Thursday, May 7, 2009


(except from interview in Scientific American, with Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant)

LEHRER: You advocate a theory of creativity defined by a cognitive property you call "hyper-connectivity." Could you explain?

TAMMET: I am unusually creative—from visualizing numerical landscapes composed of random strings of digits to the invention of my own words and concepts in numerous languages. Where does this creativity come from?

My brain has developed a little differently from most other people’s. Aside from my high-functioning autism, I also suffered from epileptic seizures as a young child. In my book, I propose a link between my brain’s functioning and my creative abilities based on the property of ‘hyper-connectivity’.

In most people, the brain’s major functions are performed separately and not allowed to interfere with one another. Scientists have found that in some brain disorders however, including autism and epilepsy, cross-communication can occur between normally distinct brain regions. My theory is that rare forms of creative imagination are the result of an extraordinary convergence of normally disconnected thoughts, memories, feelings and ideas. Indeed, such “hyper-connectivity” within the brain may well lie at the heart of all forms of exceptional creativity.

Compelling idea - and points to, I believe, the concept that being able to synthesize ideas is more important than being the holder of certain data/knowledge. It could be argued that it's always been that way, but I believe the 'modern age,' UNDT DAS INTERNET, has decreased the value of knowledge (in the form of statistics and details, with so much it becoming easily accessible). If one considers knowledge as coming most importantly in this form, then it is easier to feel that "most everything's been figured out." A perspective change to looking at where knowledge/ideas (disparate or not) can be synthesized to either further clarify the original idea or form a new idea opens the drapes wide open on the vastness of things yet to be conceived, tried, tested, synthesized.

addendum: Synthesis does require understanding - which does require the use of data/statistics to be examined, understood, and passed through to see what they are representing.

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