No David Copperfield

Great song inspires; sometimes it inspires emotion, other times thought, and occosionally actions. In this case, my last post Baba Yetu prompted me to think about life. More specifically - certain parts of my life. I can't be sure this article would make sense to you, since I might have taken certain informations for granted and didn't elaborate. But after all, it is only my life, no need to take it too seriously ^_^

The lines from Victor Hugo came to mind.

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life,
or whether that station will
be held by anybody else,
these pages must show.
~Victor Hugo

Alas, I am no Victor Hugo and this is no David Copperfield. Just random rambling from a mind with 2 hours of sleep. So you will have to settle for the plain openings below.

There is one thing I have learned when I was 12, first moving to the US, and not knowing a word of English - the appreciation of music is universal. Even if another person knows nothing of the language you speak, a song can be just as powerful. The emotion it evokes is not tied to understanding but rather inspiration, commodity, and beauty. Art is equally universal. A smile says the same thing anywhere. Then there is pain and loneliness which are also cosmic attributes, even if we deal with those differently on individual basis.

So what happens when you isolate a boy from speech and writing for two years? Well, the boy ran.

Physical exertion is the only valid option left after writing, talking, and reading are gone. Cross Country, Volleyball, Track & Field, and Basketball are what I did for Junior High school. The change of season for sports doesn't matter, what matter was the sport itself, the undemanding companion. It is an activity people can understand from me without words. The need to express myself physically lessened as my English gets better. In high school I did Football, Gymnastic, and Wrestling. I thought it interesting most people just assume I was an active boy, that I enjoy sport. Maybe I did.

My gymnastic coach didn't understand why I stopped gymnastic after my Sophomore year of high school, as an All Around fielding all the events. My Football coach didn't understand why I stopped football on my senior year, practically guaranteed a spot on the field because of seniority. Nor my wrestling coach understood why I only finished wrestling half-heartedly, while as an MVP just 2 years ago. It would have been difficult to explain even if I do believe they would understand. Sometimes it is best just to nod and smile.

The habit is now life-long. The restless energy is embedded in me. I still go out for a jog now and then when feeling down.

There is a sense of peace jogging at night.
You have the sky and stars and footsteps to keep you company.
After awhile, even when you think you can't keep up the pace,
you don't want to let your foot steps down because it has been so faithful and consistent.
So you look up in the sky and kept telling yourself,
I will just run till the next star.
~Once Upon a Dreamer

There are other consequences when you isolate a boy for two years. For example, he learns to keep himself company with his own strange thoughts. The society didn't have their good chance to integrate and soften my unique ideas. My thought was left alone to mature or mutate without much outside influence of collective consciousness.

I never went through the initiation of collectively finding burping funny, or spitting on the ground for amusement, or pulling a girl's ponytail. That part of everyday collective boyhood experience was closed to me. No one ever told me smoking was cool so I never smoked. No one ever profess the longing of drinking to me before 18 so I never enjoyed drinking. There are many many normal peer pressure I simply did not experience.

I was the Beagle Islands of Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin first discovered evolution aboard HMS Beagle visiting South Africa Islands. The isolation of these islands enable the same species to evolve into something different - something of distinct character. That is who I am. Separated by common ideology and certain peer pressure feedback, my ideas matured or discarded on my own merit. No one ever told me, "You think funny, lets not talk about philosophy, let us talk about pokemon".

There are some side affects, like my fascination with sarcasm. I have a theory that sarcasm can't be developed by one person, it takes interaction for the biting remark to make sense. Since I know everything I am thinking, sarcasm by myself would be odd to say the least. Voicing biting remark to myself seems like a strange waste of neurons and so I never acquired that way of speaking everyone else in the world came by so easily. It is a style of speech forever lost to me. As a result, I find it interesting.

Then there is the hunger for words once I rediscovered reading. I was an avid reading before moving to the US. JinYong (金庸) and the Chinese Encyclopedia were tackled completely before the age of 8. The result is that for a few years I simply swallowed books whole. I read everything I could reach. I was a human scanner.

Orson Scott Card was found and digested in a month. Robert Jordan was introduced by Kenny and completed in alarmingly short time. Frank Herbert's Dune was given by my ESL (English Second Language) teacher as a parting gift with the words, "if you can read and appreciate this book, I would consider your English up to par". 2 years later I finished the whole Dune series. LE Modesitt, Arthur C Clark, Charles Sheffield, John Grisham, Steven Gould, Robert Heinlein, Terry Goodkind, Lois Lowry, Joe Haldeman, Jean Auel, Carl Sagan, David Aubum, William R. Forstchen, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Nancy Kress, and Hermann Hesse - I don't think I could have stopped myself from reading even if I had tried.

I also became somewhat of a paradox, both an extravert and an introvert. Before as a boy I was definitely an extravert. After re-learning language I was something of an introvert. I am somewhat sensitive to non-verbal communication. Like a blind man who gained sight are more sensitive to light. For good or for worse, I also tend to share people's pain easily, having experienced isolation at an early age. There is a need to sooth the pain around me, which can be a real curse for the pain of the world never ends and I am only a man, with limited power. The powerlessness sometimes galls me but I learn to live with it.

Myers-Briggs Personality test rated me as an INFJ, Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging. "Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists -- INFJs gravitate toward such a role -- are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power...INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately."

INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.

INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers." As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood -- particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type.

Due in part to the unique perspective produced by this alternation between detachment and involvement in the lives of the people around them, INFJs may well have the clearest insights of all the types into the motivations of others, for good and for evil. The most important contributing factor to this uncanny gift, however, are the empathic abilities often found in Fs, which seem to be especially heightened in the INFJ type (possibly by the dominance of the introverted N function).

This empathy can serve as a classic example of the two-edged nature of certain INFJ talents, as it can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations. More explicit inner conflicts are also not uncommon in INFJs; it is possible to speculate that the causes for some of these may lie in the specific combinations of preferences which define this complex type. For instance, there can sometimes be a "tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings.

Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the "inspirational" professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. Psychology and counseling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths. Perhaps the best example of this occurs in the technical fields. Many INFJs perceive themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with the mystique and formality of "hard logic", and in academic terms this may cause a tendency to gravitate towards the liberal arts rather than the sciences. However, the significant minority of INFJs who do pursue studies and careers in the latter areas tend to be as successful as their T counterparts, as it is *iNtuition* -- the dominant function for the INFJ type -- which governs the ability to understand abstract theory and implement it creatively.

In their own way, INFJs are just as much "systems builders" as are INTJs; the difference lies in that most INFJ "systems" are founded on human beings and human values, rather than information and technology. Their systems may for these reasons be conceptually "blurrier" than analogous NT ones, harder to measure in strict numerical terms, and easier to take for granted -- yet it is these same underlying reasons which make the resulting contributions to society so vital and profound.

In a nutshell, grouped as one of 16 personality type by the scientist, that is who I am. Then again, can a person be defined by words and into 1 of 16 groups? Perhaps that is what I am, just a statistic out of billions, but somehow I can't help and think I should be something more.

Alice came to a fork in the road.
"Which road do I take?" she asked.
"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."
~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


At 10/19/2008 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your essay when I'm searching some material for TOEFL. Your article appealled me.

At 10/19/2008 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poem is beautiful.

There is a sense of peace jogging at night,
You have the sky and stars and footsteps to keep you company
After a while, even when you think you can't keep up the pace
You don't want to let your foot steps down because it has been so
faithful and consistent
so you look up in the sky and kept telling yourself
I will just run till the next star

I just wrote them down and I'm sure it has been in my heart


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