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Exceptional Mental Abilities

It is often said that to prove that white crows exist, all that is necessary to do is to find one white crow. When it comes to exceptional abilities in humans, one only has to study those individuals that have demonstrated these capabilities. Although these individuals sometimes have mental deficiencies on one or more areas they often excel in other areas. Is this the result of the brain compensating for the deficiencies? Is it the result of some other aspect of ordinary consciousness relinquishing control or certain aspects of mind / brain functioning to allow other aspects to flourish? Or, finally is it the result of tapping into non-local mind (e.g. an aspect of consciousness  existing beyond ordinary space and time)? Furthermore, if these capabilities are real (as they have been demonstrated throughout the literature), is it possible for ordinary people to train their minds to achieve these same gifts?

For our purposes we shall consider the following abilities that have been demonstrated and are available for review in the literature:

Savant Syndrome - This is generally considered to be a person of limited intelligence that shows exceptional mental abilities or talents in one or more other (narrow) areas. It can occur in people with developmental disabilities (autism) or sometimes after severe head trauma. The specific types often include:

  • Music ability - A common talent that often manifests is the occurence of musical genius. These savants can play an entire musical composition after hearing it only once.

  • Mathematical calculations - this is often demonstrated by the demonstration of instant calculations (in the mind) of various mathematical calculations such as multiplication, division, square roots, calculating prime numbers and the like.

  • Calculating Dates - this includes the ability to identify the day of the week in which a particular date falls even when they are hundreds or thousands of years in the future or the past.

  • Incredible feats of memorization - These people can memorize entire phone books, transportation schedules, books encyclopedias, etc. after looking at them just one time.

  • Artistic talents - These refer to drawing or other artistic talents such as painting or sculpting, etc.

  • Language abilities - These includes the ability to quickly pick up foreign languages including reading, writing or even poetry.

Photographic Memory - This is also known as eidetic memory and is the ability to recall images, sounds or objects in memory after only a few instants of exposure to whatever is being perceived. In this case the skill is not restricted to idiot savants but occurs in the general population and especially in children.

Synesthesia - This is a perception from a particular sensory mechanism (sight, sound, etc.) that leads to a response (e.g. mental image) normally associated with a totally different sensory stimulation. For example, musical notes can be associated with colors or smells. In other cases letters or sounds are perceived as associated with different colors, etc. In still others different colors are associated with different smells. At present there does not appear to be a neurological correlate to synesthesia and therefore the cause of this ability is unknown. For more information see The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sacks

Hyperthymesia - This is a rare condition where individuals have almost prefect recall of every day of their entire life. This is sometimes considered a variation of photographic memory. While it may be a blessing for pleasant moments of one's life, it may be a curse for the unpleasant moments.

Disabled senses - Sometimes people with senses disabled in one area (e.g. sight) compensate by developing extraordinary abilities with other perceptual mechanisms (such as echolocation). Hellen Keller is said to have had such an ability. It is most likely to occur when the disability happened either prenatally or very early after birth during times of critical brain development.

For more information click on the following:

Consciousness defined
Consciousness issues
Survival of Consciousness
Mediumship Case Study
Spontaneous Healings
Spiritually Transformative Experiences

Check out additional references on our Recommended Readings page

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