23 September 2011

At least I won't be unoriginal...



Remember this scene? It's (obviously) from Good Will Hunting, which (awkward psychiatry aside) is one of my favorite movies. This is one of my favorite parts. Here's why:

When I was growing up, I knew I was smart. That might make me sound arrogant (and, at times, I have in fact been arrogant... even though I fight it, it still pops up every once in a while), but it's true; if you know me, this has probably come across at some point. If you've taken a class with me, it's definitely come across - I apologize to all the folks I took Honors classes with for my occasional toolhood.

A partner of mine once said, "you feel like you and your sisters are superior to everyone else." In some ways, that's accurate. Being homeschooled, being in an enclosed environment with them for much of my childhood, they were the people who felt real to me, who I was attached to, and of whose intelligence I had constant evidence, whose motivations I - to some extent, at least - felt like I understood; and, obviously, if I couldn't understand someone's motivations, it was because I either didn't have enough information to create a good model, or because they were too dumb to act rationally.

Did I mention that I was a determinist for a long time? Free will has never made sense to me. Ask me about my operant conditioning experiments sometime...

Anyways: I was always (or, okay, after I started college, post-homeschool) the guy who gave other people his notes in an attempt to fit in - partly because I didn't feel that there was any other way I could do so, partly because I was confident that, even on an artificially leveled playing field, I would come out on top. Obviously handicapping myself relative to my peers was part of that.

Heroes of my childhood:
Spock
Data
Harrison Bergeron

This scene, though... this scene always made me smile. Granted, I wasn't allowed to see the whole film (there's sex! oh, dear God, no!), but here was a guy (Matt Damon, in case you couldn't guess) who was smart, who was handicapping himself, but who was, every once in a while, completely happy to use his brain as a weapon, completely happy cutting outsiders down to protect his family, and completely able to do so.

What I'm saying there, I guess, is that this scene captures a lot of what I've always wanted to be, what I felt I should be. For a number of reasons, when I was growing up, I never thought I would "get out" - I never figured I would be rich, or famous, or any of that stuff, I just thought that I'd wind up working some nothing job until my back and my knees gave out, if I even made it that far. Here was a guy doing that, working that nothing job, but living in a way that I could see myself living, living in a way that I could admire.

Did I mention that I hate the ending of this movie?

Off to work.

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