He was a child prodigy, a mathematical genius and one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived. A frail reed, he died slowly, painfully, at 39. Today, when everyone walks around with a cellphone, he is chiefly remembered for this: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” That is, in a self-selected state of drastic under-stimulation.
It doesn’t happen often—and most certainly not with me—but some of us are born fully formed, bursting with self-expression and absolutely ready to go. First, though, there’s infancy, the smallish necessity of being somebody’s kid.