Table of Contents
Synesthesia: The Symphony of Color
What is Synesthesia?
The Science of Synesthesia
Synesthesia: A Life of Synesthesia
Different types of synesthesia
Synesthesia in Daily Life
Synesthesia: The Symphony of Color
The basis of human interaction and life is built upon the five senses. All living creatures on the planet need to have sight, hearing and taste. Each sense has its own barriers that prevent them from working together, and one missing sense can cause a disruption in daily life. Although the senses may be separated, it is important to question whether a conjoining or loss of one sense would have any effect on the other. Could this cause problems or make things more efficient? This conjoining between senses is the key to Synesthesia, a rare neurological condition which affects about one in two thousand people. In this case, Synesthesia is not considered a hindrance.
What Is Synesthesia?Synesthesia is roughly defined as “an involuntary secondary reaction triggered by an initial sensory reaction, or in which the real perception of one sense is accompanied by a perception in another sense (As defined by SynesthesiaTest.org).” In effect, a reaction or perception of one sense, such as seeing, tasting or hearing, triggers a second sensory reaction in the mind of the affected that is both involuntary and abnormal. You can have any combination or five senses affected. Some of these strange reactions can be quite fascinating, even if they seem odd. Synesthetes might perceive numbers and letters as colors, taste different sounds, feel pain as assorted geometric shapes, and may also experience bizarre symptoms. Synesthesia is defined by a combination of sensory perceptions that are irregular, objective, simple, and involuntary, as well as triggers for reactions. In addition, synesthetes typically possess above-average intelligence levels, awful senses of direction, difficulties with differentiating lefts and rights, strong or photographic memories, obsessions with perfection or OCD in general, chronic headaches and occasionally even a stronger-than-average vulnerability to tickling.
Science of Synesthesia. While the exact cause of Synesthesia has not been identified, it is believed that synesthesia can be attributed to a mismatch in commands between different senses. Medical experts are still not able to fully understand the condition and don’t often refer to it as a disease. Synesthesia is relatively rare. It occurs in less than one percent of two thousand people. Synesthetic traits, sometimes called pseudo-synesthesia, are more common in children and adults. The astonishing 6:1 ratio of Synesthesia appearing in females to males is astounding. There are many ways for it to develop. Synesthesia can be caused by heredity or synesthetic genes. These genetics are more prevalent in left-handed individuals than they are for right-handed. Although synesthesia is rare, it can occur due to brain-affecting injuries and accidents. Synesthetic experiences may also be possible while taking hallucinogenic drugs. Synesthesia is a condition that develops early in life. In the case of synesthetes, it has been reported to occur as early as four months of age.
Synesthesia could theoretically disappear. Synesthesia can be lost if there are injuries to the brain or mismatched senses. Oliver Sacks’ research shows that Synesthesia is dependent on the synergy of the senses in order to transmit sensory experiences. Synesthesia may also be affected if the senses are damaged or altered. This can severely alter the way a synesthete lives. For a certain period. Many synesthetes might have more trouble with art fields if they had relied on synesthetic experiences. Life itself may even lose meaning, in some scenarios.
Life with Synesthesia Synesthetes view their condition not as something to be hindered, but rather as a gift. Synesthetes are known for being creative and this trait is part of Synesthesia. Many synesthetes end up becoming chefs, musicians, or artists because of their synesthetic experiences. Synesthetes often experience sensory overload and headaches as a result of their Synesthesia experiences. Synesthetes could feel “outofplace” at times due to their condition. Synesthesia, which is possibly the most difficult experience to relate with, can be hard for a nonsynesthete to see. Many synesthetes avoid sharing their experiences as they don’t realize that Synesthesia can affect their entire lives. As Synesthetic children often don’t see any abnormalities or unusual sensory mixing and matching, this is a prime example. Many believe that adults and children experience the same sensations.
There are many types of Synesthesia. The number of possible combinations of sensory triggers and sensory experiences that can result from Synesthesia is endless. This makes it difficult to keep up with the growing number of Synesthesia variations and branches. Grapheme Color Synesthesia: This Synesthesia involves the perception of numbers and letters using colors. It is the most widespread type. Grapheme Color Synesthesia lets you see the common word “typical” as a rainbow. These colors cannot be seen by synesthetes because they are not projected onto the words and letters. However, synesthetes can experience the sensations with their minds’ eye the same as one seeing an image. The same reaction happens with the four other senses, since synesthetes don’t audibly hear or taste any of their sounds or flavors. Other types include Object Personification Synesthesia that allows objects to assume certain characteristics and emotions. Music-Taste Synesthesia is where synesthetes can “taste”, various sounds, and music. Mirror Touch Synesthesia lets the synesthete feel pain or pleasure simply by watching. Color-Grapheme Synesthesia (the most common) is not the only type of Synesthesia. Any branch that deals with the senses is considered the rarest. Certain triggers may be associated with Synesthesia. For example, synesthetes might have a fixed association with certain colors, sounds and tastes. One synesthete might associate certain colors, sounds, or tastes with specific triggers (i.e.
Synesthesia in Daily Life Marilyn Monroe, Lady Gaga and Frank Lloyd Wright are all examples of famous synesthetes. Synesthesia can be used even by non-synesthetes. Synesthesia is used primarily as a literary device. Synesthesia in literature has a slightly different meaning than its original name. Literary Synesthesia brings together sensory experiences and senses in new ways. Instead of writing “the chocolat cake tasted soft and fluffy,” Synesthesia transforms that sentence into “the chocolate cream tasted of dark and pale moonlight.”
Synesthesia is best illustrated by personifying colors as temperatures. The lighter colors (such as yellows, reds, oranges, greens, pinks, etc.) are perceived as warm. The colors at the lighter end of the spectrum are perceived to be warm. While the darker colors (blues, purples, black, etc.) are perceived to be cooler. Feel cold or icy. This is not to confuse with personification. Personification refers to the process of attributing traits to inanimate objects, instead of sensory experiences. Yet, Synesthesia is often used alongside personification in literature. Many notable authors have used Synesthesia in poetry. Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven” uses Synesthesia for literary purposes. One example of such a stanza reads: “And that silken and sad, unpredicted rustling of each purple drape thrilled me. It filled me with terrors I had never felt before.” This stanza gives the purple curtain a “sad-and-uncertain” quality that is not possible under normal circumstances. Synesthesia is used more frequently in Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope Is The Thing With Feathers”. The main example of such is found in one particular stanza. It reads: “And Sweetest in the Gale is Heard; and Sore Must Be the Storm, That Could Abash the Little Bird that Keeps So Many Warm.” This is an interesting combination of Synesthesia as personification. Synesthesia describes hope’s voice as that of a singing bird. While Synesthesia calls it “warm, sweet”, the values that are against cold are called “cold, sore”.
Synesthesia can be difficult for non-synesthetes to understand and is quite unusual from the standpoint of a synesthete. Synesthesia is classified as neurological but is not a condition. As stated repeatedly, Synesthesia does not cause any disease or disorders. Speaking personally as a Color-Grapheme, Sound-Color and Grapheme-Personification Synesthete, Synesthesia is a beautiful and unique way of perceiving the universe. Let me take a moment to confirm that Synesthesia is as fun as the essay describes. The world is constantly changing and adding new meanings to the already wonderful aspects of life. No medical expert can say the opposite. One will never truly understand the concept of blue until he hears it or tastes it.