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Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Brad Barker, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    Don't worry--it only sounds like it's painful! :D

    Synesthesia is a peculiar mental..."condition," I guess, where two cognitive phenomena get jangled up together.

    Why do I bring this up?

    I'm a synesthete! I see letters and numbers in "color." I have my whole life. One of my earliest pre-school memories was looking at the alphabet poster in the top of the wall and seeing the colors of the letters, right when I looked at it.

    It's very difficult to describe. I know that these letters I am typing are simply black, but my mind kind of superimposes its seemingly arbitrary coloring system over it.

    And it's very real!

    I first realized that what I have is unique (although it is the most common type of synesthesia) when I asked when I was maybe six or seven my older brother which colors corresponded to the first ten numbers, starting at zero. ...He thought I was weird.

    But I didn't realize that this had a name until a year and a half ago when I saw an article about something called "synesthesia" in Scientific American. (www.sciam.com)

    ...Although I took some of the tests and didn't pass. Which is odd, because I know that I have what they were describing. (And quite a few people think that "5" is red, too!)

    Here is a link with more information:

    I think it's pretty neat. :hyper:
  2. I'm sure Bruce has a link in his signature to a website about it as well. Synaesthesia can be particularly problematic in severe cases. When you took the tests, do you mean just some things written in the Scientific American?

  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's about the French Composer, Olivier Messiaen, who hears sounds/musical notes as colours - he wrote a piece of music about this, called "Chronochromie" and many of his musical compositions are about colour blocks.
  4. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Your post tastes like apples.

    brad cook
  5. rfalter


    Jul 20, 2004
    Pasadena, MD
    "(And quite a few people think that "5" is red, too!)"

    Actually Red = 2. Electronics guys know what I am talking about :)

    Black = 0
    Brown = 1
    Red = 2
    Orange = 3
    Yellow = 4
    Green = 5
    Blue = 6
    Violet = 7
    Gray = 8
    White = 9
    [Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly]
  6. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    When I was younger I attributed all numbers and letters to male and female. Not sure why, but numbers and letters seemed male and female to me and I couldn't get that out of my head.
  7. Gia


    Feb 28, 2001
    that's so cool! i wish i was a synesthete!!

    there's a program about the condition on tv tonight, i may watch it.
  8. Its like schizophrenia or any other psychological condition in that it can help you to be exceptionally creative or else it can destroy your life. However, it becomes a burden a lot more often than a joy.

  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    See/hear my sig. :D
  10. Gia


    Feb 28, 2001
    yeah i know. i was referring to Brad's severity of the condition, which he seems quite happy with ;)
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Olivier Messiaen saw it as joy and he made some wonderful music out of this - I think we all have the potential for a certain amount of this and at times, when I've been "intoxicated", musical timbres have felt like colours and lights to me ! ;)
  12. jkritchey


    Jul 23, 2002
    Northern Va.
    There was a very informative bit on this on 60 Minutes approx. 2 years ago.

    One of the other symptoms was 'seeing' a mental calendar in a certain shape, be it a weekly or monthly calendar.

    Very interesting. I hope. There were some folks featured on the 60 Mins. piece who were having difficulties.
  13. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    yeah the labelling for resistors.

    it would've been COMPLETELY different if i had been in charge! :p
  14. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    whoa, what's with this talk about it being negative?

    as far as i know, it's just a little extra "thing" that we have; it doesn't affect my ability to do anything else at all.

    and as far as a few other responses:

    the composer who mr. lindfield quoted has a "typical" case of synesthesia, yes. i think that kind would be the most beneficial to musicians! can you imagine to be able to think of Bb as "red" and B as "green"? (of course, the usefulness of perfect pitch has been debated on this site, but it's cool nonetheless.)

    Gia: i probably wouldn't be a "severe case." i didn't pass the quizzes that were in my magazine. :mad: (i think it was because of the atypical shapes of the numbers, but whatever.)

    khya0s: from what i gathered in the article i read, the condition is generally regarded as a bonus. i may be completely off the mark, though. :meh: and i suppose i answered one of your questions above; i haven't taken any official tests for it.

    fastplant: that is actually indicative of synesthesia. it is another manifestation of the same underlying phenomenon. doctors who have studied it, i think, hypothesize that it results from the brain's ability to make binary categorizations. it also gives an insight into the screwy romance language system of articles. (books don't have a gender! :D )
  15. I thought it was "synthesesia."

    Color and sound are both frequency related. Perhaps tastes and smells as well?
  16. Nabokov was a synesthete. a sign of genius perhaps?
  17. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    Interesting. I have heard of the color thing (same with music/shapes; that a snare is a triangle, bass a cirlce, etc) and thought that people were making it up. But then I though about my thing. It makes more sense now. I always wondered why I assigned a gender to numbers and letters, it makes more sense now.
  18. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
  19. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Do the numbers turn different colors while on LSD?
  20. whats green plus blue?