Christopher Matthew Cavanaugh, “Matt”, “Mattanaw”
Invitation to EPGSIG and Prompting of this Bio.
I wrote the biographical sketch below upon being invited into EPGSIG by Mr. Roddy Young, and being nudged once by Mr. Mark Siegmund to complete the task of filling my application. Without knowing the standard format, I’ve taken the liberty to skip chronology to simplify the effort. I am happy to make changes to more closely approximate those prepared by other members of the group, if that is desired or required.
Notes on some unusual early traits.
I’ve always been very talented physically, quickly grasping and repeating movements I’ve seen with little effort, and performing well in any sports I seriously attempted, probably being due to being able to visual activities completely in advance of performing them. As an adult, I learned how to juggle simply by first observing someone juggling. I believe I had this ability early in youth, enabling me to skip crawling and begin walking, at 7 months old, a favorite story my mother would tell me as I was growing up. On day I just “got it” and began walking, despite having been born with bowed legs, that awkwardly stepped over top each other. This deformity gradually worked itself out without intervention, and ever since I was very skilled athletically, and consistently performed at the top of my class, including having the most first place awards during field day in middle school.
I was also excellent with math as far back as I can remember. At 2 years and 9 months, while waiting for my brother to be born in the hospital, I recall insisting to an older boy that counting into the larger numbers, at one million and beyond, was impossible. I also was gifted in music, being able to recall in detail various pieces of classical music, being able to whistle along or at other times from memory. While still in elementary school, I took on study of the Oboe and wrote a composition in 64th and 128th notes, inspired by the concertos written by Vivaldi.
I always had exceptionally powerful visuospatial, pattern recognition, and verbal communication abilities, although in my early upbringing, I eventually left academic pursuits to focus more on my interests in the outdoors and athletics, and became gradually disillusioned and disinterested in school, until I started college.
Throughout my life I’ve had significant trouble finding people with similar affinities and communication abilities. In retrospect, friends and adults listened but did not seem to comprehend. Due to politeness, and respect for my peers, and family, I have failed to truly acknowledge the extent of my giftedness until later in my adulthood, although I was always aware, that nobody I ever spoke with brought me complete personal satisfaction. I failed to achieve “communion” with anyone I ever spoke with. All conversation, in retrospect, appears to have been mostly superficial, and for much of my childhood, I covered this over, by enjoying humor and jovial friendships, that did not have as much depth as I would have liked.
After a long period of time mostly focusing on myself and my studies (partly as a coping mechanism), my career, and my wife whom I met while still in high school, I began to desire heightened communication, which was lacking for so many years. In order to achieve that I joined Mensa. I was initially disappointed, finding the level of communication to be, at first, quite low, instead gravitating to higher ceiling groups—or groups including members of these groups—like HighIQWorld, which I found especially pleasant. In this group I found others who seemed more like-minded, who apparently were also in the higher ceilinged groups, including Prometheus, Mega, and others. Like myself, these friends were kind, polite, highly creative and critical in thinking, had an understanding of logic, and the interdisciplinary nature of almost all topics and problems of interest. They seemed to acknowledge my uniqueness in a way that was never completely validated until I met them; although in my career in software, I was already being called “brilliant”, a “genius”, and even a “legend”, from colleagues advanced in their fields. I value their comments highly, and to some extent I feel embarrassed even to mention that this is what they said, not feeling entirely deserving of such praise or appreciation. As I began to experience some similar feedback from friends in the intelligence societies, I was finally able to internalize my confirmation with finality, although I am still quite motivated to find others who will provide ever more satisfying connections. This is a reason why I am welcoming of an invitation to join Mensa’s EPGSIG.
Professionally, I am a former software architect working for large enterprises, such as Adobe Systems, where I was Chief Architect, and Partner Solution Consultant (A similar title to that of Edward Snowden), representing North America, excluding Latin America. I now own my own company, Social Architects and Economists INTL, and focus on guiding companies in their digital transformation projects internationally. I’ve worked in a variety of industries, including Federal Government, State and Local Governments, the Government of Canada, and the White House. I’ve worked in the media and entertainment industries, telecom, higher education, financial industry, and currently I’m contracted for work guiding two large Pharmaceutical companies, with great fortune, due to the current Coronavirus Pandemic.
Despite having been a “late bloomer” to an extent in my academic and career pursuits, I have already attained a level of advancement I’m not sure I can eclipse, except in doing business for myself. I can say I am mostly validated and maybe I can claim “self-actualization” even with respect to my career, since it has already gone quite beyond my expectations.
More information on my career and history can be found on my LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattanaw/
I have a B.S in Psychology, a B.S. in Computer and information Science, and I nearly completed a 3rd. B.S in Philosophy, all within the University of Maryland System. I and am now completing a master’s degree at Harvard University, for Business and Economics, primarily to expand upon my business and to validate some credential requirements, which I feel exist, for being taken seriously in publication. I have a book in progress about my experiences developing land here in Alaska, and my experiences in local politics in Anchorage.
While I’m quite experienced in technology, and have an eclectic education, I would consider my greatest area of sophistication to be in my moral understanding. I have been planning to complete a work of ethics that I started roughly two decades ago. I expect this will be my second book that I will be able to start upon completing my first book I’ve already been “green lit” for completing with my publisher.
