From the brink of childhood, we are raised, and nourished to discover our senses, we identify the sensation of sight, we learn to perceive hearing, we delve into the delicate sense of smell, of touch, and taste. We learn them uniquely, each sense independent from the other. Unrelated, and yet our five senses contain us. They command our judgments; they are responsible for educating us for teaching us how to live, and ultimately guiding our sensations for inducing the entire experience of human awareness, a factor reflected with the enticing sounds we hear, and the brilliant colors, shapes, tastes, and the many delicacies that our senses grace us with.
We find joy in our abilities; however what we lack as human beings is the ability to perceive certain dimensions of this earth. We have basic senses, however some individuals are blessed with what medicine has claimed to be a disorder called synesthesia.
Synesthesia, is when two of an individual’s senses intermingle, making clashes of sight and sound, taste and sound, smell and sight… This, so called disorder allows individuals to perceive the un-perceivable. It allows sounds to fulfill themselves with shapes, colors, numbers, tastes.
To simplify the idea, synesthesia comes in various forms, any form at which two senses intermingle. The possibilities of synesthesia are endless. Below we described a few of the most common and rarest encounters of individuals with this disorder.
Grapheme color synesthesia, is one of the more common forms of synesthesia, it is the ability to associate numbers, and letters with color. When a synesthite sees a certain number or letter, he hence relates it to a color. An individual with such a disorder is capable of integrating this ability with memory, hence making the most of visual memory and representation.
In an interview with the Danish Journal of Film Studies, Filmmaker Stephanie Morgenstern adds:
“A few years ago, I mentioned to a friend that I remembered phone numbers by their color. He said “So you’re a synesthete!” I hadn’t heard of synesthesia (which means something close to ‘sense-fusion’) – I only knew that numbers seemed naturally to have colors: five is blue, two is green, three is red… And music has colors too: the key of C# minor is a sharp, tangy yellow, F major is a warm brown…”
Of the less common types of synesthesia is mirror-touch synesthesia, where an individual is able to reflect what their eyes perceive onto their own bodies, hence when an individual touches their forehead in front of a person with mirror-touch synesthesia, the individual with MTS is able to feel the exact sensation on their own face. This form of synesthesia associates touch with sight. Perhaps we should take into consideration our own ability to feel another person’s pain when we see them in pain, however with a much more elevated degree of sensation, and of reflection.
Lexical gustatory synesthesia is also one of the rarest forms of synesthesia, where an individual tastes certain words. Synesthites with the specified form of synesthesia are able to associate taste, temperature, texture depending on the word they hear. Happiness can actually taste like chocolate! In the most literal sense of the word.
We will be delving further within the blog on some art work created to represent what synesthesia is. Stay Tuned for more!