Fear

For all you synesthetes who associate colors with emotions– what is the color of fear? Whatever it is, that color is my theme song.

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Where Am I? Pink or Yellow?

Where Am I? Pink or Yellow?

Sometimes I have trouble figuring out my lefts and rights. Everyone’s slipped up at least once, right? When I imagine word/concept in my mind’s eye, their positions become inverted :\ I try not to actually do what my mind’s eye is showing me, but it feels so natural that it’s difficult not to go with that instinct. I even trip up in other languages!

In my Chinese class we were learning how to ask and give directions. I tried to use my syn powers to make studying easy. [Side note, y’all: I already have a terrible sense of direction. I found myself relying heavily on my color-grapheme to match the pinyin (English spelling) to the characters. Maybe it was out of fear of *PUN ALERT* “getting lost” in class.]

Anyway, the characters for “left” &”right” are 左zuǒ & 右yòu. When I first saw the characters I literally thought, “Dang, these jokers look the same!” Fortunately, the colors of Z & Y are (faintly) similar colors to L & R. UNfortunately, I found myself incorrectly positioning the Chinese characters in my mind’s eye and as a result, repeatedly making mistakes on my homework assignments! Made some pretty sucky grades on that lesson, but got an A- in the class overall!

Pharrell Williams on Synesthesia

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Singer, songwriter, and producer Pharrell Williams discusses his experience with chromesthesia, or sound-color synesthesia. This is just a snippet of much longer radio interview.


You talk about your mind working like a painter. And I wanted to ask — you have a medical condition called synesthesia. What is that?

First of all, let’s dispel the connotation behind the phrase “medical condition.” Most artists have it. It’s no big deal. And there’s a lot of people who are not necessarily — they’re undiscovered artists, and they have it, too. And all it is is where — when you’re born, your nerve endings are, sort of, all melded together, if you will. And then they prune, right? So all of your sensory nerve endings are kind of connected, as I understand it, and then they sort of prune when you’re, like, 1.

Sometimes some of them stay stuck together, and for a visual and auditorial synesty, it just means that the visual nerve ending and the auditorial nerve ending are still connected. So they send ghost images to each other.

What do you mean? What is that like? What are you experiencing that I might not be?

So when you’re hearing music, you see it in color.

You’re seeing colors when you’re hearing sounds?

Yeah. Now, to some people, it’s like, “Oh, that’s crazy.” But let me explain something to you. You have no idea what you’re seeing in your mind if you don’t really take the time to talk about it.

If I tell everyone right now to picture a red truck, you’re gonna see one. But is there one in real life right there in front of you? No. That’s the power of the mind. People with synesthesia, we don’t really notice until someone brings it up and then someone else says, “Well, no, I don’t see colors when I hear music,” and that’s when you realize something’s different.

But if you go up and you look, you’ll realize that most genius mathematicians, they’re synesthetes. If you ask them what their process is, especially people that can add or divide 10-digit numbers, it’s because they see those numbers in colors, or sometimes the sizes will vary. That’s called a grapheme synesthete. That’s one who sees things, sees numbers or characters in a different way.

If you just take the time to ask supergenius people, you’ll notice that they, their learning process, the way they process information, is slightly different. None of this is to say that I belong in that category at all. I’m just telling you most musicians and most visual artists and most academics, they sort of have that thing, and if you ask them, it’s really interesting to see the people who do and the people who don’t.

I want to know how it helps your mind work in a way that we might feel with the music that you create.

It’s the only way that I can identify what something sounds like. I know when something is in key because it either matches the same color or it doesn’t. Or it feels different and it doesn’t feel right.

You can tell that something’s the same key because it’s the same color as something else? That’s really interesting.

Yeah, but I’m saying to you, I’m not special or different. You ask any musician — there’s three kinds of people. There’s people who have perfect pitch. Then there’s somebody that has a relative pitch, and that’s where you sing the melody and that person will sing the melody back the same but in a different key — it’s because they have relative pitch. And there are people who just are completely tone deaf. There’s a fair share of everyone. But for the most part, most people have perfect pitch. That’s not a condition and that’s not a rare thing. That’s a lot of people.

You can find the rest of the interview here: http://kunc.org/post/pharrell-williams-juxtaposition-and-seeing-sounds

Recording Deja Vu…?

