mind over mind

Another blogger i check from time to time wrote some lines about the connection of sense and memory, and i sent along a reccomendation for Diane Ackerman’s great book, “A Natural History of The Senses“; essentially a collection of essays on sense and sensiality. My favourite passages from that book were the bits of scent and memory, and on synthaesthia. My first indroduction to synthaesthsia was via an episode of CBC Radio’s “Ideas”, and it came to influence some of my own writing ideas. i don’t suppose that i exhibit much synthaesthia myself, although i’ve noted some sense/perception issues that are probably more linked to AS than anything else. For instance, most numbers evoke a definate character or sex in my mind; 1 is young and neuter, 2 is an adolescent female, 3 is a male baby, 4 is a young teenage boy, 5 is a middle-aged housewife, 6 is a conservative 50-ish male, 7 is a outgoing late-teen young woman, 8 is a quite late-20’s woman, 9 is a robust late 40’s gentleman, 10 is a bookish male college student, 11 is a an early-30’s woman, and 12 is a 70’s matriarchal grandmother. Numbers beyond 12 start to get muddled; some show characters of their own, while others are composites of their digits. If i look over a string of single digits, relationships often arise; typically, 2, 3, 4 and 7 are the children of 5 and 6, while 7 and 8 are friends, or at least aquaintances. With no effort, a telephone number becomes a row of people standing together. As far back as i can remember, these numbers have had the same sex and character in my mind, and i have no idea where it comes from. Curiously, it doesn’t work the other way. Scents and flavours evoke colours for me, but i don’t suppose any moreso than most everyone else. Wikipedia also now has a great Asperger Syndrome entry; one of the more well laid-out and comprehensive ones i’ve yet read. Synthaesthia has been linked to cases of autistic spectrum disorders, although there’s no firm connection. Still, all very fascinating, at least to me.


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