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.

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