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Posted by Aurino Souza on October 11, 2002 16:58:30 UTC

Hi Dick,

As all my friends know, my mouth exerts a strong pull on my foot, so that the latter often ends up inside the former. I was afraid I had hurt you with some of the stuff I said, I'm glad you don't seem to hold any grudges. In any case, there's not enough bandwith on my network to properly apologize, so an "I'm sorry" will have to do.

That said, there's something about you I'm very curious about. I don't know exactly how to discuss it, perhaps I should forget about it. I'll tell you a short story anyway.

I grew up with the distinct feeling that I'm different from most people. My social life is pretty normal as far as I can tell, I can't thank God enough for the countless beautiful people He put along my path. The feeling of being different comes from somewhere deep in my subconscious, I don't know exactly what it means but it's always there. The thing that most bothers me about it is that I see myself as an extremely humble person, while most people tend to see me as intellectually arrogant. Now that might strike a chord with you as I suspect you feel exactly the same way. I could be wrong though.

According to my parents, when I started grade school my teacher called them and urged them to transfer me to a special school for gifted children. My parents, in their infinite wisdom, declined and said they wanted me to have a normal childhood. My first-grade teacher was probably mistaken, I never had the problems gifted children have in ordinary school. I suspect the really important thing about the whole episode is the fact that my parents told me about it. My parents are very proud of their two children, and they did a very good job instilling self-confidence in us.

And that's where the "being different" feeling comes from. I was educated to see myself as the equal of everyone else. I don't believe in blindly following authority, and I believe no one should. I believe every person is his or her own God, meaning that we all know what is true from our own point of view. If we disagree with each other, that is only because we have different points of view. Any person with that outlook on life will value individual opinions while at the same time refusing to accept "absolute truth" coming from authorities, be they priests, scientists, politicians.

The funny thing for me is that most people actually believe in following authorities and resent those who refuse to do so. That in spite of the fact that authorities more often than not use their position to their own advantage, which everyone knows is a problem whose solution, again and in a paradoxical way, is left for another authority to solve. From my perspective the entire world looks like a big asylum, full of crazy people doing crazy things. It's a major source of anguish for me.

I have an autistic nephew, and because of that I have a special interest on the subject. One day something very funny happened. I was reading a list of symptoms associated with autism and I thought, "geez, I have more than half of those". I don't have the "key" ones, but I do have some weird ones like an enormous discomfort wearing most types of clothing. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that my feeling of being different, the anguish it causes me, might actually be the result of something in my brain. That something prevents me, for instance, from seeing the value in following authority. I suppose no argument is strong enough to reconfigure a person's brain, which means some people might have an incredible inability to realize what is obvious for everyone else.

I don't know if you're following me. What I came to realize about you is that I think your brain is different, and because of that you may be able to see things most of us don't, while at the same time being oblivious to trivial facts.

I believe it's quite possible you have discovered something truly amazing, but it's also quite possible that you have no way to find the right approach to communicate it, in which case your ideas will die with you. Perhaps that is the real issue you have to work out, before you try anything else.

So where's my foot now?

Have fun,


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