The UK’s Guardian has a fascinating story about Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant who is causing excitement in the scientific community because of his ability to describe his thinking process. Some of these descriptions are quite amazing:
Tammet is calculating 377 multiplied by 795. Actually, he isn’t “calculating”: there is nothing conscious about what he is doing. He arrives at the answer instantly. Since his epileptic fit, he has been able to see numbers as shapes, colours and textures. The number two, for instance, is a motion, and five is a clap of thunder. “When I multiply numbers together, I see two shapes. The image starts to change and evolve, and a third shape emerges. That’s the answer. It’s mental imagery. It’s like maths without having to think.”
Savant syndrome gives a window into some of the latent abilities of the human mind, and offer lines of research for reaching human potential. Interested readers might enjoy scanning the website of the Centre of the Mind, whose director – Allan Snyder – is mentioned in the above article. Snyder is working to unlock some of these amazing abilities, through the use of magnetic fields. A subject that I could read about for months. Thanks David, Kat and Tronicus.