*New entry from my project POWER of meanings // MEANINGS of power.
The word synesthesia comes from a Greek phrase meaning "perceive together". Synesthesia can be described as an ability or a condition, but it is not a disease. Depending on the type of synesthesia that a person has, she may "see" music, "taste" sounds or "hear" scents (there are many more variations). I find it enjoyable, although the associations can be frustratingly difficult to describe. It's mysterious, because the origins of the connections between different sensations are often hard to explain. For example, I do not know why "A" is distinctively yellow for me, while "M" is raspberry red and "B" is green. Well, perhaps "M" is raspberry red because malína is "raspberry" in Russian, my mother tongue, but it's impossible to know for sure.
As a synesthete, I find the word "power" (in English) intriguing: it is scary and gloomy, but also playful and darkly attractive. My fascination with this word started when I was working on my first print book Media Is Us. In one of the chapters, I proposed a new theory, which has become a basis on the project I am developing on this website. Since I finished writing that book, I enjoy seeing the word "power", writing it, saying it in my head. I kid you not, it is even more exiting now to turn off my computer, because I see the word and its symbol on the screen! It's a kind of a safe obsession, which is probably not unique in scholars focusing on a particular topic.
So how exactly do I perceive "power" from a synesthete's point of view? It is very difficult to properly describe, but I will try. First, power is a dark word. I see a lot of black, but also some strange glow or flashes of light. "Power" is a paradox: it is soft and springy like a cat playfully hitting with its paw a toy that is bouncing: pow-pow-pow. The game looks like fun, but there is a dangerous glow in the cat's eyes. Any moment, the gentle purring will turn into a subdued but distinctive growl – errrrr – and the toy that was being gently bounced a second ago will be shredded to pieces by the animal's claws. The word "power" is at the same time soft and sharp, calming and dangerous.
In this particular case, the origins of my associations seem easier to trace. At least, I can see parallels between them and my developing thoughts about power. It is a dark and scary word because power can and does often cause discomfort, even suffering. It is also a complicated word, because power can be positive: I have power to heal and to help others. I perceive power as a paradox, both intellectually and synesthetically. People often think about power as a binary – either you have it or you don't. But I want to focus on how we all have and lack power at the same time, because it is not one something, but rather a combination of abilities and circumstances (see What is power?).
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I mostly use this blog to share new or updated entries of my hypertext projects. If you see several versions of the same entry published over time, know that the latest version is the most updated.