G and I watched Rain Man last night. If you haven’t seen the 1984 movie, it stars Dustin Hoffman as Raymond Babbitt, an autistic savant. Screenwriter, Barry Morrow, based the character on Kim Peek, an American man who lived from 1951-2009. Peek was the subject of much scientific study and it was determined by medical scientists that Peek was not autistic, but rather a mega savant with FG syndrome, similar to Down’s syndrome in that it is linked to the X chromosome. FG syndrome causes physical anomalies like low muscle tone and an abnormally large head. When given traditional psychological testing, Peek scored lower than average with an IQ of 67 and had difficulty with motor skills like walking and dressing himself.
Like the movie character, Raymond Babbitt, Peek had instant recall and a photographic memory. From the time he was a small child he read books, memorizing them with one read and retaining the information indefinitely. He could read two pages at once, one with each eye! He was able to do highly advanced math and calculate the day of the week for any date on the calendar as well as remember events that were in the news on that day. He enjoyed sharing information with strangers about their birth date.
Peek’s mega savant condition was the result of “brain damage.” He was born with a condition in which the bundles of nerves that connect the two hemispheres of the brain are missing. Speculation is that his mega-memory was the result of the way in which his neurons made unusual connections due to the absence of a corpus callosum.
Learning about Kim Peek triggered a lot of questions in my mind about the capacity of our human minds.
Is it possible that with the right neurons connecting we all would have photographic minds with infinite memories and computer-like calculating abilities? Would I even enjoy that mind? If my mind has the capability for such greatness what does it take to tap into that resource? Is it simply the luck of the draw that some brains are born with neuron configurations that create conditions for particular skills and abilities? Is “talent” based on the way the cells of the brain fell into place as we were developing? What is happening that allows for one person to live a life dependent on their five senses while others have a highly developed sixth sense? What techniques, practices or behaviors affect the brain’s cellular structure?
These are all questions I may never have answers to and I’m okay with that. It is just fun to speculate. I have ideas based on experience regarding the last one. Although I haven’t any of Kim Peeks memory or mathematical abilities I have developed my sixth sense through practice and techniques. The technique of meditation seems to give me more clarity and it appears that a lot of useless thoughts falls away and my mind better focuses on whatever is serving me. Through the practice of CranioSacral Therapy for nearly twenty years I have developed the ability to “listen” deeply to the body. This ability is dependent on a sixth sense supported by the other five. I believe that our “brains” are not only in our head but in every cell of the body. When I am “listening” to another body, I am using my own body as a navigational system to pick up information coming from the other. Since I can do this over the phone as well as in person there is definitely something going on here beyond the basic five senses.
Where does this “knowing” come from? I think we all have a part of ourselves I call the “all knowing.” The “all knowing” is present in every cell as the brain is present in every cell. When we are able to let go of the ego’s need to “know it all,” ironically, the “all knowing” is able to surface.
Sir David R. Hawkins M., died last year. He was a nationally renowned psychiatrist, physician, researcher, spiritual teacher, writer and lecturer. His early works, included the co-authorship of Orthomolecular Psychiatry with Nobelist Linus Pauling. In 1996 I read his newly published book, Power vs Force, The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior.
Dr. Hawkins said, “With humility comes the willingness to stop trying to control or change other people or life situations or events ostensibly ‘for their own good’. To be a committed spiritual seeker, it is necessary to relinquish the desire to be ‘right’ or of imaginary value to society. In fact, nobody’s ego or belief systems are of any value to society at all. The world is neither good nor bad nor defective, nor is it in need of help or modification because its appearance is only a projection of one’s own mind. No such world exists.”
The concepts put forth in Power vs Force supported my burgeoning beliefs about the brain and the power that is within the minds of us all, if only we can discover the secrets to tapping into it.