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Daniel Tammet is quite normal to listen to and look at. But he can memorize a ridiculous part of the string of numbers of the number pi. Besides that, it is proven that he can learn a very hard language in just one week. What’s incredible about this talent, is that he just sees the answers appear before his eyes. He doesn’t conscientiously calculate the very hard calculations he does, but visualizes them in mental landscapes. Daniel has Synesthesia, which is a ‘condition’ that causes the people that have it to mix up different sorts of sensual input, like sound, color, shape and other perceivable phenomena.
His case goes against most current theories on how the human mind works, because his calculations seem to be done in his subconscious, in an intuitive way.
Some activities are so obscure they should be given some extra attention. How about: keeping track of anything on the web with “[…] is the new […]” in it? Well, here’s a diagram of the results. ‘Staying in’ is the new ‘going out’? ‘Used’ is the new ‘new’? More disturbingly: ‘scar tissue’ is the new ‘black’?
This is a really cool concept, especially usefull for creative people, that need heaps of weird, uncommon or totally logical associations to words that you couldn’t come up with yourself. It’s initiatives like these, that take us to a World 2.0 and the development of the Homo Digitalis.
Neuroplasticity is so cool! More and more neurologists come to the conclusion that the mind is far more flexible than was generally believed by scientists in the not-so-far-away past. The theory used to be:
“After your 18th birthday, your minds only decayes, with no chance of recovering any of the lost cells and brainpower. If your brain is damaged, that’s it. Everybody’s neurotopology (the location of brain functions) is the same and old people haven’t got a chance in improving their brainpower significantly because their cells are simply gone. FYI: we use only 10% of our brains.”
These ideas are changing dramatically. More and more it is believed that our brains rearrange themselves in very smart ways. There is indeed a localization of functions in the brain that is similar in most people, but studies have shown that the brains start rearranging themselves when the need occurs. When there’s a high demand for a certain brain function, the brain reconnects itself. Also, neurologists are abandoning the theory that we use only 10% of our brain. It’s just that we’re not using everything simultaneously.
OK … so what? Well, it means that you have the ability to learn anything you want. The neuroplastic nature of your mind opens a world of possibilities: what you feed your brain, is what your brain becomes. Feel depressed? Are you thinking about your misery all the time? The brain will adapt, to make sure you see misery everywhere you look. Make you want to think about what you’re thinking.
Wanna learn a language after 50? This is definitely possible. All it needs is the right attention, motivation, dedication and above all the knowledge it is even possible. Your brain is very much like a muscle. Don’t exercise it? Don’t expect to get yourself a ‘hard’ brain. Start exercising today!
Compare humans to cells. Compare highways to bloodvessels. Compare data-cables to a nervous system, and the internet to our collective memory. Try to imagine mankind organizing itself as one organism. This is not the Matrix, or even the future. This is real, right now.
Many people aren’t fully aware of this yet, but in the past year or two, the internet has changed dramatically, again. Data is now, through initiatives like del.icio.us and Digg clustering together in more organic ways. Information is shared more real-time and open than ever before, and faster than the established media will ever be able to compete with.
Let me show you an example of what the internet is becoming. I stumbled upon this today: ‘the Arc’, at Digg Labs. Now if you first look at it you might think: “so?”. Well, this is a direct view into the current interests of a very substantial part of people online, in real-time. This is one of the synapses that are currently evolving on the web, where data is processed organically, unmoderated. One person posts a story at Digg, another might Digg this story too, and another. In a matter of minutes, a certain popular site can become totally flooded with visitors. And there are three other visual data tools also, called Stack, Swarm and Bigspy. Check them out.
Don’t you adore the visual representation of this otherwise numeric/textual data? Initiatives like these really blow a soul into the internet, make it feel like a lively place, where things influence one another in dramatic, massive, and ever surprising ways. Sometimes I wonder if the ‘old world’ of hierarchy and order has even the faintest idea that the very concept of power and the ownership of intellectual property is changing for ever, and there is no way back.
However, as with all change, it is neither good or bad by definition. It’s just change.
Everything and everybody is growing together. We’re becoming more connected to the world and our IQ’s are going up, but we’re more naked than before, and our safety is threatened in ways nobody could have even imagined a few years back, and I’m not speaking of terrorism. Bad things are more organised, but so are the good initiatives. We are aware on a much larger scale. We become angry together, at dumb people starting dumb wars for dumb reasons, for all the world to see in broad daylight. We also appreciate more together, for instance art that is not recognized by the established art clique, because it’s not from an established artist. We see a work of creation and we like it or not. In a way, we’re becoming more shallow and general, but on the other hand we’re collectively becoming much more aware of what’s outside the box. We have more potential to grow, but also to suffocate. We share it all easily and freely, and very actively; together!
Don’t you love the world and time we live in?
Great things are coming our way.
Both good and bad.
Fasten your seatbelts.
It’s going to be rough…