Sunday, 4 September 2011

The genius of Mankind.

I was recently reading about the subject of Savants. These are people with extraordinary abilities and are often Autistic or suffer from some other form of disability. Basically, they have sacrificed social skills or some other skill and instead have turned to something else to focus on and to offer them comfort and stability. Daniel Tammet, however, is an extraordinary case amongst these very rare and talented humans. He is obsessed with numbers, numbers to him are more than a didget, they represent colours, tastes and images. His abilities mean that he can multiply, divide and basically do any mathematical equation in his head. For example, he recently receited Pi (the number that has so far been proven to have no end without recurring) to 22,500 decimal places verbally which took him just over 5 hours to recite.

The amazing thing is that he is not just limited to being gifted with numbers, he is also talented with language. However, he, unlike many savants, does not appear to have any mental handicaps, he is able to evolve and develop a conversation with anyone and has worked on improving his confidence with others in order to blend in with the rest of society. It's estimated that he is 1 of 50 of his kind in the world. I'll provide the link to a video of him so you can yourself witness this astonishing feat of human ability:

On the other hand, I feel that his ability has handicapped him in the sense that he is being tested constantly as scientists wish to see if all humans have this ability that can be unlocked within their brains. Don't get me wrong, I support research that benefits the human race, but it seems like a shame to me that he is almost like a laboratory test subject because of the rarity of his ability. On the other hand, if he is comfortable with it, then I suppose that his circumstances are justified.

What are your thoughts? Have you got any other examples of savants? This is something that interests me; being able to witness a humans capacity to explore the unexplained and push boundaries.


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