Spontaneous Savant ?

Brain Gain: A Person Can Instantly Blossom into a Savant–and No One Knows Why

So. Spontaneously self-assembling accelerated aptitude ? Why not ? There is no singular or obvious reason why it should not be possible and, given a large enough sample population – might it be something of an inevitability ? That said, statistical probability might generate less useful instances than may actually appear in our world, the actual prevalence is unknown to me.

Being that a peculiar evolutionary advantage may be conveyed to communities by the spontaneous arisal of genius-level intelligence in specific individuals (and in one sense, what is genius but an inordinate creative aptitude within a particular rule-set or logical context, that is – a technology of information or communication ?), it could be asserted that while this potential may exist within anyone – the trigger or catalyst may as likely be some unacknowledged or indecipherable constellation of networked cultural, social and symbolic influences as it is might be a unique personal history or genetic predisposition.

What I do wonder, though, is what the actual cost might be to these individuals. In the case of relatively non-spontaneous brilliance (and I am here thinking specifically of those eccentric intellects of a Kurt Gödel or Georg Cantor variety and for whom there does appear to have been a tragic price for their prodigious mental talent), there appears to be a specific cost associated to the lofty heights of intellectual achievement. If a mind (as brain or indeterminately-located disembodied sentience and entity of some as yet indistinct description) maintains ordered pattern and structure in any measure, there must be a thermodynamic cost to that coherence and self-propagating continuity.

Might it be that in (at least some cases) of high intelligence that the implicit psychological costs of maintaining any particular novel conceptual schema must always be at the cost of a certain concomitant entropy, discontinuity and social, cultural, psychological or interpersonal detachment, friction and rupture ? A notionally healthy or non-dysfunctional cognitive method is one in which entropy or logical and organisationally-systemic turbulence is usefully recycled internally or between the sentient system and its environment.

In one analytical direction, this costs/benefits model describes with some clarity a particular class of insecurity and pathological adherence to narrative and perceived continuity which clearly and self-evidently coexists with intelligence both high and low. In another direction, it implies that as a consequence of the existence of networked, emergently complex information storage and transmission systems (i.e. human beings and their extended cognition of technology, language, etc.), something about these kinds of networks or systems both requires and is only expressible through the spontaneous emergence of astounding creativity in specific individuals.

I have been banging on for some time (here and elsewhere) about the utterly critical analytical consideration that recursive, emergent, self-propagating systems are at first and foremost the replication of a process of replication itself; that the disembodied presence of a distributed technological or cultural and cognitive extension is precisely what any particular person constitutively is or instantiates as a focal node in a field; and, that (perhaps) the presence of creative genius within any cultural system may exist as some kind of causal-field inevitability with a vaster symbolic, semantic and logical system. Spontaneously-arising accelerated intellect may be not the exception, but the rule; it appears intermittently due to some internal logical constraint or bias that is not immediately visible to us.

That the average age of emergence of such spontaneous creative genius is around 47 is interesting. Might it be that some subtle coalescence of material, biological, cultural and life-history factors collectively trigger this condition ? Might there be some optimal low-friction systems-state which enables or induces such a transformative cognitive phase transition that, given sufficiently sophisticated and supportive or conducive environmental circumstances, its arisal is not only probable but inevitable ? Perhaps, but on the topic of a quest to harness or exploit such an aptitude potentially lying dormant within most human beings, we could probably (collectively) do much better in regards to cultivating effective and nurturing educational environments at all stages of the human life cycle. We can all only benefit from this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s