Gray Flannel Dwarf

5/7/2004

synaesthesiac amnesiac

“The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken!”
–Bob Dylan

So I guess that, over the years, I’d heard the word “synesthesia” before, and in context kinda figured out it had to do with the senses. It was only lately that I read somewhere about what it was.

Merriam-Webster gives us this definition:

Main Entry: syn·es·the·sia
Pronunciation: “si-n&s-’thE-zh(E-)&
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from syn- + -esthesia (as in anesthesia)
: a concomitant sensation; especially : a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated
- syn·es·thet·ic /-’the-tik/ adjective

Well, I guess that’s not so bad, but these various definitions that Google gives us for the various spellings (synesthesia | synaesthesia) scare me just a bit. They all seem to imply it’s a mental condition.

It scares me a bit because for years, I’ve been telling people that I “see” music, that is, when I listen to music, I’ll see spotches of colour, jagged patterns of various hues, etc. Actually, it used to happen a lot more than it does now, but it’ll still happen on occasion. I’ve said, for what seems like a million times now, if I could play music as well as I could see or visualise it, I’d be a millionaire.

There are two things about this weird ability of mine that always come to mind
1) How no one I explain it to really “gets” it, or understands what I’m trying to describe. I’ve only met one other person who has, and strangely enough, he asked me out of the blue (no pun intended), after five minutes of introductory conversation, if this ever happened to me, that it happened to him too.

2) All I can say is that it’s really, really cool. It’s not disturbing at all. It’s like some postmodern art movie going on in one’s head. It doesn’t bother me, I don’t ponder about it, I just enjoy the show, so to speak.

All this said, those definitions that Google found re: it being a “disorder” is somewhat disturbing. On the other hand, other websites infer that it is a sign of creative genius… in which case, it’s no wonder mine has seemed to have been disappearing over the past few years. Either way, what’s going on here?


cswiii @ 3:05 pm