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J.a.U.S.: Just another Underdog Story


At the end of 2003 I decided to start using the name Mixel Kiemen. In a way this is important as it is the start of a new era. For a while people who knew me under my birth name (like my family and old friends) felt uncomfortable with my decision. Still, I'm bloody serious about the name. On 12th of April my name got officially changed to Mixel (didn't get the Kiemen yet). The fact that I have given me my own name is a good starting point to understand 'how' and 'what' I am, namely my own creation. All the memories I have of school and teachers are very negative, from most of the schools I went to I learned how you shouldn't do it. My change in name is the end of a quite radical growing up face I had to endure, partly because of my social context.

My personal struggle through adolescence has taught me a thing or two about different social contexts. I have learned on an autodidact way that the environment works on our beliefs and engage our actions, when you are willing to really listen to it, it will show you all its secrets. I see it as the difference between what people "belief" is making "things work" and what is actually making it work. I'm a freethinker true and true. Although some times people seem to make narrow definition of freethought. It has to include emotions and formal logic has its restriction. Also, just neglecting the historical background would be naive. A lot op useful knowledge is implicit and intuitive, this still can mean they are based on facts. It should be clear that my world view and my attitude are similar to my research interests. It is all about understanding the behavior of novelty.

First memories

To understand how I got the ambition (considering my social background) to become a researcher, we need to go back to my first memories. Most of my first memories are clear ones, this is no surprise, it was a serious time: I was 2,5 years and my changes on surviving where small. The doctor who was investigating me for several months was a senile old bastard, he gave me the same antibiotics for more than 3 months. Now you should know the same antibiotics can not be taken more than 3 weeks. My parents figured out intuitively that something was wrong. I can remember clearly that particular day ...

We went to the doctor, driving back home my father got second doubts and turned back to talk to the doctor. The man didn't even know my name or my case any more. You must understand that we have been going to the doctor for a half year, going several time to the hospital and being in he's office every week and than he simply asks: "well what is wrong with your boy and what was he's name again?" My father was so angry on the man, everyone could hear him shout. I was in the waiting room playing with blocks and became so terrified of the shouting that I remember the scene clearly. I still remember several people leaving at that time, so I wasn't the only one who got scared.

We went to several hospitals to get another opinion. It turned out my lungs where so hard infected and swollen that my heart was unprotected by my skeleton. They told my parents that I wouldn't survive another month without surgery. Still a lung operation was delicate at that time with unlikely outcome. I can remember clearly the day of the operation, a lot of nurses and doctors (I guess) were bringing my bed to the operation room. They were so scared I could feel it. So as a boy that age does, I searched for confidence by calling for my parents (more exactly it was a repetition of the words: "mama, papa"). The scene is very clear in my mind, they told me my parent's weren't there and they show even more fear. It freaked me out and I start screaming so hard as I could. It seams that I turned out the needle of the baxter during my struggle; I still have a nice mark on my right arm to verify that fact. Anyhow my grandfather was in the hospital and he's presence calmed me down.

My parents were not allowed to visit me al to often and they tighten me to the bed to make sure I wasn't taking out any needles. I can remember my 3 birthday very clearly. I got a jumbo jet of Play-mobile. I wanted to grasp it but both my hands were tightened, so I cried. My parents insisted the nurse to release my hands. After a while they finally released one hand. As I touched the toy -- and saw how the little captain moved from left to right while I moved the airplane for and back -- I was so extremely happy. That is probably why I remember it so well. I've been in hospitals for almost a year and have more of these memories.

Play time

So I survived the operation. Still years after the operation I would be a very week boy, often sick. My parents where not so sure about my health, but our doctor once answered: "he may even become a doctor". That became our little joke, every time the doctor would come to visited I say "hello doctor Liven " an he would answer "hello doctor Michael". At this very moment I'm convinced that the little joke was one of the stimuli to become a researcher (so an another kind of doctor).

On the advice of the doctors I needed a lot of good air. So I went on a lot of holidays after my release in the hospital I went to my grandparents in Spain because of the nice climate. I went on a lot of holidays with my family and on summer camps. Every while I had a new environment and different playmates. I had friends everywhere but never stuck with them for a long time. I like the taste of new environments and stop meeting people if they got sucked in to a similar pattern. I became spoiled boy, extremely energetic, independent and stubborn.

