Man Who Was Brutally Beaten Develops Rare Condition That Makes Him See Mathematical Shapes Everywhere He Looks

By maks in Weird On 1st June 2024

Life can throw some pretty wild curves, leading to unexpected and even bizarre results from unfortunate events.

This holds true for any type of trauma, but physical injuries to the brain can be particularly transformative, altering how your brain processes information completely.

Take Jason Padgett from Alaska, for instance. He now perceives the world through the lens of mathematics, both in broad strokes and intricate details.

This means he interprets everything around him in terms of geometrical shapes and numerical sequences, which is something most of us can hardly imagine.

Jason was a big partier before his traumatic brain injury. BBC/Jason Padgett

Jason shared how he developed this unique perspective on math during a conversation. 

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"I heard–as much as felt–this deep, low-pitched thud as the first guy just ran up behind me and smashed me in the back of the head.

"I saw this puff of white light just like someone took a picture. The next thing I knew I was on my knees and everything was spinning and I didn't know where I was or how I got there."

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The attack was severe, involving blows to Jason's head and kidney, and the assailants even stole his jacket.

He ended up in the hospital with a concussion and a bleeding kidney.

Initially, the doctors didn't realize the full extent of his brain injury.

As a result, Jason began to develop symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD.

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He spent a long time cooped up at home, during which he started to see his world as if it were made of pixels, sparking his profound interest in math and geometry.

Jason described this transformation, saying: "The boundaries of everything had these little pixelated edges, Since everything was pixelated, everything that moved looked like it was moving relative to a grid.

Jason is now considered by many to be a math genius. (BBC/Jason Padgett)

"The internet really helped a lot… I started reading all about math."

His new way of seeing things drove him to explore fractals and other geometrical concepts deeply, earning him recognition as a mathematical genius.

It wasn't until later that neuroscientists like Berit Brogaard diagnosed Jason with synaesthesia, a condition where the senses intermingle unusually.

Jason discussed his diagnosis further: "They found that I had access to parts of the brain that we don't have conscious access to and also the visual cortex was working in conjunction with the part of the brain that does mathematics."

Years after his ordeal, Jason wrote a book titled Struck By Genius. He now embraces a remarkably positive view of life, more than two decades following his traumatic experience.

"You should be walking around in absolute amazement at all times that reality even exists.

"I'm having this mathematical awakening and all around us is absolute magic or about as close as you can get to magic," Jason passionately stated, reflecting on his journey and insights.