Daniel Tammet knows nothing


 I read his last book, read the article in the Independent, read the intro to his new book and watched the interview on the BBC news. Daniel Tammets new book ‘Embracing The Wide Sky’ is on my amazon wishlist, and ‘will’ be bought. I love the fact that this man can explain more about how the mind works than all the experts combined. 

If you don’t know, Daniel is an Autistic Savant just like the real ‘Rain Man’ Kim Peek, but with the perfectly capable social skills to explain what goes on in his mind that allows for incredible mathematical calculations and feats of memory. 

I have an interest in neurological conditions, and how the mind percieves things for the average person, so to be able to read in detail about how things appear to Daniel is too good to be missed. I love the idea that the fresh approaches I can buy and read about in this book, from my local bookshop, is also the very moment that some of the most influencial thinkers and experts will also discover these new ways and possibly make them re-examine what they know. 

Deep down I really want, some people to go ‘umkay, perhaps I’ll have to change what I thought about the mind now’. 

Why do I want this to happen? Because I want to have faith in our uniqueness. I want the experts to realise that they know nothing, that they can theorise as much as they want, but one shred of tiny new evidence, can blow the whole thing out of the water and make people start from scratch. I don’t think this because I want people to fail, I don’t think this because I want people to work harder and longer to redo all the good work that they’ve done. I want to believe in humanities greatest fear, that really, deep down, we really don’t know much at all. 

I like that idea. This is something that I find very calming in knowing that we are pretty helpless, very unique and just as uncertain now, as we were at the beginning of humanity. 

Further more, regarding the book specifically, I want to disagree with Daniel. I want to read his accurate details, of how the mind works and know in complete confidence, that he’s wrong. Wrong for me. And probably wrong for most of us. This is the uniqueness I believe in.

This is what I want to read about and discover, that those theories, those ideas, those incredible insights, don’t work for me, and that Daniels mind is ‘right’ for Daniel, but not myself. And that Daniel is no authority at all on how my own mind works. 

I want to believe that the thing that makes us so ‘samey’, so categorically penned in as being ‘human’, is that knowledge that each and everyone of us is completely different from the next – we can all see it on the outside of us, I just want confirmation that it is true about the inside of us too – and what better place to start than our minds and how we interpret what we see. 

mark

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