Neuroscience- Looking into my head




Synesthesia is a surreal blending of sensation, perception and emotion.
Because we live in God’s magical cauldron, we are all different in beautiful, special ways. In my new favourite neuroscientist’s (V. S. Ramachandran’s) words:

Some of us are synesthetes, experiencing the world in extraordinary ways, seeming to inhabit a strange no-man’s-land between reality and fantasy. They taste colour, see sounds, hear shapes or touch emotions in myriad combinations.
About a third of all poets, novelists and artists (creative people in general) have had synesthetic experiences. This is about one in six creative people. Just as synesthesia involves making arbitrary links between seemingly unrelated perceptual entities such as colour and numbers, Metaphor involves making nonarbitrary links between seemingly unrelated conceptual realms. Coincidence?
If you know me, you probably know that I am going crazy over how amazing this is! This is not a neural pathology, however, I’ve gone into a self ‘diagnosis’ mode and decided that I may be a synesthete. Why not? I wonder whether Isaac Newton’s wavelength theory of colour was inspired by his sound-colour synesthesia!! Yes…that league of talented, brainy people who change the world!
Three out of the five members of my family are poets. I found out that my brother is a grapheme-colour synesthete. He see’s numbers with inherent hues. 1 and 4 are white, 3 is grey, 6 is blue, 7 is brown and 10 is red. He also sees musical beats in three dimensional space. That is synesthesia! Small wonder, he is a really good poet.
We both see colours when we close our eyes. I’m not so sure about how special that is. I’ve always thought everyone should see these colours when they focus away from the blackness. The colours I see morph into shapes I know. Let’s put it this way: I see things and I like to think they are glimpses into alternate universes. Magical!
I am a number-line (number-space) synesthete. Too bad I’m not a mathematician (I hate math). I’d have made a genius. I see dates, (days, months and years) time and numbers sequentially, each with it’s very own position in space. It helps me keep track of the past and future, count money and do basic math (when I’m not counting using my fingers). I literally see the future as being in front of me and the past, behind me. I was awake at 3 am. this morning. Recalling that now, I see that moment behind me, on a level just above my head. 3 am. tomorrow is in front of me, above my head. 7 pm. tonight’s in front of me but on a level below 3 am. of any given day.
The year 2001 is behind me just above the year 2000, both closer to my feet than the 90s, say, my year of birth which is behind me, but above my head.

Now, the simplest way to spatially map out numerical sequences would be from left to right (East to West). The way I map mine out seems to be in a North to South ‘hills and valleys’ sort of shape. Oh, I’d love to be a neurologist’s test subject.
I would like to hear from anyone who thinks they are synesthetes. It would be amazing!!

Literature

I have been reading Jonathan Haidt’s book for far too long…I’m quite ashamed of myself. I really want to go ahead and justify myself by saying that I had a busy Christmas break (that’s when I get most of my reading done) and did not get time to finish it. I really do…in fact, I just did!! I was super busy and so I carried the book over to this year with great intentions of finishing it before mid February…which happens to be this coming week. 
I am enjoying this book. It attempts, rather successfully, to explain the psychology behind happiness. It is an interesting read that provokes one to reevaluate what has been known (ancient wisdom) while considering modern psychological findings. It is written quite simply and clearly, one need not worry about psychological jargon. If you happen to come across it, pick up a copy!
 

Neuroscience is my next venture. I long to begin reading Ramachandran’s The Tell-Tale Brain. This author made waves in the neuroscientific world some time last year and so when I saw my Uncle with his book, I made sure that I’d get it. So it sits here, calling me to start reading it. Next week, I should answer that call…and so should you!!

How to wait


Have you ever not looked forward to something for such a long time, allowed it to grow into an evil, undefeatable monster in your mind that when that moment comes you might just pass out and die? I haven’t.
OK. I have. Like three thousand times already. So when my ‘that moment’ came this week, I was so surprised at how non-panicky and numb I was feeling. But then again, have you ever began doing something that you’ve feared for quite a while, and as you went along your red carpet of hope began to unfurl out of nowhere, for you to walk on?
Outside my window, today
I write this with such overwhelming hope for a positive outcome that I might just burst into incredulous laughter! And it feels like the cross of tribulation I’ve been carrying has began to get lighter (or might I simply be getting accustomed to its weight?) and lighter.
As my moment passes (it ends on the 28th) I realise that I must learn to wait.

“When waiting on the Lord, it’s imperative that we wait correctly…not in fear, impatiently, in arrogance or most of all hopelessly. Waiting requires joy accompanied by the belief that your need or request will be provided by God. If it is good for you and will bless you and others, your request will happen” These are the highly paraphrased words of Iyanla Vanzant in her book Until Today.

 

       Three Questions
Do you ever find yourself
Swimming away
So fast
But the current carries you
Closer and closer
To the edge of the falls?
Have you ever built a wall
Around you
Towering so high
But it is made of sand
And comes down
Before you are even done?
Do you ever close your eyes
Shielding them
From bright reality
But the darkness reveals
An even clearer image
As seen by your heart?