Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Remember "Flowers For Algernon?"

In 2002 a man named Jason Padgett was assaulted outside a karaoke bar. He woke up with PTSD, social anxiety, vision problems - and genius mathematical ability he didn't possess before.

It's called "acquired savant syndrome" - the sudden and inexplicable development of a skill after a head injury. Math is rare - it's usually music, art, or similar.

And the syndrome itself is so rare only 25 cases have been properly studied.

But there's some indication that in some cases the ability may fade - although so far, Mr. Padgett has kept his.

And it indicates something - that this sort of ability may be inherent in all of us, but blocked. (This would explain why artistic abilities are more common - I think a lot of us are more artistic than we realize we are).

Which then leads to the possibility of unlocking those abilities - but it's something we should be careful with. Maybe they're blocked for a reason. Geniuses tend not to do well in the "real world" after all.