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The world is not a machine, You can’t fix it. You can only scar it or let it heal and grow.

Making Intelligible Sense in Savant


My area of special talent is “language”, but I’m not a polyglot, not multilingual or even bilingual. I use the language function of my brain to piece together the various elements of my sense perceptions. Vision, as it occurs, is actually not localized in any one point in the brain. Different parts recognize different elements of what someone sees, and for me, I dream mostly in what could be described as a collage of sense impressions which only infrequently come together in what people would describe as a normal dream scenario.

My brain mixes and matches every element of its sensations, even while I’m awake. But my regular language acquisition has allowed me to hang my sensory impressions together in such a way that I can describe them to others. Perhaps amazingly, I learned language and it proceeded to mesh with what my brain was naturally doing.

So, language is a left-brain function, yes? For me, it’s distributed, and a greater portion is handled by my right hemisphere. What this all amounts to is my speech tends to be metaphor heavy. I make intelligible sense of my world through metaphor, and I interpret dreams really well. I can relate to peoples dreaming personalities much better than their waking personalities.

A lot of genius types appear to others as ‘simple minded’ in normal function and speech. I guess they’re probably orienting in some way similar to you? Perhaps, but my reason for sharing this is by way of an unfortunately drawn out explanation, the process of assembling the various elements of sensation or perception happens well before what people willing acknowledge as quality thought, and the mind/brain tries to complete its function as much as it possibly can. Trying every work around it can to restore a coherent picture of the world, like my own mind turning everything into language. I look at anything and automatically get a whole dictionary of words running through my head, turns of phrase, syntax, relative context, things like that. Others who have suffered from various forms of autism or brain injury have other networks emerge. In the case of acquired savant syndrome phenomenon, their brain injury triggers a reflexive and compulsive level of activity in one of these synthesizing circuits, automatic and involuntary blind variance.

I used to run numbers through my head to alleviate emotional feelings when I worked at the bank. Is it like that? Sort of yes, but not voluntary, and not as focused.

As I walked home they just kept going through my head in beat with my footsteps. Your conscious mind can and was filtering activity going on in your brain, but in the case of savantism, the top down concept relevant inhibition isn’t taking place. They may be seeing abstract geometric figures even while trying to focus on and enjoy a nice spaghetti dinner.

How my personal experience relates to this is, whenever someone asks me if I like something, I have to try to figure out what that means. Preference is one of those automatic top down patterns, and for me though I do have preferences, they are fewer, and not as emotionally natural as others would feel they should be.

Do you not prefer to be asked if you prefer something? No, usually not.

Sometimes in higher mathematics, the experts say that their equations appear “beautiful.” Is it something like that? For me that is indeed the case. What makes me uncomfortable is when my own perceptions get backlogged, when I can’t bring my thinking up to what I am currently experiencing. Let’s ask my wife, do I seem to care if my own preferences are considered? Or expectations, those are pretty much the same thing.

No. You prefer to defer to my preferences. I very much enjoy exploring and experiencing other people’s preferences, their life style and points of view on even mundane things. I am amazed at what makes people prefer to comport themselves both behaviorally as well as aesthetically in any special sort of way, but that’s off topic.

Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.

Travis Saunders
Dragon Intuitive

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