Jan 23, 2013 0 Share

Pursuing Knowledge


Young man sitting on floor of library reading.
iStockphoto

I am certain that most people have a subject or hobby they are very passionate about or care deeply for. This may be something into which they place just as much (but hopefully not more) time or concern into as family and friends. I have one such passion in which I enjoy indulging whenever I have free time. Put briefly, it is the pursuit of pure knowledge, not any particular subject but just knowledge for knowledge’s sake. In a way, this pursuit has helped to prepare me for my life as a writer because it allows me to learn many different things which I then can consider writing about. It has also given me a desire to test my expertise in all these subjects to their outer limits.

As a very young boy, I was able to read earlier than most children, but I could not apply what I read toward anything constructive. Because of my autism, I would fuss and fidget. I had trouble concentrating. At school, there was a lot of noise during the day, the classroom contained many interesting things that I kept looking at instead of my work, and moving into different rooms due to both grade changes and extracurricular activities made me disoriented. There was too much going on, too many distractions which were more interesting to me than what was put in front of me. When I moved into a homeschooled environment better suited for my needs, I was better able to concentrate on my work and remember important details. I grew to like learning about these new details, and it soon turned into a passion to learn as many new things as I could.

Over time, I have built up both in my mind and home a large repository of information that is both useful and trivial. I learn about things from numerous sources including books, TV shows, websites, magazine articles, and paying close attention to conversations. I found that I could somehow recall this information when I was interacting with people, down to the most obscure details. I think being able to hone in on small details is a beneficial side effect of my autism. I was able to use this skill for tests and assignments during my academic career because I could draw upon my vast pool of facts to move quickly through lengthy sections of material. 

It also makes me the game show “champion” of my extended family as I routinely surprise family members with the correct answers to obscure questions. I greatly enjoy testing the limits of my expertise in such a manner because otherwise I think a lot of what I have learned would just sit around gathering dust, so to speak.

For the past few years, I have wondered what might happen if I tested my powers of recalling information on a game show. The games seem very easy to play when I am watching at home, but I do not know how nervous I might feel if I were to actually be chosen to play. Recently, I decided to get over my worries and took an online test for a major television game show. The test was very fun and it was interesting to discover what I knew and still had to learn. I do not know if I qualified to become a contestant, but I will write an update if I go further in the process.

Learning new things is one of my favorite things to do, and, fortunately, I learn something new every day. I also enjoy being able to apply my knowledge to both professional and leisurely endeavors. I have enjoyed numerous activities over the years, but while I may have discarded some of them in favor of new pursuits, learning is a passion I know I will never outgrow. As long as I am acquiring new knowledge every day, I am satisfied on a personal level. Sharing that new information with others gives me even more satisfaction.