“However bad life may seem, there is always something we can do and succeed at”. These are the lines of one of the greatest physicist Stephen Hawking. Well this thought is simple yet astounding as in case of Jason Padgett a national of United States it turned out to be true. A salesman by profession Jason Padgett was living his normal life.
I used to say math is stupid, how can you you use that in the real world? – Jason Padgett.
But everything got changed on the night of Friday 13 September 2002. When he was attacked and robbed by two men outside of a karaoke bar.
“I heard as much as felt this deep, low-pitched thud as the first guy ran up behind me and smashed me in the back of the head,” he recalls. “And I saw this puff of white light just like someone took a picture. The next thing I knew I was on my knees and everything was spinning and I didn’t know where I was or how I got there”
He went to hospital, got medication and returned home. But once home something unusual started to happen with him. Due to sustaining traumatic brain injury he developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in him . He preferred to stay whole day in his house and avoiding going out. But then events got turned out when he started seeing patterns in things, Mathematical Patterns.
Everything that was curved looked like it was slightly pixelated,” he explains. “Water coming down the drain didn’t look like it was a smooth, flowing thing anymore, it looked like these little tangent lines.”
The same thing happened with clouds, sunlight streaming between trees and puddles. To Padgett, the world essentially looked like a retro video game. Seeing such a radically different view of his surroundings evoked conflicting emotions in Padgett. “I was surprised…confused. It was beautiful but it was also scary at the same time.”
He started to draw things the structure, the Mathematical patterns he was seeing in the nature. He started visualising mathematical formulas in front of his eyes.
Padgett believed his drawings held the key to the universe and took them everywhere with him
“I had literally a thousand or more drawings of circles, fractals, every shape that I could manage to draw. It was the only way I could manage to communicate effectively what I was seeing.”
After that many years went by but he wasn’t sure that what happened to him which changed the course of his life on how he started to perceive things so differently yet so amazingly.
Berit Brogaard a neurologist from University of Miami believes the brain injury Padgett sustained caused him to develop a form of synaesthesia that made him an acquired savant.
It is estimated to effect only around 4% of the population. Some synesthetes might see certain colours when they hear music or smell something that’s not there when feeling a particular emotion.
The condition is caused by connections between parts of the brain that are not there in other people. You can be born this way or some type of trauma, an injury, a stroke, an allergic reaction, can change the brain.
His life changed from up and down after the injury. Which ultimately changed him from a ordinary math hater to a Mathematical Genius.
You should be walking around in absolute amazement at all times that reality even exists,” he says. “I’m having this mathematical awakening and all around us is absolute magic or about as close as you can get to magic.”