Black days of education

I always have been relying on my self, I liked to be on the road, kook my own foot etc. It was no different in my education; I liked to question all kinds of stuff. Still (as I know now) the school I went to were very bad and didn't like my lifestyle. I couldn't learn anything without understand the reason and thereby got into a lot of conflicts with my teachers. As a kind of sadistic joke I tell people I have been more fighting with teachers than learning from them (sadistic, because it was true). I never accepted supremacy, after all teachers are humans too, still they didn't had the same philosophy. My parents never questioned my activities when I was very young, they were glad I still was around. When I became older they weren't so pleased with my school results, but they weren't capable of doing anything about it. They always told me it is my own responsibility, this did make my personality even stronger.

I was always relying on my reasoning to find questions on answers. For a long time the answers requested a changing in attitude and I changed myself gladly. Later on it became a necessity: I need to change to stay alive. I grow out my friends who didn't change so radical. I've changed my attitude, changed my looks and last I have changed my name. I belief one can find wisdom in reflection and you don't need a lot of experience to become wise. Its more about how you make use of the experience you got. Like the fact about living and dying: I was 12 and questioning beliefs, till that time I was learned to belief in afterlife. While reflecting this issue, it didn't make much sense to me so I concluded dead would be absolute. On a certain night, I guess I was 14, I had a clear feeling of what 'absolute dead' could mean, it was one of my scariest experiences. I cryed a whole nightlong and after it I can't remember crying out of fear. All my grand parents died in a short time afterward, but I could drop one tear (making my family very angry). On my 17 I figured out that 'being' is very relative, as I had all this different experience, by changed so often and much. I concluded that it makes no sense to see myself and my memory as one entity. Three year later I made the same thought forward in time, coming to the conclusion that 'I' will never die or better "I die all the time". As 'I' won't be existing in a few years, just like 'I' didn't exist a few years ago. I'm just a flux in time. A lot of this assumptions and conclusion are made on a reflective base. Some are naive, but most scared my friends so hard they concluded they needed to destroy me for my own good (nice friends I had). As I'm a rebel most of the time I would counter react to any one who force me to do something. I've been beating a lot for this attitude and got into lot of troubles, but I need to stay loyal to my beliefs, as they are the only certainties I have. The last act of rebelling was against my own rebellious behavior, at that time, I was having a real hard time at university.

Most of the stuff I have learned is by self-education. My parent and (most of the) teachers where unable to learn me anything. This is why exact science was my favorite, it is quit easily to check it. For languages on the other you need culture and I had non. It is also the reason why I was so found of coding. I had little experience in programming before I went to the university, actually it was never a big interest of me. First I had tried physics on another university, but was to busy with all kinds of student organizing events (mostly in relation to philosophical an political issues of freethought). So it didn't work out and I got a job as an electrician ... not for long ... I noticed that the job made me brain dead. Around that moment a friend of me showed me some coding in scheme and I was surprised of the reasoning and clarity behind coding in scheme. Some how I understood that the way I think had similarities with "general processing". The first year at college was incredible, I would lock myself on my room to code for 15 hours a day; I became addicted to coding. Still it is kind of sad that we have so little attention to coding in computer science. Most students where afraid of mathematics, while they should be afraid of programming. The whole university body became a disillusion to me, it wasn't interested in my capacities either. In my last year I got myself an advisor for my Master thesis who had left the university to try really exiting and creative aspects outside university.

Round up

My live has changed radical, I do experience recognition for my capacities now and live is simply great. The change happened when I stood up for my skills. It was only in the last years of university I understood how clever I really am. As part of the struggle I had with assistants was that they simply couldn't follow where I was going. Now I know that my reasoning and my intuition was stronger. A lot of argues I had with teacher turned out so dramatically because I was right and they were not. The conflicts can be explained by my attitude. Try to imagine that you as a teacher have a spoiled boy in your classroom that shows little interest in what you say and that this "wise nose" is telling you that you made a mistake. Still for a long time they made me believe I was stupid. Luckily that period is over, I'm work on my diplomatic skills and linguistic skills. So this is my background story. More recent information on my activities after education can be found in the Research Background Where I update year by year the progress.