Synaesthesia Discovery

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Logic, Philosophy, Wittgenstein and Synaesthesia

imageEating Indonesian noodles makes Skye feel the sensation of talking to the dark clouds and northern lights. Tasting Chinese noodles gives rise to a sensation of chatting with the isolated rain and the nature. Every weekend, Skye enjoys noodles for lunch at home. Each of those eating experiences connects him with his beloved nature.

There is some indescribably spiritual quality in Skye. He calls himself the Main Person in the world. I can never forget the day that I first heard him say that. He was eight at the time, and I was holding his and Thomas’ hands walking towards the bay.

I asked Skye why he thought he was the Main Person in the world. He stared at the water and said that he always felt he came to this world with purpose, and he had a clearer vision than other people he knew. He added that his life philosophy was to think. He believed that there was a reason for everything, and he wanted to use his brain to think and to overcome whatever difficulties coming his way. Later on, he told me that his life interest was to find the meaning of life.

Skye views many things he is passionate about in his life as art or logic. When he invented his Gahooulian language, he told me that he had observed every language had a logic, and his own creation was no exception.

He is now learning Japanese and tennis at school. He is one of the only few children in his class who has never learnt Japanese and tennis before, yet he amazed both teachers how quickly he could master the new skills. In his first Japanese lesson, he listened to the conversation between the teacher and other children. Very quickly, colours started forming and floating around the room, and he understood the logic. Then the class played a Japanese number game called 19, and he won the game!

A similar thing happened at his first tennis class. He claimed that tennis was such a logical sport. He observed which angle the opponent hit a ball, then the prediction of where the ball went, using his gradually formed logic, helped him return the ball quickly. He has already developed his taste synaesthesia after one tennis lesson.

Food is one of the most enjoyable things in Skye’s life. He sees it like art. Both my family and my husband’s family have had strong influence on my children’s passion in food. My father established the first cooking school in Shanghai back in the 1980′s, and employed a number of top chefs at the time. His first objective was to send my mother to the school to learn good cooking skills so that she could come home to cook nice meals for himself and the family. My brother and I certainly benefited from my father’s business adventure and my mother’s significantly improved cooking skills. Our childhood was never short of delicious and memorable food. Our house was frequently visited by well-known chefs and their signature dishes.

Skye is very much like my dad. His favourite part of school life is eating his lunch. Most children have one dish only, but he creates a three-course meal for himself each time. He walks around his school dining hall to see what are available first, then plans his three-course in his head, and goes through one by one. He hardly ever cares what other children think about him having so much food, and is frequently late for his first class after lunch. Oh well, there are certain things in your life you just have to enjoy, and other things can wait.

Skye has never been a fussy eater, and eats a large variety of food. I hardly recall he has ever left any food uneaten on his plate unless he is sick. When he was three, I started noticing that he always had to finish eating one type of food first before moving onto another one, then another one. I asked him one day why he didn’t mix different food together, or took turn to have say one spoonful of vegetable, then another spoonful of meat, and back to vegetable. His reason was astonishing considering he was only three at the time.

“Mummy, you need to go through bad things in your life first before you can be rewarded by nice things. So I eat food I don’t like first, and I know I will have food I love at the end.”

This eating habit has remained until today. He treats everything he dislikes as a challenge, and takes it on, and does not throw it away. I have never questioned him again since. I understand everything has a logic in his mind, and he needs to test his logic by himself.

Skye in a way reminds me a lot of Ludwig Wittgenstein and his early views of logic. Wittgenstein was a well known philosopher whose work has influenced nearly every field of the humanities and social sciences, and whose early period of philosophy was defined through his work in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

Mathematics, or music, or language by itself alone cannot completely satisfy Skye. Their combined force expressed through his view of life and its meaning is something that he wants to explore throughout his life. His precociousness in mathematics, music and language, his profoundness and originality, and his never stop thinking mind always make me see the resemblance of Wittgenstein though their personalities and background were vastly different. Wittgenstein was also a synaesthete.

In Rudolf Carnap’s autobiography, he wrote that “there was a striking difference between Wittgenstein’s attitude toward philosophical problems and that of Schlick and myself. Our attitude toward philosophical problems was not very different from that which scientists have toward their problems.” As for Wittgenstein: “His point of view and his attitude toward people and problems, even theoretical problems, were much more similar to those of a creative artist than to those of a scientist; one might almost say, similar to those of a religious prophet or a seer… When finally, sometimes after a prolonged arduous effort, his answers came forth, his statement stood before us like a newly created piece of art or a divine revelation…”

Could this artist like view and attitude a direct influence from Wittgenstein’s synaesthetic perception?

(The attached Northern Lights image is a very close image that Skye experiences through his synaesthetic perception while eating Indonesian noodles. The image source:

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