Low-Def Life

I have an experiment for you all – go to the Control Panel on your computer and click on Ease of Access Center >Make the computer easier to see>Choose a High Contrast color scheme. Now pick a high contrast setting, hit apply and try to use it all day as you do your work. Report your results in comments below. 

Do you remember the first time you saw Hi-Def TV? And how it took time to adjust to looking at it? Maybe it made you slightly uncomfortable or even a little nauseous. Have you ever had sea-legs, when you step off the boat and you feel that world is just not moving right? How about a swirling-drunk head where your visual perception changes? You know that annoying tingling sensation you get in your lip when the Novocain from the dentist first starts to wear off? How about that feeling of a moment of stupid – when you see someone you know, but you can’t remember their name? Oh, wait, I know – do you find it particularly hard to communicate over IM sometimes when your friend writes a disjointed, cryptic sentence and you don’t know whether they meant to emphasize one word or another, which would completely change the meaning?

Now imagine that somewhere inside your head there is a trigger that someone else has their finger on, and without warning it could go off at anytime, allowing all of those sensations to hit you at once, all over your body. Boom! Then times the intensity by one hundred or so and pass out. This is what a seizure is like.


Maybe you are at work, in the middle of sex, driving, caring for your child, grocery shopping, out with friends, or home alone with no one to help you. You won’t see any of this coming. It will just hit you one day and you realize your life will never be the same again. There is no going back. There is no cure. This is it – you will be constantly wondering when it will happen again.

Then imagine for a minute, that you could take a magic pill that would take it away. But it would take away other things too – shapes would change; colors would change; words would be hard to find; emotions would no longer have associations or meanings. Nothing you have ever known or experienced in your life would seem quite real. It would be a shallow, flat, and desolate experience. I wish I could tell you more, but how can I tell you the shape and color of Mozart? I could say that his music is substantially blue and green and to the left and down and to the right and up and then behind you. Rachmaninoff, on the other hand, expands from the center of your head, just behind your jaw is orangish-reddish-peachy and swirls at the edges. Not just one song. All of their songs. I can know something was written by Mozart without ever having heard it before – it’s like recognizing the face of someone you know in various photographs even if you haven’t seen that particular picture of them.

Synesthetes do not know that anything is “wrong.” They recognize their synesthesia early in life but without external input, they will not realize that what they are experiencing (colors, tastes, sensations) is unique. In the eyes of a color-graphemic synesthete, her synesthetic percepts are shared by the whole world. When the synesthete does recognize that he or she is doing something unusual, he or she may be reluctant to discuss what’s going on for fear of being labeled a freak, shunned, misunderstood, accused of lying, or even diagnosed with a mental illness. It is common for a synesthete to remain silent about his or her synesthesia for decades until a magazine article or radio program makes the synesthete realize that she’s not alone and he’s not crazy. – synesthesia project

A study done at the Center for brain and cognition, UCSD, La Jolla, suggests that S2 receptors for Serotonin play a major role in syensthesia. http://cogns.northwestern.edu/dbrang/images/Brang_MedHyp_2008.pdf 

Keppra has a strong effect on the inhibition of S2 receptors for Serotonin. 

Autism and epilepsy occur with synesthesia more often than chance predicts.

I have this little magic pill – I take it for Epilepsy. It’s called Keppra.


This is the most bland, colorless, tasteless dish I can think of to give you a taste of what a world without Synesthesia is like. Don’t worry, I hear it’s very healthy for you. This is how I experience the world now. Not too exciting.

Plain Tofu

plain_tofu_block (1)

  • One brick of Tofu, medium firm

Heat in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, or until it is about the same temperature as your mouth.

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