Unexpected Geniuses


I've been watching quite a few 'Extraordinary People' (and related) documentaries lately, and while some document people that have been living through some extreme disabilities and dealing with all that it entails everyday, I was most intrigued by how it seems that some autistic people end up being geniuses in one particular area. This is related to savant syndrome, though only 50% of savants have autism. Perhaps you're thinking you'd want to be a genius at more than one thing, but isn't that all you really need? To be great at one thing?

From savants that can do calculations up to 100 decimal places (not to mention memorising Pi up to 22,514 digits, learning a language in a week, and so on...), to artistic geniuses, to musical geniuses and memory whizzes. But it seems with these great abilities can also come with great disabilities, such as one artistic genius having the emotional development of a child still, and therefore being unable to communicate even as his art got richer. Still, one savant, Daniel Tammet, has been able to shed some light on it.

"Savants can't usually tell us how they do what they do. It just comes to them. Daniel can describe what he sees in his head. That's why he's exciting. He could be the 'Rosetta Stone'."
- Processor Allan Snyder (ANU)

The brain really is an intriguing organ, and I constantly doubt that I put mine to good enough use — but the needs of the body outweigh. Guess I'm just too tired all the time. Nonetheless, I should be thankful for a functional body when I see what can happen when this organ is damaged, even though its adaptive capabilities are equally formidable.

I'm curious about watching Rain Man now, as well as checking out some of Tammet's books! Additionally interested in reading up about this, but it just comes to show that we more than likely all have a little bit of something. What's normal?