The Synesthetic Mindset

 I discovered I had synesthesia through a Wikipedia article. I was interested in what it had to say about the 2006 film Stranger Than Fiction, a film about an insurance auditor whose life is narrated by an omniscient voice, and the article had theories on where the character’s onscreen thought process came from. Synesthesia was a main suggestion, and I ended up discovering that my own thought process was not like everyone else’s.


There’s also the synesthetic one. And in that, you have even more different categories.

Synesthesia is a completely different mindset. It’s like a mash-up similar to what I mentioned above, but all via colour or texture. Some people have grapheme-colour synesthesia – words or meanings are coloured a certain way. One is orange, two is blue, three is violet and so on. The days of the week are categorized by colour. Others see a colour or texture – and it reminds them of a certain smell, or gives it to them. Or perhaps they see a purple shirt and it’s visually "loud" to them.

The type I’m going to focus on, the type I have, is sound-colour synesthesia. Some have very light perceptions through this – only certain sounds, or music, gives them a full colourful perception. My synesthesia combines sound-colour with spatial perception and mild imagery recall. It’s a mixture but I’ll be focusing more on the sound-colour aspect.

I use sound-colour synesthesia to comprehend everything in general, meaning it’s not merely dependent on sound and not just colours with a spatial sense. Textures are involved as well, combined with some imagery.

My own synesthetic 'backdrop' of the Phil Collins song 'Another Day in Paradise'

My own synesthetic 'backdrop' of the Phil Collins song 'Another Day in Paradise'

In general, it’s an extremely complicated yet vibrant way of thinking that enables me to think, to remember, to learn music by ear and to respond to things emotionally. In the next few posts I’ll be detailing and touching upon most facets of this mental comprehension, though to be honest it’s so deep and complicated that I’ll be barely scratching the surface. I have many other posts, however, on my other personal blog, The Ottawan (see posts tagged with ‘synesthesia’) if anyone is interested in delving further than what I have to offer here.

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Justin S. Campbell

Justin Scott Campbell (born June 22nd, 1991) is a writer & photographer from Ottawa, Canada. He holds a diploma in Photography and is completing one in writing. His interests particularly include writing songs both lyrically and musically, archiving and taking aerial photos, keeping records, and sometimes researching human attraction. He was diagnosed at the age of twelve as high-functioning with Asperger’s Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum disorder, and was born with Synesthesia. He is an only child, left-handed, hates math and loves uniqueness, or originality.

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