Once, as part of a reality show, almost in front of shocked viewers, he learned Icelandic in a week. He can easily reproduce up to 22,514 decimal places in Pi, knows at least ten languages thoroughly, writes books, draws. There are almost no mathematical problems with which he could not cope. His intellectual abilities are truly incredible.
In appearance, he is no different from ordinary people. But he is autistic. Or rather, a highly functional savant autist. This condition is quite rare, only ten percent of autists have the skills of savants. These people have incredible mental abilities, but at the same time have no idea about society, adaptation and survival in it.
The condition of Daniel Tammet is even rarer. Unlike other savants, he possesses self-reflection. Usually, people with such abilities cannot talk about their actions, knowledge just pops into their heads. Neither they nor the scientists can explain this. But Tammet can describe what he sees in his head.
Often, when people get to know him and find out about him, Tammet sees that some awkwardness arises. Almost everyone has a desire to ask something. And usually they are asked to recite some text, or talk about cubic roots. But he does not like to make a show with calculations. He considers it more interesting to give an understanding of how his mind works. He believes that our personal perception is at the bottom of how we acquire knowledge. And using his own example, he proves that aesthetic judgments rather than abstract conclusions direct and shape the process by which we learn what we know.
At the age of four, the boy suffered an epileptic seizure. From that moment on, he began to see numbers as some kind of unique shapes with their own texture and color. His perception of the world is completely different from the ordinary. For example, the unit is a flash of white light. Six is a small and very sad black hole. Three green. Four blue. Five yellow. His world of words and numbers is mixed with emotions and character. But the most interesting thing is that when Daniel adds numbers, he doesn’t immerse himself in the process of calculation, he doesn’t need to think. His answer is instant images. Two forms that merge together giving birth to a new one.
He often depicts three-dimensional figures, where the space formed between them creates a new figure, which becomes the result of a work. He is really obsessed with numbers. They are for him, like real living friends. Tammet cares about them, and feels a special emotional attachment to them. It sounds strange, but as this amazing person says, it’s not just the intellectual side of his personality. What he does with the numbers in his head is all about himself.
Unfortunately, often this talent is only a punishment. Brain Tammet clings to everything that happens. So, the trip to the supermarket turns into infinite calculations for him. Each composition of fruits or vegetables, each price tag, a long display of goods generates a vigorous intellectual process, which he is unable to control. He can not safely leave the store until everything is counted. For the same reason, he never walks along the local beach, near which he lives. Too many pebbles there. And the thought that there is a task that he could not solve brings Daniel almost physical pain.
His brain can not without a clear plan and perfect order. All his actions during the day have a clearly built structure. Everything he does is always consistent and happens at certain hours. Every day he must have lunch at the same time, or drink his cup of tea. Because of this, he will never go to work in a regular office.
“I can’t feel comfortable at the university. The setting will surely annoy me! I will try to find a job that will be orderly, logical, quiet, acceptable to me specifically, ”- with these words, Daniel Tammet approached his parents after graduation. He did not want to feel helplessly disabled, which sits on the neck of the parents. Therefore, Daniel Tammet organized his own website, where he offered himself as a tutor. He developed an individual methodology for teaching foreign languages, to which respondents from different countries responded. He also teaches private clients primary computing skills. Thanks to this activity, he became financially independent from his relatives. But let's not forget that he is autistic, and in all other areas of life he will always need help.
Thirst to explore the nature of perception, the way different types of outlook create completely different types of knowledge and understanding - has made Daniel Tammet also a talented writer. It was not only mathematical vertices that were subject to him. The American Library Association in 2008 named his book “Born on a Blue Day” the best book of the year for young people. His other book, Hugging the Huge Sky, has become the most replicated publication in many countries.
Posted by: Anna Baklaga