Synesthetes: Synesthetic Metaphor

climate

There is a very interesting presentation on TED.com by a neurologist who has come up with innovative ways of treating his patients. In the third part of his presentation he talks of Synesthesia which is the ability to experience multiple sensory perceptions in place of one. For example tasting sound or seeing touch.

He points out that there is a part of the brain that, when damaged, disables the ability to understand metaphor and disables Synesthesia. He also demonstrates that we are all synesthetes with a simple experiment.

Understanding icons, in the context of this research, is a synesthetic experience and may show that contrary to my initial reservations, there is some truth to inherent meaning in icons that may be universal.

I have a blog post that is broader in scope than this neurologist’s conclusions. You can find his presentation under “Who Is A Synesthete?”

Here’s the Link: http://blog.grantczerepak.com/2008/11/15/synesthetes/

The moment you say “blue is cool” or “red is hot” you are expressing Synesthetic metaphor.

Here’s some audio recordings from MIT interviewing Synesthetes (each is about 1 minute):

Anyone who can make metaphor is expressing their own Synesthesia. I personally think this is an area of research that should be explored to help people develop their own Synesthetic abilities. It should also be explored to help us find commonalities in Synesthetic perception to develop Icons and Icon languages.

Richard Cytowic has written a book called, The Man Who Tasted Shapes.

I don’t agree with his separation of Synesthesia from common Synesthetic experience, but his insights are worth reading.

Further Links:

Mental Order for a change

winston_churchill

If you read the indepth biographies of Winston Churchill, you will discover that the man suffered from a mental illness called Bipolar Disorder.  Yet despit a life of political defeats, he was able to win the Prime Ministership and successfully lead Britain in its time of greatest need against the Nazi war machine with the words, “Never, Never, Never Give Up.”  Churchill’s strategic insight during the Battle of Britain and his compelling speeches are still studied by leaders around the world today.

abraham-lincoln-picture

Abraham Lincoln’s indepth biographies also reveal he suffered from a mental illness believed to be Bipolar Disorder.  Yet despite repeated failures won the Presidency and even after the death of his wife, led the United States through the greatest national crisis it ever faced, The American Civil War.  His memorial in Washington D.C. reveal a man of profound depth of thought and compassion for his countrymen.  He is regarded as one of the greatest Presidents the United States has produced.

Differing orders of the brain are often hard to distinguish.  Especially when studying accounts of historical figures.  Often different brain order societies claim that the same historical figures had their particular brain order.  An interesting truth is we all exhibit traits of every brain order.  We just exhibit them to varying degrees.

My theory is that all mental orders are just that different orders.  Some orders are more detrimental to one’s functioning than others.

I suggest we are all wired in a similar fashion, but we don’t understand the wiring yet or the inputs and outputs.  We don’t understand the range of Mental Orders humanity has.  Some orders are just more common than others.  Maybe in the end Synesthesia will be found to simply be a different mental order.  Time will tell.

Maybe, and more to the point I am saying we are confusing mental difference with illness.  Bipolar Order, Schizo Order, Borderline Order, Autistic Order and so on .

What I am really wondering is what Bipolar Disorder,  Schizophrenia and Autism are.

What is Bipolar Order?

bipolar

Bipolar Order is understood to be a chemical imbalance in the brain.  However, every cell in the brain is composed of chemicals and scientists do not fully understand brain chemistry and do not fully understand why the range of medications for Bipolar Order are able to conteract the symptoms.   Bipolar Order is a change in the affective aspect of the self.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Bipolar Disorder (Health: Psychiatry)“, posted with vodpod

More information about Bipolar Disorder can be found here.

Who has Bipolar Order?

The list of prominent persons with Bipolar Mood Disorder is very long as the video below will show (10 mins).  However, present day medicines are making it possible to manage the illness and lead a more stable life.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “A-Z OF FAMOUS PEOPLE WITH BIPOLAR DIS…“, posted with vodpod

What is Schizophrenia?

schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is not a split personality.  Schizophrenia is not a disorder of mood.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Schizophrenia (Health: Psychiatry)“, posted with vodpod

A more extensive explanation of Schizophrenia can be found here.

Who has Schizophrenia?

beautiful_mind

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “schizophrenia famous – Google Video“, posted with vodpod

What is Autism?

autismpuzzle

Autism is not a lack of interaction with the world.  It is a different way of perceiving and interacting with the world.  Understanding autism is not a failure of the autistic, it is a failure of society to provide them with the tools to interact with us and apply their potential.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Autism (Family & Education: Learning …“, posted with vodpod

Who has Autism?

AlbertEinstein

1 in 150 Children in U.S. Has Autism, New Survey Finds

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “who has autism famous – Google Video“, posted with vodpod

Psychism : Mental Discrimination

However, that is not what this post is about.  This post is about the stigma ignorance, prejudice and discrimination against the mentally different as well as the abuse of healthy people who choose to challenge authority or deviate from convention.  I couldn’t find a term like sexism, racism or homophobia, so I decided to coin a new term, “psychism”.  This is not the usage of psychism in its conventional sense, however I think the usage I propose is much more important to society.  Other schools of thought use “mentalism” or “sanism”, but I think psychism has more punch.  Psychism is mental discrimination and Psychophobia is fear of mental difference.

vincent_van_gogh_16

“You’re Crazy!”

When a person presents an idea the hearer has many options.

  1. You can attack the motive.
  2. You can attack the person.
  3. You can attack the timing.
  4. You can attack the location.
  5. You can attack the function.
  6. You can attack the data.
  7. You can attack the need.
  8. You can attack the provision.

Or you can attack all of them by questioning a person’s sanity.  This is Psychism.

To label a person as mentally ill when they challenge authority, act in a deviant manner or simply attempt to be creative is a psychist act.  It is an attempt to destroy a person’s credibility and self-esteem.  It is a violation of trust and a violation of human rights.  It does not matter whether that person is mentally ill or not.  Psychism is a crime.  It is a crime in religion, politics, the workplace, academically, in family and against oneself.  The only time when it is acceptable to intervene in a person’s actions is when they are a physical danger to themselves or others.  And in the case of Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia this is rarely the case contrary to public and media sensationalism.

It is often forgotten that the mentally different were among the first victims of eugenics, Nazism and fascism.  Is there going to be a place for them in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights?

Mental Difference and the World

It is predicted that Mental Health will be the dominant concern world wide this century.  It will affect us or someone close to us if not now in the near future.

Here’s some interesting statistics regarding a country struggling to get its Mental Healthcare System into place in the face of modern societal stresses:

  • I have been reading statistics on China.
  • There are only 17,000 psychiatrists for 1.3 billion people.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for Chinese between 15 and 34.
  • Chinese culture does not know how to deal with mental health issues due to stigma.
  • China has developed its own diagnostic manual that deviates from international standards to address “pragmatic” requirements, but also challenges the tendency in the west to pathologize everything.
  • China refuses entry to anyone with a mental disease, I think more due to incapacity of the health care system than anything else.

Australia will not grant immigration to anyone with a mental illness on the basis that they will burden the healthcare system.

Singapore built a new Mental Healthcare Hospital in the early 1990s to prepare to deal with this emerging issue.  However job security is still an issue if you fall ill.

I am still researching.

I hope that this century will be the century when psychism will become extinct in society.  When we learn compassion and help Synesthetes manage their health and recognize deviation by any person as a creative force.  Let’s forget Mentally Ill.  Let’s use the term Mentally Different.

lincolnpenny

Everyone has worth.

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