Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Intuitive Aptitude

When I was a kid, I used to be so inquisitive. I would ask questions incessantly (to the chagrin of my paternal grandmother), and keep on asking until I'd arrive at a conclusion. That, of course, is normal and perhaps even important for a growing child.

However, as I grew up, I learned to be diligent at researching on topics that I loved the most. Of course, it's not saying that I didn't have the chance to play with other kids. Of course I did. However, by age 8 -- perhaps after an incident where a big kid bumped against poor small me and threw me literally several feet away which resulted in a big gash in my head -- I started to develop an interest on reading and research. I played less and less. Instead, I spent a lot more time in the library.

From the moment we are dismissed, I would run away with my handy notebook and enter the library. There I would research all the information and books that the library had about dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were the first ever topic that I had interest for. Well, it's been years though, and all I can remember about the 'saurs are their names. I used to remember which ones lived in the three periods of their existence -- Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous -- but now I couldn't. I'm certain though that Tyrannosaurus Rex lived during the Cretaceous period because it is where the bigger carnivores started to evolve.

Anyway, that's beside the point. The point is, from age 8 I would still play with other kids, but this time while playing I started to just observe them and wonder how their minds worked. I realize there has always been this raw curiosity that I had about people, and I believe that's what drove to become more reclusive and unresponsive to people. That's because I was just observing, a trait that I carried on until now, and a trait that has saved my skin a lot of times.

As time passed, there developed inside me a hunger. It's this hunger to understand everything, and as a result I would try to research about everything I wanted to learn so that I can understand that something. I spent most of my adolescence being buried in books. This time, the military was my pet. I read all about the militaries in the world: their armament, their histories, their tactics, almost everything. I was so interested in it that I managed to memorize the vitals of the M16A1 assault rifle -- information which I have forgot for now but I can certainly refresh it.

Everything came to a hiatus when I was in college. At this time, I enjoyed myself while of course still excelling at school. I am a graduate of Information Technology, a feat that now I can attribute to my tendency to recognize patterns within complicated structures and to understand how each pattern works within the entire system. That way, I can manipulate the flow and find out where something is wrong so I can fix it. This is something that has been so useful to me when programming, because you need to understand the flow and its components, in this case the commands that the language uses to speak to the processor.

Perhaps programming nurtured that skill, or it has been there before. All I know is, it's here now. After college, when I had nothing else to become busy with but work, the hunger returned.

Now, why choose the title? It's just because this is the base ability that Sylar has in the series Heroes. I don't claim to have that particular ability, but it comes rather close in describing how my mind works most of the times. Sylar recognizes patterns within a system, and that's how he understands things. It's called intuitive aptitude because he learns by himself, using his intuition. That's how he was able to fix watches by just listening to them; the sound of the clocks and watches are symphonies that indicate the movement of each part in the whole music. That's also how he copies other people's powers; he studies their brain and finds the connection, then he activates it within his own brain.

Well, that's far fetched and I certainly wouldn't say I am that advanced. However, it's quite tempting to try. This is the hunger that Sylar warned Peter about, and the hunger that somehow manifests itself within me. Each time I see something that I don't understand, I always have this drive to know more, to understand it fully. When that hunger is satisfied and I finally understand, it suddenly becomes boring and I look for something else.

Take my interest in martial arts for example. I was so interested in them before, but when I started taking up swordsmanship, I understood the patterns common to every martial art and I suddenly became bored with it. Of course, I still practice and analyze martial arts in my free time, but I no longer have that feeling of awe I used to have when watching Jet Li and Jacky Chan bash the hell out of their enemies. I can visually follow through their movements now, since I already understand what lies behind each move.

Just lately, I've started to practice controlling that hunger for understanding. One example of this are the whirlpools of Liloan. When I saw how many whirlpools there are in Suba Channel and the fact that it only occurs on the seaward side of the Channel, I started to become curious and wonder how that comes to be. The curiosity is worsened when I saw a similar phenomenon in the river near my home; it was caused by water passing through a gap between two rocks. I almost started asking Liloanons around what lies exactly beneath that part of the channel, but I stopped myself because it would lower my appreciation for the Channel.

