Do you imagine savoring the red color? Do you hear the sound of blue? Or taste the words? Although these questions seem out of context, this phenomenon is possible thanks to a particular condition: synesthesia. Synesthesia is defined as the joint or deferred assimilation of various types of sensations – of different senses – in the same perceptual act. That is, a synesthetic can hear colors, see sounds, or perceive taste while touching an object with a certain texture.
It’s not that I associate it or feel it: it really does feel it
How do synestesics perceive color? The basic idea is that they perceive by means of correspondences, for example: touching a smooth surface can make them feel an equally smooth taste. Some synesthetics even associate colors with numbers. Therefore, synesthesia is a range of sensations, since there are many types of manifestations of this condition.
What does science say about this phenomenon? Scientists at the University of California believe that synesthesia is due to a cross-activation of adjacent areas of the brain that process different sensory information. This crossing could be explained by a failure in the connection of the nerves between the different areas when the brain develops inside the uterus.
One of the great virtues of synaesthesia is that it can happen when one of the senses is damaged, for example: a person who sees colors when he hears words can continue to perceive them even if he loses his sight. However, this phenomenon is also linked to autism and some types of epilepsy.
Undoubtedly, one of the great examples of this disorder is the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, who comments on this:
The violins, the deep tones of the contrabasses, and especially the wind instruments, then embodied for me the full force of the twilight hours. I saw all my colors in my mind, they were before my eyes. Wild lines, almost maddened, drew in front of me.
Kandinsky expressed the communion between the artist and the viewer as made available to both the senses and the mind (synesthesia). Listening to tones and chords while painting, Kandinsky stated that, for example, yellow is the color of center C on a brass trumpet, black is the color of the close and the end of things, and that color combinations produce vibrational frequencies Similar to the chords played on a piano. Kandinsky also developed a theory of geometric figures and their relationships, stating that the circle is the most peaceful form and represents the human soul.
It is thanks to these statements that one of his most famous texts, From Spirituality in Art, was published in 1911. Kandinsky’s book compares the artistic and spiritual evolution of the human with a pyramid, where the point is occupied by the great artists While slowly advancing and descending. For Kandinsky, the decadent periods of humanity represent a point where the soul sinks to the bottom of the pyramid. He describes it as a time when humanity seeks only external success, ignoring spiritual forces.
Does it sound familiar?
Synesthesia and Kandinsky surely can teach us much about the subtleties of the mind and its perceptions; But above all that art – especially color – can be a great tool for our spiritual evolution.