> No one in my family is anywhere near as intelligent or creative as I
> am. I am pretty sure that I was not switched at the hospital, so unless I am
> a throwback to some forgotten genius in the mists of my family's ancient
> history, I figure that I did not INHERIT my intellect. Likewise, the
> environment that I grew up in was very far from encouraging.
You are not a clone of you mother or father. And the reason why you are different, is because you have different genes.
> As a very small child, my earliest perception about myself and others
> was of a fundamental difference. It was "intelligence" (even if I did not
> yet know the word, I had the feeling of it). I consciously took on the
> purpose and ambition of enhancing this difference. As a child, this meant
> study, greedily taking in whatever knowledge that I could get.
Yes, you did develop your own intelligence. You deeply enjoyed doing the kind of thing that helped you to develop your intelligence. And this inborn drive lead you to see out an environment that was more to your liking.