Wednesday, March 13, 2013

sometimes when we think we are smart, we forget about the little things

 photo flowersforalgernon_zps7e53ce51.jpg

i learned about this book through the show Person of Interest.  Root's friend, Hanna, was reading it before she disappeared and Root made sure that the estranged wife of the man responsible for Hanna's death got a copy every year, April 15th to be exact.

i just finished reading it. it is awesome.

the story is about Algernon, a lab mouse who has undergone surgery to increase his intelligence through artificial means and it is told by a series of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon who went under a similar procedure.  as Charlie became very smart, his relationships with other people began to deteriorate.   he would question everything and well, as all very smart people are, he became very arrogant.  he started his own study about his condition and learned that there was a flaw, which meant that he would soon go back to his old mental state, and probably might be even worse than when he first started prior to the operation.

i sometimes believe that there is truth to the saying that "ignorance is bliss", or that "what you don't know won't hurt you," i do.  life is so simple when you don't know a lot of things. it takes away the paranoia.  back then we used to have this thing we talk about, "sobrang talino, nabobobo" and i agree.  when you're smart, you think about too many things, you miss out on the little stuff, you ignore the beautiful things around you because you're too busy rationalizing and thinking that everyone else is mediocre.  it comes with the territory, i know, but i guess, that is the difference that sets apart those with high IQ and those with high EQ. Charlie didn't have to worry about people so much before the surgery, even when they were mocking him.  he didn't think any badly about the people around him.  it was when he got smarter that he doubted everyone's capacity to care or be real to him.  there wasn't any real connection between him and the people around him.

i don't know why we put too much premium on people being smart.  i know i had to deal with that growing up.  i just had to be better than everyone else, i had to achieve this and that and it was so overwhelming for me growing up,  all the things i was supposed to learn.  while i am grateful that training has taught me so many things which are useful to me now, i can't help but feel sad because the other kids who didn't quite catch up with the rest of us always had to try harder than everybody else and still not get the type of support we had.  while it is good when ideas abound, sometimes too many ideas can lead to disagreement and instead of achieving something, nothing is done.

i felt bad that Charlie's condition deteriorated.  i felt bad that Algernon had the same fate.  there are things that should not be altered.  we can improve but not alter.