Monday, January 22, 2007

Window Into the Mind

As we increase our knowledge of the genetic, neural and cognitive aspects of synaesthesia, we will find that we are beginning to understand the brain more completely. Researchers may wish that they possessed synaesthesia, but being able to explore a new and strange trait that may hold the answers to many fundamental questions is reward enough.

Yellow, Red, Blue
1925; Oil on canvas, 127x200cm; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Kandinsky, himself an accomplished musician, once said Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul. The concept that color and musical harmony are linked has a long history, intriguing scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. Kandinsky used color in a highly theoretical way associating tone with timbre (the sound's character), hue with pitch, and saturation with the volume of sound. He even claimed that when he saw color he heard music.

Over the past 35 years I have spent a considerable time doing my own research. Learning to express myself, has been very difficult to say the least.

It is while doing this research that things seem to "overlap" as I ventured forward and finding examples, as if "analogies in nature" has been the "metaphorical struggle" that I use in "word use and comparison."

Creating the Language

It has accumulated from that research and integration within myself. So it is like creating and learning a "new language," while most of the time I come across as not being understood. That has been "my struggle" to get people "to see" what I am seeing? I don't get "images" in my head, but the accumulation of everything has been transposed into the way I express myself here in this blog.

It is true without lying, certain and most true. That which is Below is like that which is Above and that which is Above is like that which is Below to do the miracles of the Only Thing. And as all things have been and arose from One by the mediation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation. Sir Isaac Newton

If I may by example give here "the idea of perfecting the self" in regards to Sir Isaac Newton. If he were to have been a alchemist, and persevered in his "psychological struggles," then what form would all his "struggles in self" have exemplified, if he "accomplished those parts of himself."

The "colour" of his being, and the alchemical relation to psychological changes? These alway existed and "as yet" had no name?

So from whence comes all "this energy of expression", to have been displayed as it has? In all the avenues of our "selves," that our experience has allowed that energy to manifest "this way" and "that way," and we have this "unique individual" before us, as you, or I, and "the many?" You "control the color or not" or, is it a "consequence" of this physiological process?

Smilack says her synesthesia helps her create art, such as this piece, "Squid Row." Photo by Marcia Smilack
Smilack belongs to the group of one to four percent of people worldwide with synesthesia, the neurological mixing of the senses. No two synesthetes have exactly the same perceptual experiences. Many perceive each number, letter of the alphabet, or day of the week as a different color. For others, sounds from the environment are always accompanied by moving geometric patterns in their "mind's eye."

Smilack has a rare form of synesthesia that involves all of her senses—the sound of one female voice looks like a thin, bending sheet of metal, and the sight of a certain fishing shack gives her a brief taste of Neapolitan ice cream—but her artistic leanings are shared by many other synesthetes. Scientists estimate that synesthesia is about seven times more common in poets, novelists, and artists than in the rest of the population. (Some of the most famous examples include artists David Hockney and Wassily Kandinsky and writer Vladimir Nabokov.)

Marcia Smilack:
When you take a photograph of a reflection, you must compose your image upside down -- an odd and difficult task. Eventually, it is simply easier to give in and rely on other parts of your mind to compose the image. So, in an oxymoronic way, seeing in reflection "forces" you to let go, to trust what you feel.

Second, these images opened a unique window into the mind of the researcher. Remember the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that states every object observed is changed by the experience? Well, I am the voice from the other side, the voice of the object that was watching them the whole time they were watching me. I have learned that we change each other through our interchanges. And while it is hard for me to quantify what I have learned from them, it is a great deal. Their questions and responses provide a framework onto which I can project what I intuitively know but do not usually speak.

She has many wonderful links that I had accumulated, and more. Also check out the extensive amount of links associated with the Synesthesia Resource Center on Patricia Lynne Duffy's book web page.

Calculus, or Feynman's Toy Models?

Some, who possess what researchers call "conceptual synesthesia," see abstract concepts, such as units of time or mathematical operations, as shapes projected either internally or in the space around them

So, is it out of necessity that we can "create the language" necessary to view the reality around us as it is, and how shall we do that? Sir Isaac Newton created "Calculus."

So with this "unique perspective of synesthesia," how shall you give to the world from what began in self, and we have this "multitude of choices" as to the "fabrications" we may use from our "artistic creative design?" No choice, synesthesia just is?

Sometimes I relate the experience of reading a book, to what is "consumed one day" was by design, our place in the scheme of understanding things. Where we have "this experience" that we can correlate. So "it" makes sense. If a person with synesthesia was to read my blog, how much more would they take from my writing, then one without?

It is no different then our understanding of the science of things. Life can seem "mythic in proportion,", until, we understood the deeper part of the "design of reality?"


Nature, so endlessly creative, has managed things so that each of us, hosts of synesthesia or not, perceives a slightly different world... a world colored by our one-of-a-kind pattern of neurons and experiences" -- Patricia Lynne Duffy

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