Leif Vollebekk is a Canadian indie folk singer-songwriter, and a synesthete.
A person with synesthesia experiences a secondary sense along with the expected sense. Its definition can be found in its name – the combination of two Greek words, syn (together) and aisthesis (perception), i.e. "joined perception."
In Leif’s form of synesthesia, he experiences colour with sound (to hear him discuss it in relation to music, start at the 12:00 mark).
Leif’s information came up when I was trying to find an interview that was on the radio on Saturday. At first, I thought I found it but the part of the interview that caught my attention isn’t in Lief’s interview.
Hopefully I remember this correctly: The Saturday person was speaking about classical music and how chaotic it was for him, except for Finnish composer, Julius Sibelius, whose music is mostly white with some blue.
Our uniqueness makes us special, makes perception valuable - but it can also make us lonely. This loneliness is different from being 'alone': You can be lonely even surrounded by people. The feeling I'm talking about stems from the sense that we can never fully share the truth of who we are. I experienced this acutely at an early age.
It was a pink sort of smell- a smell that seemed to get bigger as you smelled it and then burst, just like the popping of a bubble
~Alexander McCall Smith, Explosive Adventures
- We all assume everyone experiences the world in the same way, to the point we don’t question our basic sensory experiences. Just as we don’t think we have to explain gravity because we all experience it, someone who has always seen orange when the number three is said, wouldn’t think to talk to anyone about it.
2. The unusual pairing can cause unexpected issues, such as the experience of chaos for the interviewee mentioned above. Imagine the difficulty the interviewee would have in this scenario:
It is often suggested to use classical music, especially baroque, when studying. Instead of finding it relaxing, he would find it more difficult to study with the background chaos of the music, and would be confused at other people’s insistence that its useful. It’s doubtful he would think to mention the chaos of colours because of the assumption that “everyone experiences it”.
3. Synesthesia, like autism, is highly individualized.One magazinereports there are over 60 different types, and that 5% of the populate has some experience of it. A synesthete might experience the number 5 as green or the word hello as the flavour of coffee. For a striking example of the difference between the usual and a synesthete’s experience of a page of numbers, go here.
4. Someone’s dislike of a perception, for example, the sound of a doorbell, might have nothing to do with the sensory experience as we identify it but a completely different sense, for example, the flavour of vinegar that is experienced whenever the doorbell rings.
5. Synesthesia appears to be more common in people with autism than the general population.
6. Although some studies state that it is more common in females, that could be recruitment bias.
7. If you are a neurotypical synesthete, you probably experience it as a gift. If you have autism and synesthesia, it may not feel like such a blessing.
- If reading the above sounds exhausting, I'm with you - makes me want to curl up and take a nap.
If you have trouble sleeping, even when you feel like you could sleep for days, try either our uniblanket (one piece)or our2-piece blankets to send you to Neverland.
Have a fully experienced, but not overwhelming or confusing, sensory week.*
Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,
P.S. And may you also have problem-free tech year.
I thought I left my tech troubles behind in 2017 when I got a new hard drive in October and a more intensive software check over Christmas. So far in 2018, I've had a minor software glitch that necessitated a return to the computer person, a wireless printer that is having identity issues and wants to be connected via USB but is not ready to fully commit to the new identity, and internet issues. I probably still know less about computers than the average person but that is more than I wanted to know.
A smooth-running computer system - I hope to see that on my gratitude list someday soon. Hope it is already on yours.