Thickens
So – we have a young boy who understands and doesn’t forget. He’s in Elementary School.
Yeah, that was amazing use of time – Multiplication was explained to me, and as soon as I understood it, I knew it in the same way that I understood that the Earth was round. Multiplication tables came several years later, in third, fourth, and fifth grade. I had already memorized them all by about mid-third grade. From then on, every time I received a piece of work pertaining to the multiplication tables, I would complete it without working hard at all.
Every subject was just like that; I would learn it the first time it was discussed, and wouldn’t work hard for the duration of the year, or until a new concept was introduced. Even when a new concept came up, I would soak it in right away, meaning another set of months without any real mental effort required.
I breezed through Elementary School, straight A’s, and most of Middle School.
Here’s where things start getting…”fun”.
What we have here is a preteen who hasn’t had to expend more than a few minutes of minimal mental effort for a decade. He essentially hasn’t had to work ever, and (knowing this now), frankly, doesn’t quite know how.
In eighth grade, I started getting F’s. I was trying as hard as I had been; why wasn’t I getting straight A’s? I never had to study anything before, since I remembered everything I ever needed to know on a test or quiz. I never had to do homework, since they hardly give you any up until about 6th or 7th grade. That was “stupid” so I didn’t do that, because if they “got to know me” they would realize that I really knew it and could understand what they were teaching. That’s what school was designed to do, right? To give you information? …Right? Wrong, but I wouldn’t be able to face that until several years and a lot of bad report cards later.
In Freshman year of high school, I learned that I needed to do homework. In Sophomore year, I learned why. I’m in my Junior year, and I’m learning how to put those two things I’ve learned from the years before together and get the homework done.
This is how my understanding has changed; the beginning/top of the list is how I started off, and the bottom is how I am now.
- School is a place where you learn things that you need to know so that you will be an educated member of society
- School is a place where you are taught things so that you will be an educated member of society
- School is a place where teachers tell you things so you will be an educated member of society
- School is a place where teachers are paid money to read you their lesson plans so you might hear things you didn’t know about before
- School is a place where people are paid to read out of books so you might be able to learn something, if anything
- School is a place where people are paid to assign work, which you must do in order to raise your grade; your grade is a number that is sent to college, which you need to get into if you want a good job
- School is where you do work that affects your grade, a number that, if high enough, will let you get into college
- School is where you work towards raising your chances of getting into college
The last is pretty much true in my opinion. It’s something I need to face, every day. It is my goal to be a video game designer. That requires college, which requires a good GPA, which means I need to do well in school. That’s right; I need to work – and not just work; work hard.
I remember being taught in Driver’s Education that one of the biggest problems an inexperienced driver must overcome is looking above what is directly in front of them and seeing the whole road ahead of them. New drivers tend to look directly down in front of the car, instead of looking straight ahead, horizontally.
What I had to realize and overcome was not looking at the big picture. Sure, that teacher is an ass who has no business teaching, and no idea what they’re talking about. They shouldn’t demand of me what they probably can’t fulfill themselves. So no, I won’t do the homework they assigned.
Or you can look at the big picture instead of at what’s right in front of your nose. The homework assigned will be graded. The grade will go into the grade book of the teacher, and will be figured in with your average. If you continue to refuse to do the work, your average will fall, and fast. At the end of the semester, you will probably be failing, leading to a mad rush of makeup work, or you may simply fail, leaving you to either take summer school or to retake the class the following year. Not only that, but if you continue to fail classes, your transcript and GPA are going to suck. That means that you are endangering your hopes of getting into college.
What is commonly failed to be seen is that not doing homework is EXACTLY THE SAME as not going to college. EXACTLY the same. Unlike homework, which you can find a way around it by making excuses, reasoning your way out of it (for example; I won’t do it, not because I’m lazy, but because the teacher is an ass) or being blatantly lazy.
Something I fight tooth and nail against every minute of every hour of every day is the impulse to refuse to work.
This is the first brick of a foundation that I will lay to define myself. It is but one factor that has caused me so much grief and suffering. Self-deception is a powerful thing, and shouldn’t be underestimated.
While last time I had two cousins that were ready to play, this time I have dinner that is ready to be eaten, and so I will continue this series of self-definition and self-explanation later on. Trust me; with these basics out of the way, I can move on to the things that are much more recent and infinitely more…interesting.