Some people both in my family and others comment on how quickly I pick up on things and how they wish their children would have that aptitude. As for me, I surely hope my children don't inherit this. I don't want them to go through the headaches I have to go through knowing that I cannot act this way or that since I already see what would happen; as a result, I became guarded and always wary of people. It also frustrates me especially when people don't understand what I am trying to say, and that I can't do anything because they don't learn as quickly as I do. I don't want my children to go through that same ordeal, because I want them to grow normally.

Well, some people still don't understand what I go through. That's fine with me. You can't please everyone. But in case, anyone's curious... life for rent, anyone? Lol.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Looking Inside a Person's Heart

Have you ever had the experience of talking about your problems, and then someone butts in and says, "You know that problem of yours is so small compared to mine...." or something like that.

That for me is a case of insensitivity. You know why? No one can really understand the emotional depth of what a person goes through. You can only give advices as to the context of your experiences. Do not ever try to compare someone's problem to yours because you can never tell how it affects a person emotionally. Yes, you might mean well when say that. You are surely encouraging that person when you say that, but you are giving a message that you are comparing yourself to him or her. But, no, nobody understands anything until they feel it for themselves.

You can only give a comparison, in an attempt for him to understand that he can make it through such a problem. You are trying to tell him that his is not the only problem in this world. However, the way you can say it can affect the person.

All of us has this instinct of thinking that we are all above everyone else. Our problems are bigger than anyone else. In case of conflict, our perceptions are above the other party. It rarely happens that someone tries to weigh what he says against the possible reception of the other party. What if the other party feels that you are belittling his problem? In keeping up with the context above, you are giving the person the perception that his problem is so small that it is not even worth thinking about. You are lucky if that person has such an open mind, but it rarely happens for someone who is in emotional turmoil.

What these people need is someone to listen to them, and not someone to lecture them about how small their problems are or how easy they are to solve.

As for my own experience, people wonder why I'm so cynical or so pessimistic about the whole world. Truth is, I'm not pessimistic. It's the way I act, or the way I say it. But I am not pessimistic. The world is such a big place to give judgment to. It's not in my rights nor is it in my capacity to be able to give judgment as to who is right or who is wrong. I tell them something about my experiences, and they are so quick to make comments. What they don't understand is that there may be something else beyond the revelation that a person makes. He may be hiding something, something he is not comfortable about revealing.

As for myself, they really don't know what I've been through. Everyone knows about my family, but they don't really what are the other experiences that led me through what my personality is. I've since come to terms that everything happens because they need to, but what I really hate are those persons that judge right away without knowing what a person has been carrying after all those years. Everything in this life follows a sequence. Everything leads to something.

For one, have they ever thought what it feels to be leading someone into danger when all I've ever did was to take them with me because I thought would be safer? I was in fourth grade then. Some first graders followed me, and I thought they would be safer because I was around as someone older. I admit I was wrong for taking them with me, but at that time, I was only thinking about what would happen to them if I was not around. But what happened is that their parents complained that I dragged their children with me when all that happened was that they followed me. I did not drag them! What's worse is, the guidance counselor did not believe me. She sided with the parents because I was just a kid. How can I fight with that? My mother beat my ass black and blue because of that. But how can I fight with that?

That's why I truly hate it when someone follows me around. Deep inside, I still fear the same episode even now... 15 years later, I still feel the same fear inside of me.

Then in the same year, someone from my level ran into trouble with his own gang. He told me to tell the other side that they should meet and fight. So gullible back then, I did what I was told. Lunchtime, I was eating my fill when someone told me I need to go to the guidance counselor because I incited them to fight. I defended myself, saying that I did not incite them and that it was their own doing, but nobody believed me. What's worse, the guy who incited everything exposed the other members of his own "gang" and they all believed I was the one who exposed them even though I didn't even know the fuck they were. Have they even felt what it was like to be framed for something you did not even do?

It caused me to hate the world for more than a decade; it took me quite some time before I even trusted someone. The only persons I ever trust number only to a few, even until now.

Mine is not a very big problem. However, in my side, at that time it had been very big. It isn't so big now because I've learned from it. I've been able to use my experiences to mold myself into a person that has been better than what they were back then. If they had changed for the better, then kudos, good for them. I'm glad for them. At least they wouldn't be hurting other people anymore.

The point here is, before you make a comment, think about what the other person feels. Think about the pain he's going through. Don't be judgmental; I've been that way before, and it didn't bring me any good. You don't know what a person is going through. Sometimes it's even better to just keep quiet and let a person express what he feels. Advices don't mean anything most of the times, but companionship does.