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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Rain Man Dan

Like the soul, the mind is a mysterious thing - the deeper you look, the more you wonder about what goes on in peoples' heads. I love trying to understand how people think, how they see the world, and every now and then you run across someone whose mind is extremely intriguing, someone who sees the world differently...

Daniel Tammet is a 26 year old autistic savant who knows 7 languages and sees numbers as colors, shapes, and textures. He can calculate cube roots faster than a calculator, and he recently memorized the value of PI to 22,514 decimal places (just to demonstrate he could do it). He also happens to be a Christian who likes G.K. Chesterton. And he is gay.

You can read more about him here, here and here.

While it would be fascinating to actually get to know someone like this, what strikes me more is the fact that Daniel Tammet demonstrates how little we actually know about the mind.

Nevertheless, we are often extremely confident in our own mental abilities - when faced with the reality of evil, we are sure there is no God; even if he does exist, he could not possibly speak to us through the Bible; even if he does speak, he could not possibly have a problem with me (after all, I'm one of the best people I know).

We are people of faith, believing utterly in ourselves.

Until we encounter people like Daniel Tammets, whose 22,000 digits wreak havoc on our definitions of "math whiz." Surely no one could do better than that, right? Hey, there's a guy in Tokyo whose got nearly twice Tammet's precision!

If a mere human is capable of such feats, why is the idea of an all-knowing God so inconceivable?


At 11:32 PM, February 19, 2005, Blogger Ellie said...

Wow...extraordinary blog! You are a powerful man of faith. It is truly beautiful to see your thoughts transparently shown reflecting the power of Christ's love in you! Blessings to you! I'm saying a prayer for you, my brother in Christ.


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