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Life Arts    H4'ed 11/7/20

My Dyslexia and Scholarly Vision

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In the 1990s, I felt invisible and destined to take academia by the storm while developing the world's best theology and science. I developed many great ideas and sent out many proposals for books and articles, but I never successfully published any article or book until the 2010s.

I overestimated my strengths and underestimated my weaknesses. I knew I suffered from mild dyslexia after I benefited from early childhood intervention that enabled me to learn how to read. However, I did not fully understand that I possess a rare combination of superior matrix reasoning and a learning disability that causes low-average brain-processing speed, as indicated by recent testing.

1) My childhood and adolescence

Around the age of six in the late 1960s, I remember a kind adult woman who lived two houses down the street. She spent special time with me and even helped me to learn how to ride a bicycle without training wheels. Several years later, I felt surprised when my mom told me that our kind neighbor also worked as my dyslexia therapist. For example, I did not understand that I struggled with a learning disability and that she taught me how to develop communication skills.

During primary- and secondary-school years at the Millburn Township Public Schools in New Jersey, I typically earned grades of Cs, some Bs, and some As in math. I recall the dread of revising papers during secondary school because I always ended up with new typos when I rewrote or retyped a paper. At the time, I did not know I struggled with mild dyslexia while revising papers. I also did not yet imagine the eventual commonplace of personal computers and word processing.

2) Dropping out of college and then earning a Bachelor of Science

I remember feeling insulted when I started at the Community College of Morris in the fall of 1981 because the college-placement tests put me in both remedial English and remedial math. I understood my slowness in reading and writing, but I entered college as a math major while I scored a respectable 600 on my college-board math SAT. My pride and impatience overwhelmed me. I pushed the college hard enough and started the fall semester taking precalculus instead of the prescribed remedial math. However, I suffered with complex factoring despite excelling in other areas of math. Instead of slowly building up my skills in remedial math, I earned a D in precalculus. Then, I lost patience in calculus 1. For example, I sometimes correctly answered a question while doing all the work in my head but earned few to zero points for a correct answer because I did not show my work. Also, I sometimes showed my work and made a silly error in addition or subtraction that gave me an incorrect answer, but I ended up with more points for some incorrect answers showing my work compared to a correct answer without showing my work.

Now, I look back and see that I overstressed without a clear perspective while I struggled with a learning disability. I could not emotionally handle the dilemma of my problems with calculus, and I loved the entertainment industry far more than mathematics. I dropped out of my calculus class and switched my major to communications.

I ended up crashing and burning because excessive marijuana smoking and alcohol binges caught up with me. One summer, Carrier Clinic admitted me for inpatient hospital care and treated me for substance abuse and psychotic delusions with hallucinations. After the hospitalization, I tried attending college for the 1983 fall semester but dropped out because I could not concentrate. In September 1984, I once more psychologically snapped and went to another inpatient psychiatric hospital for substance abuse and psychotic delusions with hallucinations.

Fortunately, I turned around and started healthy living after a wonderful spiritual conversion. In the fall of 1985, I went back to college. This time I went for a pastoral- and biblical-studies degree at a college now called the University of Valley Forge. I enjoyed long hours of study and prayer while integrating various concepts of theology and ministry. I still struggled with slow reading comprehension, but I recall numerous compliments about my spirituality and intellect while I discussed the Bible and theology. I graduated with a 3.0 GPA, above average but not great. Nonetheless, I felt destined to solve many theological problems in the church.

3) Life after graduating college

After I graduated, I married my wonderful wife Laurie, and we moved to State College, Pennsylvania. I started to take one course per semester at Penn State University. I began with two undergraduate courses in writing and eventually developed proficiency in word processing. Over the next two years, I enjoyed taking 10 credits of creative nonfiction writing courses at the Penn State Graduate School while pulling a grade point average of 3.7. However, four things frustrated me, that is, (1) many book-proposal rejections; (2) persistent confusion with some of the finer points of grammar and the differences among various style guides, for example, AP, APA, MLA, and Chicago; (3) the slowness of my research and writing processes; and (4) my desire to become an expert of my subjects instead of a reporter.

I also enjoyed exploring the subjects of physics, evolution, and the Old Testament with various Penn State researchers. I recall enjoying compliments for my talent and bravado, but I nonetheless struggled with low-average short-term memory. In addition, the remnants of dyslexia during major conflict could result in me struggling with short-term memory loss, stuttering, speech blocks, and vertigo.

Furthermore, I eventually developed sleep apnea that lowered my sleep effectiveness to 33 percent. That is, I needed to sleep 24 hours for me to enjoy the benefits of sleeping 8 hours.

Surgical removal of my tonsils and adenoids along with nasal reformation restored my sleep effectiveness, but I nonetheless failed to advance my career and struggled financially while enjoying my amazing family life with my wife and our four children.

After major financial failure of sinking $1,000 to $2,000 a month in debt while working two part-time jobs and bivocational Christian ministry in a university setting that I loved, I moved my family in July 2003 to take a steady job in the cable industry.

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James Goetz is a philosopher, theologian, and member of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars. His published conjectures include the universal wormhole, semiclassical theism, semiclassical Christianity, Relative-Social Trinitarianism, (more...)
 

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