Thursday, May 09, 2002

As I'm wont to do, I got around to thinking a few days ago. I think I've seen the dividing line between brilliance and simple knowledge (perhaps what sets us apart from the lesser animals? Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself...). The difference is the ability to make a certain kind of mental connection. It first occurred to me last year in my chemistry class. We'd just re-learned the formula for compound interest in math, and we'd been learning chemistry formulas that day in class. Lo and behold, one of the formulas for decay (or something similar) was almost the exact same as compound interest. It occurred to me then that I may have just glimpsed part of the fundamental nature of the universe (not to be too dramatic about, of course). I won't say that I understood this thing, but I did recognize it. I realized that this is exactly what geniuses do, on a far larger scale. They can make these connections. It almost made me want to take more math and chemistry, just so I could develop this link better. I don't think I'm describing what I mean very well, so let me try an analogy.

At some point, someone noticed that a lot of languages had peculiar similarities. The words for a lot of things were eerily similar for the same thing. For instance, the word for "no" in most languages in India, Persia, and Europe begins with the letter N. The word for "mother" usually sounds like some variation of "mahter." This person got the bright idea that perhaps some of these languages might be more related than the Romanic/Germanic/Slavic/etc. designations usually used. From this, the theory that all Indo-European languages (except Basque) were derived from a common ancestor.

I still don't think I've really made my point, but it's late, and typing on a laptop keyboard is taking its toll on my patience. I'll try and develop this later (if you know what I mean, please post something more clear than what I've said).

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