Modern science and collective society are too quick to label cognitive
conditions, and as a result, dismiss the potential for understanding and
exploration. Parapsychological phenomena amongst savant syndrome individuals is a severely affected area. What is
going on in the human mind when defects lead to brilliance?
In his blog, Paranormalia, Robert McLuhan explores the case of 9 year old Nandana, who has been diagnosed as a highly functioning child with Autism and
ADHD, but is said to have a telepathic connection to her mother. Through a series of tests between mother and daughter,
Nandana was able to type word for word a poem given initially only to her mom.
She was also able to identify up to a nine digit number, as well as simple
words and phrases.
A few issues arise with the methods used to test Nandanas
abilities. To start, she only has this connection with her mother, and since a controlled
environment was not created when examining her ability, more probing will have
to be conducted by formal research institutions before anything can be held creditable. Still, critics dismiss Nandanas abilities as
just another set of parents trying to gain notoriety from the exploits of their
children. Regardless of how this ability
can be tested, there does seem to be a very intuitive link between mother and
daughter that goes far beyond the synchronicity of shared living.
Nandanas abilities fall into the category of Savant
Syndrome. Unfortunately, telepathic traits and other Psi phenomenon are largely
dismissed or challenged as fraud when discovered, unlike the other Savant
traits which are readily accepted as genius. The most common Savant Syndrome capabilities
are superior memorization, lightening calculation, calendar calculating,
musical abilities, artistic abilities, and language abilities. These are highly unusual skills that are far
beyond the capacities of the average human, yet some just brush it off as
natures way of compensating these individuals that are dysfunctional in other
social and mundane areas of life.
As McLuhan points out, the common savant abilities are arguably much
more advanced compared to Nandanas ability to recognize numbers and phrases
from her moms mind, but even these are left unchallenged. More interesting are
individuals that acquire Savantism after an injury to the brain, disease or
near death experience. The leading source of these extraordinary skills may be defects to the brain, rather than autism. This may lead some to try to induce Savantism,
which is not recommended since there have not been enough studies to show how
we can tap into this ability.
Is it necessary to get to that extreme in
order to free the brain from the mundane so that we can have these experiences? Or is all you need a good loosening up of the brain, like that available through hallucinogens, fasting, or mediation, to open you to another reality? It is clear that these areas have yet to be adequately explored, hampering our ability to truly understand ourselves.
Image By danieldors, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.