I was born with a putative lesion of the amygdala resulting in a memory disorder that renders certain forms of memorization an impossibility for me. It is an incapacity limited to rote memory (memorizing through repetition). Fortunately, my neural structures compensated by granting me an exceptional ability at understanding concepts and their interrelated parts. While I cannot memorize, I learn conceptually exceedingly well and have near PhD level knowledge in five disciplines: Macroeconomics, Geopolitics, Oenology (wine), Contemporary Social Anthropology and Neuroscience. The term for a person with this level of knowledge in multiple subjects is polymath, the modern and more humble word for ‘genius.’
I cannot memorize lists or unrelated pieces of information (including my own phone number) but my mind replaces this with an insatiable yearning to understand the concepts underpinning our collective reality. For example, people’s names I rarely remember but I recall with excellent precision the details of extraordinarily technical subjects from neuroanatomy to European Central Bank policy. Another illustration is that I can recite current GDP growth rates of more than 15 countries and articulate the policy decisions between the respective governments as well as how they influence each other but I get lost literally every time I leave my house in NYC. SimilarIy, I cannot learn the rules of a drinking game but can explain details of countercurrent active transport by the loop of Henle in renal physiology and its similarity to a transport system in grape vines that enable them to grow in otherwise inhospitable climates such as Mesnil, home to the world’s finest champagne. It makes for amusing jokes but has always been privately very frustrating.
Alicia Moritz – Graphic Picture Designer
Alicia is responsible for the entire aesthetic of this blog including and perhaps most importantly the “internet collage” style illustrations. To give credit where it is most certainly due, it takes me relatively little time to write a story for this blog. In contrast, Alicia spends on average three to four hours creating each picture. She combines witty humor with creative talent that I hope my readers enjoy.