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    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    From lonesteppenwolf1's personal cargo

    The Implications of Synesthesia
    I have written this as preparation for a short film which is in post-production with a main character of synesthesia. The story was built around these implications.

    And this does not begin to scratch the surface.

    The Implications of Synesthesia

    Derived from latin, synesthesia is broken down into “syn”, which means union, and “esthesia”, sensation. A union of sensation. When used as a common term, synesthesia is used to describe the condition of when someone is aware of their senses mixing. In other words, the stimulation of one sense will trigger a response in another sense.

    The style in which we as human beings relate to our environment is based on our senses. Sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing give us an evaluation of what's around us. A multi-sensory evaluation of our environment.

    “Synesthesia is not something that has been added, but has always existed. A multisensory awareness is something that has been lost from conscious awareness in the majority of people....We know more that we think we know. The multisensory, synesthetic view of reality is only one things that we are sure has been lost from consciousness.”

    Dr. Cytowic has come to the conclusion that everyone has the ability of synesthesia, though a conscious awareness of it has been lost to all but a few. One theory is that all of us are born with synesthesia, but quickly lose it. Why have we lost this from our consciousness?
    Most of human behavior is habit. Habits that have been ingrained in us so deeply that we are not even aware they're habits. Most of our actions and behavior are below the level of even being conscious of them. Of course, you think of breathing and walking. But the society in which each of us lives or has lived has given us it's own habits, it's own way of dealing with people and situations. And the societies of today are far more willing to put down emotion in favor of “rational thinking”.
    Humans are built to act upon incomplete information. In essence, we can be presented with a problem with incomplete information and find a creative solution. Synesthetes, in a way, have a greater ability to do this, since one sense can trigger a response in another one. Their senses give them a even more multisensory evaluation of this, since one sense can give them a reaction in another. Also, synesthesia is emotional. Letters, numbers, can have personalities. As said before, during a synesthetic response, synesthetes have a feeling of “this is it”, the noetic feeling as noted as above.
    I think, as creative people, we all feel that “this is it” when we feel we're the writing, the painting, when we're not conscious of even how it's happening. Now, this noetic feeling is felt by everyone at some point or another.

    “(Synesthesia) may actually be moments when the “real” us comes to the surface. Things that “we” do not do but which instead “happen” to us, things such as emotions, insights, intuitions, or feelings of certitude, are created by a facet deeper than the one with which we are cognizant.”

    “What we think of as voluntary behavior, set in motion by free will, is really instigated by another part of ourself. Parts of us are inaccesible to self-awareness, the latter being only the tip of the iceberg of who and what we really are. The “I” is a superficial self-awareness constructed by our unfathomable part. In other words, we all wear masks.”

    Synesthesia is an emotional, subjective experience. It is a direct response to our surroundings. In the society in which we live, we've been taught to ignore subjective experience as not being able to be “relied upon.” This idea has been especially prevalent since technology has allowed us access to information that we have not directly experienced. Look at the scientific community of today. Only things that can be measured have value. Only things that can be proven. Science continually tries to rationalize things that cannot be rationalized. Love. Anger. Why do we have pop culture? Why are the main topics of popular novels and books love, romance, and based in emotion? Because science does not address these things, or at least cannot make sense of them.
    All creative processes are an attempt to share a subjective experience. Even language. Language is built on cross-sensory metaphors. The way we explain what something is like or how we feel is impossible without metaphors, which are simply using a certain type of experience and make sense of it using another type of experience. How can “cheese” be “sharp”? You're feeling good, you're feeling up. Or you're feeling down. He cracked under pressure. It is said that every culture, every language, has its own ways of describing. Description is based on metaphor.
    Art, storytelling, painting, films, fiction, even language, all of this is an attempt to share a subjective experience, which is essential to humankind. Storytelling has existed since the cave paintings.

    “Satisfying art is a product of deep knowledge and understanding within the artist. It is true that art is informed by the intellect and with acquired technique. But the function of the artist is to penetrate the visible world to illuminate the mystery behind it. That mystery is a ground of universal truth that supports the human condition. If successful, the artist's expression resonates within the inner life of the reader, viewer, or listener who experiences what I have called an intuitive recognition. Ultimately, the art of fiction is not an intellectual achievement, but an emotional one in which intellect serves only to articulate the human truth, not to explain it.”

    Synesthesia is an insight to human consciousness. People with synesthesia are, as a whole, far more in touch with emotions. Experiences and sensory stimulation results in strong emotional reactions. At the moment, humans, as a whole, give more importance to the rational aspects of things. What synesthesia teaches us is emotion and the rational mind are interconnected and interdependent. Humans, as a whole, must resolve the differences, and unite emotion and reason.

    PS. As we enter a increasingly multi-sensory age, what can we learn from synesthesia about expanding our consciousness through technology?

    Quotes come from Richard Cytowick's book "The Man who Tasted Shapes"

    Wed, Sep 3, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: consciousness
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    aeonbeat     Thu, Sep 4, 2008  Permanent link
    great, it's like a semantic map of emotions, i remember this from childhood
    Wildcat     Thu, Sep 4, 2008  Permanent link
    Thank you for an interesting post and a very good question.
    My take on the issue of language and synesthesia in a multisensory environment (I am not certain I wish to use the term ‘age’ in this respect) is primarily that consciousness as we understand it at present will unfold into a wider and subtler reality of perception.

    As we enter a increasingly multi-sensory age, what can we learn from synesthesia about expanding our consciousness through technology

    Three points come to mind:
    1. as we are all inherently synesthets the enhanced reality paradigm will have a much easier entrance into the commonly real than we currently believe.
    2. As enhanced reality, becomes the norm, synesthesia will probably become the standard as well, structures and morphologies of communication procedures will inevitably become fluid structures, and liquefied morphological multidimensional meanings will become the foundation of information.
    3. Consciousness, as a result will expand dramatically, both on the personal, interpersonal and global dimensions.