Synesthesia of the Day – Fran’s Synesthesia
All of the people in the Green Comet series have some degree of synesthesia. As a first approximation, effay, they are all strong synesthetes, with at least two types. I’ve already described Elgin’s synesthesia, the main part of it at least, and now I’ll talk about Fran’s synesthesia. Her most predominant one, anyway.
Humans (and other animals too, apparently) have some specialized brain cells called mirror neurons. Put simply, these neurons fire when a person does something, and when they watch someone doing the same thing. Their function is not yet definitively described, but it is hypothesized that they could be useful in learning tasks, and in the areas of learning about other people and their intentions. I mention this because Fran’s synesthesia can be broadly thought of as mirror synesthesia, and there is a known form called mirror-touch synesthesia. In this simple form, the synesthete who observes someone else being touched will feel as if they are being touched in the same way. As I conceive Fran’s synesthesia, it is much more pervasive and encompassing than simple touch. If someone else eats an iceberry, she can taste it. She feels what people are feeling. To an extent, she knows what they’re thinking. This empathy allows her to be a great leader, but it can also be overwhelming to feel everyone else’s pain. Everyone who knows her knows this, and it makes them love her even more.
Mirror-touch synesthesia is not adequate to describe Fran’s synesthesia. One could go through all the senses and add mirror-this and mirror-that, and it still wouldn’t be enough. It would leave out all the perceptions beyond the basic senses. So, to make sure I cover it all, I call Fran’s synesthesia mirror-everything synesthesia.