The Other I

January 26, 2011

Was Plato autistic?

Filed under: Just Stuff,Psychology, Philosophy & Personal Nonsense — theotheri @ 4:49 pm

Churchill was a manic-depressive;  Einstein’s brother and daughter were schizophrenic and Albert himself may have tended toward autism; Van Gogh was a tortured genius.  The relationship between genius and various mental limitations may not be inevitable but it is frequent and well-documented.

I read recently that many of the most exceptionally gifted mathematicians in the world today believe that numbers have an independent existence.  Research suggests that this same group are often autistic.

Which is one of the reasons why I wonder if  Plato was what we would today call autistic.  He believed that the world of perfect forms had a separate existence.  In fact, he believed their real existence was in this other world.  They were only ever manifest in imperfect forms in the concrete world in which we live.

It wasn’t until the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official religion that heaven became church doctrine.  But Plato’s world of perfect forms was the forerunner of the concept of heaven gradually populated with angels and saints and over which God presides.

I’m really serious about the possibility that Plato was an autistic genius.

I’m not trying to suggest that autistics find it easier to believe in heaven than the rest of us.  Just that the original idea that eventually led to the popular conception of heaven might have been seeded by an autistic genius.

1 Comment »

  1. […] Autism and modern mathematicians Filed under: Depression and Autism,Psychology, Philosophy & Personal Nonsense — theotheri @ 3:59 pm I have just stumbled on a fascinating book, Duel at Dawn by Amir Alexander at Harvard University.  It throws an interesting light on a question I asked in several earlier posts:  is there a relationship between Asperger’s syndrome or autism and mathematical genius? […]


    Pingback by Autism and modern mathematicians « The Other I — February 26, 2011 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

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