Despite being fairly well educated, I have always considered myself an autodidact, having had at one point a library of approximately 1,600 volumes. I am an interdisciplinarian and have been, for a long time, resentful of any divisions in education, knowledge, and politics, (or nation), and find myself preferring “situation first” or “problem first” evaluation of almost any scenario of interest.
History with Psychometrics
I was first identified as gifted early in youth, around the second grade, using an unidentified proctored intelligence exam standardized for the State of Maryland. As a result of this test, I was qualified for Mensa, and placed permanently in the Gifted and Talented program for my school system (although I was verified again around seventh grade) and remained in that program for the duration of my primary and secondary school education. I was also given the opportunity to join various “magnet schools” in my state, and to become involved in Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. These programs are now recognized for some very influential alumni, such as Google’s co-founder Sergei Brin, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Lady Gaga. Inexplicably my parents did not wish to include me in these programs, although they did give reasons relating to the travel and financial commitments required, although in retrospect, these do not appear to have been the true reasons given other conversations. In their defense, they did provide me access to various athletic programs in the local boys and girls clubs https://www.bgca.org, but again, they did not permit me to join the select leagues when scouts showed interest, again citing the financial and travel requirements. I therefore had many opportunities provided that I was hindered from experiencing. However, I had quite a wonderful childhood with my siblings and my friends, growing up in the outer suburbs of the metropolitan D.C., in a beautiful setting. I can recall many experiences enjoying the outdoors and athletics in my immediate neighborhood, visiting many sites in the area, including the Smithsonian and other areas rich with art and history, so it is difficult to not acknowledge being very fortunate in a number of ways, and to recognize that everyone has missed opportunities.
I did not think much about Mensa again until I was over 30 years old, although at several moments in my adult life others have suggested that I join, recognizing my diverse talents. I didn’t think much of the suggestion until, however, I had two important experiences, around the same time. Firstly, my wife began reading the book Outliers and noted some similarities between myself and Christopher Langan. In this book, there was a matrix reasoning problem that was presented as being of great difficulty. My wife shared with me, and after a short time staring at the puzzle, without much difficulty, I identified the correct answer. There were 8 answers to choose from, but I was confident I answered correctly without any luck, being able to discern the reason for the answer. Knowing this was not an official test, I became quite curious again what I could score if I were to take a new proctored exam. I had a background in psychology, so I was aware of the tests available.
About this time, I also became extremely successful as a software architect, and became frustratingly aware of some insurmountable communication disparities between myself and my colleagues, who were also quite intelligent. I decided to retest. I verified my hunch with the WAIS-IV and the Stanford-Binet V. Interestingly, I achieved ceiling scores in a number of areas both visuospatial and verbal, but most notably, on pattern recognition, seemingly verifying my correct answer to the problem in Outliers, which supposedly a problem at the ceiling of an extended range test. Confessedly, I do not currently have a copy of Outliers handy, so cannot confirm, as I write this, exactly what that problem’s source was.
I think there is one additional consideration of special interest. I’ve commented elsewhere that being myself seems to create a kind of awe and terror, particularly in my interactions in person, in real life. I didn’t completely realize until I was running meetings with rooms full of intelligent people, giving presentations or doing interviews while simultaneously transcribing communications in my computer in a terminal window. Apparently, asking people questions indicating full understanding of nearly all they do, running a complex agenda, and typing over 100 words a minute without making corrections is frightening to others. This and similar occurrences are part of the reason why I have received the praise in my occupation that I have.
Unfortunately, while transitioning to this more open mode of thinking with friends, I have had some violently negative reactions, and instead have to reduce myself to a degree to be pleasant while in their company, both in person and while speaking to them in writing online. Again, this makes it important to have some to talk with others of a similar disposition.
In my free time, I’m busy with a wide variety of hobbies, projects, and interests, as might be expected. I’m interested in athletics, particularly weightlifting, running, hiking, and basketball. I’ve always been athletically talented and driven. I am also a solo pilot, working on my PPL for single engine tricyclic aircraft, and have 104 hours of flight. I’m a self-represented attorney for a case of historical interest here in Anchorage, regarding a prescriptive easement claim for a trail across my 80-acre parcel, to the large and beautiful Chugach State Park. I’ve been sporadically interested in land development, surveying, foraging, and cabin building, which I hope to perform by hand if I can sustain the motivation to do so.
I’ve been an avid traveler, with some 600,000 miles spent driving, doing numerous cross-country road trips, and around one million miles flying. I’ve been to South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and Australasia, and have been expectedly improved by these experiences. I speak some Korean and Spanish, and have some training in Latin. I’m interested in languages but primarily out of respect for communication with others as opportunities arise.
This bio does not do complete justice to my range of interests and projects, that punctuate my already busy schedule, but I think that is likely the same for most members of this group, and so I happily accept my invitation to join, to hopefully enrich the group, and benefit from additional friendship opportunities.
[More to be added soon]
I am a semi-retired social architect and consultant, with professional/academic experience in the fields of computer science, psychology, philosophy, and more recently, economics.
Articles on this site are eclectic, and draw from content prepared between 1980 and 2022. Topics include ethics, art, fitness, finances, health, psychology, and vegetarianism. The common theme connecting all articles is moral philosophy, even if that is not immediately apparent. Any of my articles that touch on "the good and virtuous life" will be published here. These articles interrelate with my upcoming theory of ethics, two decades in preparation.
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