Recording Deja Vu...?

Have you ever had a moment of deja vu moment that you saw coming? Today I was reading a chapter in my art history class when good ol’ Deja showed her face.

Not only did I have the recurring feeling, but I also “remember” making note of this event so that I can verify that I knew this would happen. BUT at the moment of deja vu I couldn’t remember when I….”remembered,” even though I was very compelled that I did. So, I took a picture of that mentally grueling yet fleeting moment.

What ever part of my brain is in charge of these neurological fallacies is definitely on crack.

A Missed Opprotunity to Jam Because of Milk

Have you ever refused to listen to a song because it reminded you of something unpleasant?

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I was going through a playlist of remixed songs someone created and immediately stopped a song because I sensed the taste of milky cheese (I’m not a fan of milk). In an earlier post I talked about how random tastes appear from certain sounds. I doubt that it’s syn related b/c they’re not consistent. I knew that the milky “taste” would not come back, but now I just don’t wanna hear the song anymore.

Sketchbook Entry #1: The “Pretty” Ones

Friday I was compelled to finally draw something syn-related after staring a my blank sketchbook page for a coupla minutes. I started with 5 in the center – I just felt a little partial to him at the time. Then I thought, “I should put all the matching colors and letters together. Yeah, that’d be pretty.” I even got to add their genders!

I used water color and kinda let the paint lightly bleed into the paper. (It’s a surprisingly fun medium to work with!) Not totally satisfied with the outcome though… Overall I find it very refreshing to finally see all my pretty letters & numbers bundled together. The rest are kinda ugly and even more difficult to get the color right. L, F, & G in particular are difficult to determine, often ranging from manila-folder-brown, black, or dirt-brown color for some reason.

*Just realized I forgot good ol’ Z. He is golden yellow just like 8. Might add him later. 9 is fairly prominent (she is an orange-y color like P & H), but I don’t want to bother with her. She’s not very nice and probably wouldn’t be grateful anyway.

Sound/Smell Synesthesia? Or a Case of the Crazies?

Sound/Smell Synesthesia? Or a Case of the Crazies?

I always hear other synesthetes say that over time they discover new variations of syn they possess. For a while I found it really odd to discover that (for example) associating colors with sound is a thing and several months later realize that you have spatial-time syn. I figured that once you read up on the different types & descriptions, all would be clear…all at once ¯\(°_o)/¯

I have been in denial about having other variations besides color-grapheme and OLP. I just couldn’t relate to other synnies’ descriptions of spectacular purple explosions of A minor or tasting burnt rubber when the teacher calls Robert Miller’s name. It all seemed so wild and foreign to me. Surely I would have noticed long ago if Angela smelled like baked apples, right? WRONG.

I think I have sound/sight-smell synesthesia… The only problem is that I don’t know what exactly triggers the sensations. I simply breathe in and *whoosh* suddenly smell — sometimes taste– sugar cookies, buttery biscuits, Twizzlers, pizza, or even woody pine scents. These are very delicious moments might I add. It’s very random and doesn’t happen again, even if I am watching a video and rewind back to the moment the sensation occurred; not even when I’m hungry.

So either I’m screwed up in the head and my mind isn’t on the same page as my stomach, or it’s synesthesia. What do you think?

A “Case of the Mondays?” Monday is Actually Nice Once You Get to Know Her…

C’mon, guys! Monday isn’t so bad. I hate going to school one Mondays myself, but at least I’ve gotten to know the poor girl before I decided I hated her.

Yes, Monday is a girl. Normally, the word “Monday” would look like the first typography– each letter has a unique color. Sometimes when a word contains a letter that is brightly colored (like M, D, or A for instance), the dominant color seems to represent the entire word more than the dull colors.

I hope that made sense… \(。ヘ°)/

Anyway, since M is a deep purple color, it dominates the word. White tags along too and puts “holes” in the word. For some reason, Monday as a whole “feels” like a lavender-white-pink color. But I could easily tell you what color each letter actually is. That’s just the way Monday is!

As for personality, Monday is quite pleasant and optimistic. Her maturity level indicates that she is not young, but not too old. As a concrete reference point, I would associate her with a Mother Nature, sitting on a hilly field surrounded by lavender colored plants.