Losing the ability to synthesize. 

When humans first evolved into their present form, they found themselves in a vicious, nasty world, where eternal vigilence ment the difference between a short life and a long one. Every sense was a cannel of precious information that could save those early human lives. By comparison with this savage world of the past, the modern world, and especially the western world of the child, is very safe. Because of this safety children gradually learn that they do not need to be very vigilent, and they they do not really nead to finely discriminate between various minute changes in their environment. Thus they do not need to pay close attention to their sensory intake unless there is a large obvious change. It follows then, that because children no longer need fine discrimination to survive, most of them tend to gradually lose these incredable abilities in all their senses.



"True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information." Winston Churchill

"The person who can combine frames of reference and draw connections between ostensibly unrelated points of view is likely to be the one who makes the creative breakthrough." Denise Shekerjian

Deep understanding. 

Deep knowing and understanding is only possible through a simultaneous synthesis of various different modes of experience and insight.

 Thinking, as the Root-Bernsteins put it, "...involves or should involve a synergistic interaction between all our all our sensations and abstract knowledge." Only some of us do this really well and they are the geniuses of the world. For this synthesis of knowing and understanding the Root-Bernsteins created an new word 'synosia'. They say, "Synosia is the natural and necessary result of imaging, analogizing, modeling, playing and transforming".

There is a psychological or medical condition known as synesthesia, where sensation experienced in one sensory mode are overlaid by experience in another sensory mode. This experience, it is believed, occurs in about half of all young children and about 5-15 percent of the world's adults. While it can have very curious disadvantages for average adults, it could be and is, entirely beneficial for would be geniuses in increasing their synthesizing ability. While few geniuses are simultaneously able to use the other tools presented above, consider how much superior they might have been if they could have.

synesthesia Synesthesia. 

There is a psychological or medical condition known as synesthesia, where sensation experienced in one sensory mode are overlaid by experience in another sensory mode. This experience, it is believed, occurs in about half of all young children and about 5-15 percent of the world's adults. While it can have very curious disadvantages for average adults, it could be and is, entirely beneficial for would be geniuses in increasing their synthesizing ability. While few geniuses are simultaneously able to use the other tools presented above, consider how much superior they might have been if they could have.

The orchestral piece was originally written for orchestra, piano, pipe organ, choir and light organ literally an organ that creates light. You may ask what a light organ is, and you would be perfectly right if you guessed that there is no such thing. So why did Scriabin compose a piece of music for a fictive instrument? The answer lies in the concept of “synesthesia”: the perceptual crossover between senses. Scriabin probably did not believe that one could ever play what he had composed for the light organ - he simply did not know of any other way to describe his conception of the music when the “Prometheus” was played. Although it is still debated whether Scriabin was a "true" synesthete, the Prometheus is often regarded as one of many examples of the phenomenon.

Many others have claimed to be so-called synesthetes, among them Wassily Kandinsky, Vladimir Nabokov, Richard Feynman and Nikola Tesla. Nabokov, for example, had a quite specific form of “coloured hearing”, where the sounds of each of the letters of the alphabet evoked specific hues. As a child, he also sometimes complained that the numbers and letters on his block were “wrong”. His mother - also a synesthete - understood and sympathized.

The cross-modality of perception. Synesthesia stems from the Greek syn-aisthesis ("together-perception"), and is used for terming the phenomenon where a person has involuntary physical experience of a cross-modal experience. This means that stimulating a given sense produces an experience in another sense modality. The most common example is the “coloured hearing” cases, where a person experience colours when listening to a particular sound. The synesthesias are often quite specific and stable, so that separate instruments might evoke different visual sensations, e.g. their hues and forms.

How many people experience synestesia? Initially, this is rather difficult to answer, since it depends on how one choose to define the phenomenon. On the one hand, one could use a broad definition, including weaker associations like coupling the vocal “a” to seeing a red colour. Using what might initially seem a conservative definition, estimates are still quite high, ranging among children from 40-50%, to 10-20% among adults. On the other hand, others claim that the phenomenon is much more rare, at a rate at only 1 in 25.000 people. Unprecedented work has been done by Sean Day, who catalogued 19 different kinds of synesthesia based upon 175 case histories.

lsd Theories on synesthesia. 

In general, there are two major lines of thought pertaining to Synesthesia. First, there is the theory of synesthetic metaphors, which claims that Synesthesia is the result of a person’s vivid imagination. In this view, people that claim to experience synesthesia take metaphors, like “I see what you are getting at” and “that color is very loud”, too literally. In the same line of thought, the theory of linguistic synesthesia claims that synesthesia is generated through semantic processes and fashioned by time and cultural elements. One central thesis stemming from this view is the expectation of cultural differences. That is, if synesthesia is molded from linguistic acts and cultural influences, any cultures should possibly reveal differences in the kinds of synesthesias that are expressed among individuals. Although scientific investigation in this matter has been rather sparse, it now seems that there are few cultural variations in synesthesia.


The other type of theory on synesthesia is often described as “more scientific”, and follows theories from physics and neurological disorders, as well as the study of effects of psychoactive drugs. One of the foremost contemporary writers on synesthesia, Richard E. Cytowic, has proposed a theory of its neural basis. Important to his work is his definition of the phenomenon, which is comprised of several pieces, for example that synesthesia is: neither voluntary or controllable by the subject, or constant - it is usually triggered by some stimulus “projected” - perceived to take place in the area immediately surrounding the subject “durable and generic” - associations between the senses will be constant over time and will also be relatively abstract.

One of Cytowic’s surprising claims is that synesthesia is not a result of cortical activity. This is in direct opposition to theories of the brain basis for normal conscious sensation. In general, most such theories assume not only a cortical substrate per se, such as the primary sensory modalities, but also argue for the necessary role of extensive processing in the frontal areas of the cortex. Contrary to this, Cytowic cites several pieces of evidence that synesthesia is accompanied by increased limbic activity - that is, activity in structures “below” the cortex, often seen as more primitive structures. At the same time, cortical activity is decreased.

