To the world at large Daniel Tammet is the rare savant. A man of extra-ordinary mental abilities that learned a language in one week, multiplies huge numbers in his head and has amazing powers of memory that baffle and bedazzle scientists.
And … he might be a fake.
In the book “Moonwalking With Einstein,” Josh Foer single-handedly reintroduces to the world the Method of Loci as the best duct tape for the mind EVER. And he takes aim at Tammet with a skeptical eye.
Usually when skeptics look at someone’s powers as “not real” that is a bad thing (Oh, gee, I can’t dowse after all!). But in Tammet’s case the opposite is true.
Holy crap! ANYONE can do this?
Joshua Foer makes some good points that Tammet might in fact be a mental athlete more than a savant. Everything Tammet does are things that are available to ordinary humans who want to put the time in to master them. Tammet might just be the kind of minds the Pythagoreans were famous for and perhaps the reason they were so hated and so unceremoniously wiped out from history.
That and the fact that from historical research, they may have been power-grubbing people who were quite secretive and dangerous.
Tammet uses finger gestures like human calculators do. He also at one time offered courses in memory training AND he competed in sanctioned memory competitions as just a regular guy.
- Memorize books rapidly? Yup. Mental athletes can do that.
- Do big math in the head? Yup, math athletes can do that as well.
- Memorize large numbers? Easy as Pi for people like Josh Foer.
- Identify any day of the week for any day in history? Yup, there is an algorithm for that and you can memorize it and master it in weeks. You can win a lot of party bets with this one, “Name a date in history and I’ll tell you what day of the week it was on!”
Rather than go into Foer’s points I’m going to post the link to the documentary of Tammet’s life.
Regardless of whether or not Tammet is a fake, the science is clear and properly documented by Joshua Foer in “Moonwalking With Einstein” that the skills of Daniel Tammet can be acquired by most of us with proper training.
Watch the video and realize that ordinary humans can get here in about 18-36 months.