This I Believe

Seth - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

The Power of Mind

Since my earliest years, I have envied those great genii of the past. My first encounter with genius, I suppose, was my first time hearing the work of Pyotr Illych Tchaikowsky. Even in my earliest memories, I cannot recall a time in which I did not enjoy the strains of the 1812 Overture, even when sung to me by my parents on the long car rides to visit my grandparents before the days of in-car CD players. I suppose the irony of this situation is that, at the time, I did not recognize the music as genius. Then I was captivated by the suspense of the piece, starting low then building before falling back to a soft and mysterious dance, only to rise again until its triumphant climax, complete with church bells and cannon fire. A bit later, I was enchanted by the strains of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor. This I initially appreciated for its animation in the Disney film Fantasia, which I can remember watching with every visit to my grandparents’ house. In exactly the same way, I experienced Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Genius surrounded me, yet I had no idea.

Shortly after all of these adventures in sound, I was introduced to the world of scientific genius, as any young man might be, through dinosaurs. These mighty creatures of the past fascinated me with their bizarre shapes and enormous sizes. Thus, I embarked into a new realm of genius. Beyond paleontology I began to explore biology, chemistry, and even physics. Although I was not yet in elementary school and my studies were extraordinarily limited as I was so young, my passion for science grew. As my knowledge base expanded so did my experience with genius. To me, the most notable scientific genius was, of course, Albert Einstein, that enigma of a man, nearly mad, who achieved such greatness.

As time further progressed, I entered grade school and was exposed to mathematics and historical events, and further down the line of time still, philosophy. I eventually came to know of the genii of these areas–Newton, Jefferson, and Socrates–while still learning more from the ever-growing number of genii of music and science–Mozart, Handel, Copernicus, Galileo, and the list could certainly continue.

All of this immersion in genius had left me, by the age of roughly eleven, a relatively free thinker. I had, by that time, begun to explore music personally and had had the opportunity to study the genii of the past into more depth with the onset of middle school. It was at this point that I realized a belief which I would hold until today. I began to realize that what I wanted more than anything else was to achieve the genius which surrounded me and that I, potentially, could do so. Therefore, for the first time, I began to believe in the power of the individual mind, my mind. I realized that all minds have the power achieve such genius as I so envied, thus, I believe in the power of mind.