Monday, July 17, 2006

The Autistic GKC?

Daniel Tammet is a savant and autistic (with Asperger's syndrome). He can recite the number pi, from memory, to 22,000 decimal places; he can learn to speak a new language within a week; but the world assaults his senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Tammet, who began to believe in God after reading G.K. Chesterton, thinks that Chesterton may have been a savant and autistic.
"For most people, religion is an emotional thing. For me, it is primarily intellectual, although there is emotion there as well. Life is a magical thing. The explanation of religion is crazy in a sense, but life is no less crazy. The mystery of it is just as weird and wonderful as religion's explanation of it. When scientists try to break everything down there's always a piece missing."
(link to Jul 16 article by Catherine Deveny)


Anonymous said...

Didn't GKC, before his conversion to Christianity, wrestle with a bout with solipsism? I know that he demonstrates, in the early chapters of Orthodoxy, keen knowledge of a mind bordering insanity. And for that reaon, that book changed my life.

E said...

Yes, he struggled with solipsism and the darkness that comes with it. Nothing too severe, it seems to me, at least not compared with the dark thoughts most youths struggle with.

The best bio of GKC's early life is probably Michael Coren's Gilbert: The Man Who Was G. K. Chesterton.