Home/Main Menu     Site Map

Record Type: Review   ID: 23

The Man Who Tasted Shapes: A Bizarre Medical Mystery Offers Revolutionary Insights Into Emotion, Reasoning and Consciousness

Cytowic, Richard E.

 In this book, a neurologist describes his efforts to explore synesthesia, or sensing things together, although usually it is one of the traditional five senses that is perceived in terms of another. For example, the first person Cytowic studied was a man who when eating or even contemplating eating imagined shapes, not tastes. He could even feel as well as see the shapes. Science would consider this synesthesia, and if not an anomaly, and if not, then certainly as an exceptional and rare human capacity. Investigating synesthesia became a project of transcendence (PT) for Cytowic, and by the end of his investigation and reporting on it in this book, he transforms the EE synesthesia into an EHE. The result of his PT, he-and he hopes, the reader at the end of reading his book-"will have a new view of the mind and what it means to be human...a radical view that turns inside out and upside down conventional ideas about reason, emotion, and who we are" (p. 8). He concludes from his studies that humans are not basically rational, and that to insist that they are is to limit severely our human potential. He closes with essays on the "theme that what you know as your conscious mind is not the arbiter of what is real and true. It is not even the agent in the driver's seat that we unthinkingly call the self" (p. 185). The gist of his insight is that "to break through to the transcendent" (p. 221) we need to evoke the psyche and our deep feelings, putting our penchant for analysis aside. He advocates we not choose between subjectivity and objectivity but work for "a third choice grounded in experience, through which noetic understanding is found" (p. 221). This is a highly readable report of research that led to conclusions the researcher had not anticipated in the least, given his rigorous scientific training. We are all fortunate that as a true scientist he was able to confront the anomaly of synesthesia with an open mind. His research and involvement with his data enabled him to potentiate the meaning of what had been a baffling and misunderstood human experience.
Publisher Information:New York: Putnam, 1993. xii + 249. Chapnotes: 231-241; 5 figs; 5 illus; Ind: 245-249; 4 photos; Sugg. Rdg: 242-244; 2 tables
Previous Record Previous
in this

List All Titles in This Category (27)

Book Reviews Menu
in this

Click a section below to move around the EHEN website.
Home/Menu       About EHEs      EHE Autobiographies      EHE Book Reviews      EHE FAQ      EHE Network      Email Talk      Experiences Library      Info/Contact      Join Us!      Living EHEs      Parapsychology      Rhea White      Web Links      Web Talk      What's New     

All website graphics, materials and content copyright © 1997-2003
by EHE Network. All rights reserved. For permissions
please contact EHEN's Executive Director, Rhea A. White.

Web Media Management by Palyne Gaenir of ScienceHorizon.

Exceptional Human Experience Network
Exceptional Human Experience Network