Imagine if you discovered you had astonishing super powers after being nearly beaten to death.
Jason Padgett has an amazing story.
He was born in 1971.
Jason Padgett does not have the snooty academic origins many would expect of someone who draws fractals so precisely- before he was a savant, he was a struggling salesman and a college dropout.
Though many close to him described him as fun-loving, or the high point of every party, he was not someone with academic ambitions or an interest in mathematics. No one saw him as a future savant.
In 2002, two men attacked him as he was leaving a karaoke bar. They brutally beat Padgett, leaving him behind, unconscious, with a severe concussion.
When he awoke the next day, he was seeing lines and shapes around and inside of everyday objects.
He almost immediately began drawing detailed mathematical diagrams, but this wasn’t without a price.
After the attack and subsequent brain injury, he developed severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and depression. Through all of this, he also struggled with Agorophobia that was strong enough to force him into hiding for over three years.
Though the disordered thinking has begun to subside, he still struggles with anxiety in public spaces.
After seeking help, he received a diagnosis of acquired savant syndrome, and began to realize the full extent of his superpowers.
He traveled to Finland and was studied by a doctor who helped him understand his situation better.
What is his Superpower?
After his injury, Jason Padgett began to notice that the world around him looked different than it had in the days before the attack.
He describes everything as appearing pixellated, as if he an see all the components of the world around him instead of just looking at the bigger picture.
At the time of his injury, he lacked the formal training to understand the concepts behind the mathematical images he was able to produce. After a physicist stumbled upon him drawing these shapes in a mall and encouraged him to pursue mathematics, he began to attend college, and is now a mathematician whose acquired savant superpowers and synthesesia allow him to perceive various mathematical formulas in the form of geometric shapes.
Brain scans done after his abilities emerged revealed that, due to the brain injury, his brain is overcompensating to make up for the damage that had been done.
In the process (and completely by accident), it revealed abilities that are latent in most other people.
One Man’s Incredible Story
What We Can Learn From Him?
Jason Padgett is not the only savant- far from it- but he is a perfect example of what happens to those who develop superhuman abilities after periods of severe illness or injury.
People like him illustrate the capabilities of the human mind. While most savants suffer consequences of their injury as ‘payment’ for the superhuman abilities (which means scientists aren’t going to go around beating people upside the head to make them math geniuses any time soon), their abilities offer proof of our brains’ capabilities.
Most scientists who study people like Jason Padgett believe that his once-latent abilities may exist inside everyone.
One of the people who studied the structure and activity in Padgett’s brain, Berit Brogaard, claims that to believe otherwise is to believe far too strongly in coincidence- after all, what are the odds of Padgett possessing a ‘special’ brain, and then suffering just the right head injury to bring forward his hidden skills?
Jason Padgett offers a glimpse into the skills which all of us may, just below the surface, be capable of.
What Is He Currently Doing?
Today, Jason Padgett manages three different futon stores located in Tacoma, Washington. He has written a memoir detailing the emergence of his abilities, a book titled Struck By Genius (the movie rights to which were purchased in 2014), and sells original artwork artwork through Fine Art America.
His artwork is all hand-drawn with the assistance of nothing but a ruler, compass and a pencil.
He is also a lecturer who hopes to help those he speaks to understand the beauty of mathematics.
Links and Videos
Struck by genius website
Jason’s Youtube channel