View Full Version : Synaestesia

Jack Heinlen
04-21-2005, 02:16 PM
I'm pretty sure that's not how you spell it, but a blending of the senses. It's not in the common vernacular, but is being studied and written about a lot.

For example, when walking along the road the other day I heard voices in the ditch water. It wasn't imagination, and voices in water have a long provenance.

I think, typically, they lock us up. But something untypical is maybe happening.

This land is old. Geologists say some of the oldest earth on terra firma is this gnarled and twisted gneiss. I nod to Mr. Beatham, but he's only eighty. People have walked it, cultivated it, been with it for 8,000 years. That's just history.

Walking the road the other day I heard their voices in the water flowing in the ditches. No one will convince me I didn't.

04-21-2005, 02:30 PM
I cannot imagine why anyone would try.

04-21-2005, 02:31 PM
that would be Synaesthesia "sensation in part of body by stimulus elsewhere, production of mental sense impression by stimulation of another sense".

For example, some musically talented people have a tendency to assign colours to musical sounds. (There's at least one famous composer, whose name escapes me at the moment, who claimed this ability.)

However, I'm not sure if hearing voices in the sound of ditch water exactly applies. Both are auditory in nature. Perhaps animism, the worship of spirits in earth/air/animals, applies. The Celts and Druids particularly worshipped the spirits that lived in water, springs, lakes etc. (The Lady of the Lake springs to mind.)

[ 04-21-2005, 03:34 PM: Message edited by: WWheeler ]

04-21-2005, 02:41 PM
please share, speaking the language of rocks. We all know words. The rocks don't need words.

04-21-2005, 02:53 PM
Jack, I'm not sure hearing voices is a good thing.

04-21-2005, 03:04 PM
The composer Jean Sibelius is said to have had this. He "saw" music in colours, meaning that every note had its distinctive hue. Whether he had it from birth or whether he developed it later is not known.

AFAIK, colour-hearing is the most common type of synaesthesia. Another form is seeing letters and numbers in different colours. Also, smells and sounds can have colours, and also forms. I think it is not at all uncommon with small children.

Some researchers say it is only an extreme form of association which can also be aquired through learning.

Im not sure if sound modification (as in your case) could be classified as synaesthesia.

04-21-2005, 03:06 PM
Mushrooms will do it too... ;)

Jack Heinlen
04-21-2005, 03:09 PM
Nice Chris, very nice. Another example of just how narrow our minds become.


A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green
stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see
and remark, and say Whose?

Chris Coose
04-21-2005, 03:16 PM
I used to take them walks Jack on those back roads.

It could be the peepers but it's preety easy to tell them from rocks.

04-21-2005, 03:22 PM
that's it, Jorma, Sibelius.

Joe (SoCal)
04-21-2005, 03:23 PM
I do it all the time as a designer I would constantly think of shapes as sounds. Sometimes I would say that shape just does not SOUND rite. I also apply color to numbers 2 has always been yellow 5 red etc. I can also see 3D visually out in front of me rotate them in space and see all sides. I just used to consider it an occupational hazard. I have such a God awful memory for dates and numbers but I can walk through a home now and have a total photographic image of it I can draw a scale floor-plan on a napkin a month later. We all have our cool things that's mine.

Funny story I helped design my wife's wedding band. After I gave it to her we wanted to have it engraved with our wedding date. While it was being engraved she was describing it to a friend. I said no thats not the shape of the ring. We got into an argument and I went and did a CAD drawing of the ring. When we got the ring back she was amazed that the ring fit the drawing EXACTLY, she never questioned that one thing about me again. She questions a bunch of other things about me all the time LOL. She knows I cant remember dates or times or numbers so she takes care of all that for me.

[ 04-21-2005, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

Jack Heinlen
04-21-2005, 03:25 PM
Hyla Crucifer. Had one of the little blighters on my stoop last year. Beautiful critter, that brown skin, and a perfect cross, inscribed like it was Guttenburg, right there on his back.

BTW, this probably isn't important to the general frog population, which is probably doing just fine, but if you find a frog, and want to pick it up, soak your hands a bit. Their skin is so sensitive, and wants to be wet, that a dry hand will actually harm the animal.

04-21-2005, 03:53 PM
Joe, I have heard it has been associated with highly creative people. Also, I hear this capacity has been tremendously useful as a memory aid for some people. Consider yourself blessed... smile.gif

04-21-2005, 04:19 PM
Joe, a lot of automobile designers work the same way. If something doesn't feel right to any of the 5 senses then something's wrong with design. This can be something a subtle as needing to shave 1/2 an inch of a quarter panel or needing to change the pyle on the carpet by an ounce.

04-21-2005, 04:36 PM
Originally posted by Jack Heinlen:
Hyla Crucifer. Had one of the little blighters on my stoop last year. Beautiful critter, that brown skin, and a perfect cross, inscribed like it was Guttenburg, right there on his back.
Jack, that's incredible. We have a toad down here, Bufo crucifer. It is not closely related to Hyla at all, but it has the same cross on its back, which is where the species name (crucifer = cross bearer) comes from. It is endemic to the Serra do Mar, the coastal mountain range where we live. (BTW, endemic = found nowhere else).

Sometimes, when hearing frogs, or birds, or possums, an image of the critter flashes vivid in my mind. A form of synesthesia, I suppose...

Jack Heinlen
04-21-2005, 07:39 PM
It snowed here last night, so the frogs are a bit slow thawing.

I've never seen the woodfrog, who makes up a good part of the pond's chorus here. The peeper, the Hyla crucifer, is a real tree frog IIRC. It has those big pads on its toes.

I'll have to learn more about the woodfrog. I'm not even sure what it looks like. I believe its smaller than a peeper, which is only an inch or so long.

Saw a program on the Seychelles the other night. Another Galapagos, of sorts. The only other population of giant tortise, apart from those on the Galapagos Islands. Same critter, if you can believe Nova. Half the world away. Remarkable that they, alone on their islands, haven't changed much in some sixty million years. Hit oil? Quit drillin'.

There is also a frog there that doesn't need water to breed. The tadpoles mature to frog-dome completely within their eggs, and hatch, miniature frogs, on dry land!

If there is a god, he sure has an interesting eye.

Memphis Mike
04-21-2005, 10:17 PM
Originally posted by LeeG:
please share, speaking the language of rocks. We all know words. The rocks don't need words.:D

04-22-2005, 06:29 AM
This one and its relatives have a neat trick.

They lay eggs in bromeliads on treetops, one egge per bromeliad, even though they are ground-living frogs. There are no predators in the bromeliad cups, but also no food. So the female remembers where she laid the eggs, and every day or so climbs up to each bromeliad and lays an infertile egg, to serve as food for the tadpole.

04-22-2005, 06:45 AM
This guy lives on the forest floor, in the same area as the one above. It really needs no water at all to breed.
We found its nest in here, in the hole at the base of this stump:

And here are the eggs, laid inside a gelatine that keeps them moist, on a leaf inside the hole in the stump. You can just about see the developing little frogs. No tadpoles, they'll hatch fully formed, as they don't have any water to swim in. Only a few eggs are laid on each site, as most will end up eaten...