More than a month ago, Amar tagged me with a meme. If you’ve read my blog for more than five minutes, you know I generally don’t do the whole meme thing, even when tagged, unless I find the meme to be of interest. This happens to be just one of those cases.
So without further ado, let me tell you seven strange things about me.
- Moral flexibility: I do not see things in terms of right and wrong, at least not with the concrete attitude of zealots. I see things in shades of gray. I know with all my heart and mind that no ethical absolutes exist. This represents the single greatest reason I abhor religion with extreme passion. There are in life many things I find distasteful and many things I find agreeable; there is nothing in life I would ever call always right or always wrong.
- Counting mania: Science and mathematics vivify me. They always have. Unfortunately, I suspect math similarly vexes me with obsessions I cannot withstand. I count everything. Call it my personal OCD. From the characters in a sentence to the flashes of light in a “don’t walk” signal, I find myself unable to cease this endless need to identify and quantify the mathematical meaning in everyday life.
- History illogical: I do not consider myself defined by what has come before. The premise of post hoc, ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this”) happens to be one of my pet peeves. I believe to be irrational the historical lines people draw between the past and the present. To wit, I think it insane for people to justify present actions with past events. What happens does not define who we are. Simply because one event precedes another does not mean the former caused the latter. Who we are and our relationships to the universe cannot be defined by what happened to us. Those things can play a part, yes, but they cannot control us. People who say otherwise are simply excusing bad behavior.
- Aliens exist: Although I seriously eschew belief in alien abduction tales, I do strongly believe that life exists in places well beyond our own planet. I think a strong possibility exists that we may discover life within our own solar system. More importantly, I find absolute certainty in this single assumption: We are not alone. Be it microbial or intelligent, nothing can dissuade me from looking out there and believing without doubt that alien life exists. The universe is simply too vast and stars and planets simply too common for Earth to be the only place where life developed.
- Multilingual thinking: Due to extensive linguistic learning through decades of my life, my brain now thinks in several different languages (mostly English, Spanish, Arabic, and Latin, although several others play a role from time to time). Anyone who has tried to learn a language knows the real trick rests in learning to think in that language. Don’t scoff at the idea for it’s more difficult than you might imagine. A correlatable adjunct to learning a language, therefore, is thinking in that language. Because of that, I tend to spout non-English responses without thinking, and I also tend to process internal thoughts in several languages, sometimes even remembering what something is called in a foreign tongue before the English word jumps to mind.
- Driven memory: While I tend to remember a great deal of information, I push myself to remember everything. I come very close to accomplishing that goal. Want to know why peppers evolved to include heat in their flavors? Want to know the differences between religion and philosophy? Want to know the name of my high school AP physics teacher? Want to know when I fell in love with red-winged blackbirds? I could go on, but let me say this: My mind grows ever more cluttered with tremendous amounts of information. I like it that way. I don’t think I could ever know too much.
- Altered states (or simply complicated): I spent more than thirty years of my life being the consummate city boy and striving for a life full of things and activities. I could never own enough, I could never do enough, I could never be awake enough, and I could never party enough. Add to that this simple axiom from back then: I could never survive outside the city. I needed the nightlife, the crowds, the pollution, the headaches, and the unending drama. Only in the last five years have I reversed course in both respects. I now want a simpler life with fewer belongings, one far removed from the urban jungle. I want to commune with nature, enjoy lazy days, focus on writing instead of running, and visit upon my own life the most capricious moment ever: a dramatic shift from decades of clawing my way through the mayhem to several more decades of enjoying life instead of surviving it.