Daredevil is one of my all time favourite comic book characters. He’s great.
The legend: when young Matt Murdock pushed a blind man out of the way of an oncoming truck, the vehicle crashed into a radioactive isotope which splashed the young lad in the face and blinded him. It could happen, right? Matt found that his other senses – his hearing, smell, taste, and touch – were heightened to superhuman degrees, and he had developed a radar sense that, despite his lack of sight, allows him to picture his surroundings.
I was reminded of this while reading a post on Tim Goodyer’s marvellous Fast and Wide blog. The post covers an array of stories on more “alternative” uses for sound through the years, but “Terrific” Tim Goodyer (as I’m sure Stan Lee would probably refer to him) muses thusly:
One opportunity that seems to have been overlooked by both mythmakers and mythbusters is synaesthesia – specifically chromaesthesia. A neurological condition, this causes sensory crosstalk that allows synesthetes to ‘see’ the sounds that they hear. It is well documented among musicians including Duke Ellington, Itzhak Perlman and the Aphex Twin, and artists Wassily Kandinsky and David Hockney. What’s missing here is not a study of the condition itself, but establishing its technical spec.
Does synaesthesia map hearing faithfully? If not, where does it kick in and out? Is it level dependent? Does it reflect the Fletcher-Munson equal loudness contour in any way?
What about it – bandwidth, dynamic range, sensitivity, intermod distortion, gain ranging… Am I the only one who has considered this? (Or is someone lining it up for their dissertation?)
Actually, I think Tim probably is the only person to have considered this, but this sounds very much like a credible origins story for a superhero like Daredevil. Frankly, I’m amazed it hasn’t been used before now.
The point of this, really, is to encourage you to read the rest of the article because it really is a fine read. Where else could you read a philosophical slant on the Big Bang, or lack thereof, and the equipment used to prove the existence of the “fear” frequency in the same article?
‘Nuff said, as Stan might say.