Synesthesia: Not wasting Human Resources

Some time ago I suggested,

and wrote a piece for the FLBC on,

a topic that has always fascinated me:


With the idea in mind that,

since everyone has something that sets him apart,

some kind of special talent,

or gift,

or just an innate goodness that the world needs more of today,

we should definitely stop trying to make everyone alike,

and accept the fact that each of us was made the way we are,

and no one should have to measure up to some kind of (human) leveling process.

The result of which article being,

that I received several comments about how only someone who has it would write about it.

My answer to which is:

I don’t do ballet,

but some people were given the musical talent,

just the right length of legs and arms,

and the right structure of muscles,

to give us marvelous performances.

For which I am truly grateful.

And as to the others in the group’s question-

Yes, I do have synesthesia.

But although I often write about my experiences in life,

and those that I meet,

I actually don’t write much about me personally.

And this is another of those cases.

I am not writing this for myself.

I am writing this for the estimated one in twenty-three

in the world’s population,

who have synesthesia,

and don’t know what it is.

Or feel that they have to hide the fact.

Synesthesia is a linking of the senses,

Usually bordering senses.

It is not an illness, it is a blessing.

And often a well-kept secret,

out of fear that the people who don’t have it won’t understand what it is.

A much higher than average percent of the population working as musicians,

instrument builders,

piano tuners,


hear in color.

(“hearing” meaning “this tone is pale blue, silver, middle blue, cobalt, pinkish with a gold tinge, or brown tinge.”)

It is a pre-given knowledge,

which produces a mental picture,

and although there are some common similarities,

in general, the coordinate system is individual for each person.

And the same is true for mathematicians, and others working with numbers,

who often see the numbers in color.

But some musicians also see music in colored numbers,

as do mathematicians,

who are often excellent musicians.

It is like the brain is helping you sort out all the confusion of the world with small pre-labled boxes.

A way, if you will, of helping you find the similarities in things in life.

The yellow brick road, if you will,

To help you add up faster, correct to the harmonious, and,

of course,


or create,

the unique.

And one of the most fascinating tricks about singing,

is that exercises that feature the word “rose,”

cause an automatic feeling of happiness,

that allow the tone to go through passages

into the sinuses and the skull cap,

with no resistance.

We like the sound,

and think of the flower, and the smell,

and the color,

and open automatically.

(And the tone becomes beautiful)

The opposite, of course, also being true.

I have a girlfriend who smells acidic, stifling masses of nail polish when certain sounds occur.

(No, it has nothing to do with lyric tenors.)

And if you see someone at a concert with a pained look and earplugs, do us all a favor and assume they aren’t being impolite.

Just synesthetic.

Especially since we “color geeks,”

as I have often heard it uncharmingly labelled,

aren’t the only ones with this odd “give with one hand, take with the other” gift.

It is my personal belief that everyone has a gift-

all viable, individualistic human resources,

(that grow the more you use them)

And I love to talk to people and hear their stories about their gifts and how they are using them.

(A man who once spent an entire, thank heavens, relatively short, train trip telling me about skinning rabbits being a notable exception)

But even that scary experience gave me a story.

A sickly green one,

but still…

Maybe that’s why I write.


Copyright  2016

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