Friday, July 31, 2009

More on David Tammet

Just a little more on David Tammet and some thoughts on his ideas on creativity and autism. He quotes a professor of psychiatry called Michael Fitzgerald at one point. Fitzgerald, who has an autistic child, has a theory that such creative geniuses as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, and Mendel 'may all have found their genius through autism.'

This idea comes from the point that autistic people appear to have less inhibitors between certain sections of the brain, inhibitors that appear more regularly in people who aren't geniuses. This lack of 'inhibition' gives the brain synapses in autistic people the means to make connections that would otherwise be forestalled. This would tend to suggest that most creative people have less inhibition between the sections of their brains, but I suspect that this isn't a case proven as yet. Perhaps what might be closer to the truth is the point that people in general are on a continuum from very dull brained people (for whatever reason) to ones whose brains perform fantastically - and creatively.

People are on continuums in all sorts of spheres: look at men and women in terms of their innate masculinity or femininity: the spectrum is enormous from men who are so male that any hint of emotion or softness seems unlikely, to men at the other extreme who are all softness and have almost feminine characteristics. The same applies to women, who range from females who seem to be almost masculine in their outlook on life and their body language to women who are the epitome of softness. These are very loose generalisations, of course.

Perhaps autism isn't quite the illness we've thought, but something closer to a kind of extreme ability to use the brain that most of us don't have. But then, autistic people, like 'ordinary' people range over a wide spectrum too.
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