The main reason for Cytowic’s claim is based on an opposition to what he identifies as the Western notion of a dichotomy between reason and emotion, and the resulting models where cortex is placed as being of higher order than the more “primitive” and “lower” areas, such as the limbic system. By citing Ommaya, a critic of current brain modeling, Cytowic claims that the corticocentric view of the brain ignores the fact that "we are irrational creatures by design, and that emotion, not reason, may play the decisive role both in how we think and act". The relationship between cortex and the limbic structures are not one of hierarchy and dominance, but rather of complex reciprocal communication and interdependence. Thus, if we are to accept Cytowic's theory of synesthesia, we also are forced to accept his notion of brain design and functioning.

Specializing of sensory brain paths. 

Burt and Smith-Laittan from Cambridge University  have presented a theory as to why Synesthesia exists. Burt and Smith-Laittan suggest that, due to the switching on or off of certain genes, synesthesia may arise from an abnormal failure in the differentiation between various sensory pathways such as the visual and auditory signals. During normal development, each brain area that pertains to a certain sense in adults is specialized and hence differentiated from other senses. It is possible then, that our infant brains start out with the sensory pathways being undifferentiated and they gradually become more differentiated as we get older. This obviously is not the case with synesthetes. For synesthetes the brain circuitries for, say, the visual and the auditory pathways are still significantly more "intermingled", which in turn functions as the basis for the abnormal sensory integration. If this view is correct a consequence could be that infants are all alike in all experiencing Synesthesia.

Burt and Smith-Laittan's theory supposes that the senses though set from birth into certain cortical (and thalamic) areas, those areas are nevertheless plastic. They note that in infancy, the brain consists of a multiplicity and abundance of neurons and connections. During development of an individual, however, they conjecture that neurons may specialize, creating modules, nodes and other functional units. It would then follow that neurons that cannot adapt and make significant specialized connections, would die. Thus, over time it would seem that conscious perception within a given sense would become more and more isolated from other senses, and that the integration of senses would become a more effortful and time consuming process. For the synesthetes, however, it would seem their brains would become less specialized and "sensory isolated". This theory would account for the greater numbers of synesthetes that have been found in earlier ages of children and the gradual lessening of such numbers as children grow older.

This development of increasing differentiation in sensory brain paths may be further understood as being augmented through the parallel process of inhibition. As we know the frontal lobes are concerned in part in inhibiting certain actions and changing the pathways of the brain's circuits as they do. It may well be then, that the sensory pathways are differentiated in this way by means of the connectedness between sensory pathways being inhibited. Thus, this inhibition may well develop as part of the development of the frontal lobes. Why would a brain the mixing of senses to be counter productive for evolutionary purposes? It is possible to see many circumstances in which such mixing of the senses could prove to be both dangerous and confusing. It follows that synesthesia is probably normal in human infants and is suppressed as they get older and as normal sensory experience starts to become dangerous and confusing because of the mixing.

It may well be, however, that this suppression is not completely necessary. Clearly many synesthetes are fully functional humans, and indeed if they have learned to control the phenomenon by turning it on and off at will, they can be imbued with incredible advantages.

Types of synesthesia.

Like so many brain phenomena, synesthesia seems like hard to believe --- unless you are a synesthete. But decades of scientific studies have shown that it is real. A better understanding may shed light on normal conscious perception, and perhaps even on the minds of highly creative people like Scriabin. If many children are natural synesthetes, we may also learn more about the conscious world of childhood. Surprising conditions always reveal unexpected insights into the brain, its development, and the human condition. 

Numbers and letters evoking colors. 121 (69%)
Units of time triggering colors. 42 (24%)
Spoken sounds calling up colors. 24 (14%)
General sound evoking colors. 23 (13%)
Musical sounds calling up colors. 21 (12%)
Musical notes setting off colors. 16 (9%)
Pain evoking colors. 6 (3.4%)
Odors triggering colors. 5 (3%)
Personalities evoking colors. 5 (3%)
Tastes evoking colors. 5 (3%)
Sound evoking taste. 3 (2%)
Sound evoking touch. 3 (2%)
Vision evoking taste. 3 (2%)
Touch evoking taste. 2 (1%)
Sound evoking odor. 1 (0.6%)
Temperature evoking colors. 1 (0.6%)
Taste evoking touch. 1 (0.6%)
Touch evoking smell. 1 (0.6%)
Vision evoking touch. 1 (0.6%)

Children and Synesthesia.

Despite different assessments on the prevalence of synesthesia, one fact is less disputed; the phenomenon is much more prevalent in children than adults. But why is this the case? Some speculate that it reflects a general cognitive development. The famous imagery researcher Alan Paivio has claimed that children process information mainly by means of iconic representations, while adults process information in an abstract manner - in the form of symbolic representations. Building further on this, Marks has stated that cognitive development come in three stages, from purely sensory representation of perceptual information, through a joint sensory/verbal representation, to pure verbal representation. According to Marks, synesthesia does not vanish with age, but merely looses its reflexive, sensory character, and is more and more expressed through language. Support for this thought has been found in studies showing that adults have weak cross-modal associations, but that they are weak or come to expression through verbal analogies and metaphors, and not as “living” images, as found in true synesthetes.

Needs Interest Method Reality Keys How to Help Creative Genius Future What is Wrong Theories Plus
Prodigies Genius Creativity Social Creativity Thin Slicing Observing Imaging Abstracting Recognizing Patterns
Forming Patterns Analogizing Enaction Empathizing Dimensional Modeling Playing Transforming