Daniel Tammet on "making himself heard"

In an wide ranging interview with Scott Barry Kaufman for his Beautiful Minds blog in Psychology Today, IdeaFestival 2010 speaker Daniel Tammet comments at length on his talents, work and, in the final installment of a six part interview, on some lessons he's drawn from life.

Speaking on personal transformation, Daniel says he has gained a measure of self confidence traveling to support two well-received books, beginning with "Born on a Blue Day."

It's very difficult if the opportunities are not there and if they find it harder to interact, to relate to people, to knock on doors, to make themselves heard. That was certainly my story as well for a long time. I think the success of that first book and the success of Embracing the Wide Sky as well, critically and commercially, it's just very, very empowering.

Daniel answered five questions from the IdeaFestival here.

Having moved to Avignon, France, on his sense of place:

One of the things that I have mentioned in interviews before is that people with Asperger's often feel growing up that they are foreigners, that they feel so different, that they feel almost as though they were born in the wrong country or with the wrong language. And so they don't necessarily feel the affinity that most people do for where they're born and grew up.

And finally, his views on the human condition:

...I don't share the view that seems to be very common at present that faith is intrinsically bad, and that a belief in God is inherently delusional and dangerous. I think that kind of discourse is very damaging to how we understand the human experience, free will, consciousness, and the ability to change and to adapt and to evolve and to fall in love and all of these things that make us human.

I think these things can be addressed by a viewpoint that incorporates both ways of seeing the world. Of course there's a lot to say against organized religion. I'm certainly no defender of those things but I think we need to hold back a little bit from having this idea that there is some kind of impending revolution in the twenty-first century. It's one of the things that I criticized at the end of Embracing the Wide Sky. I don't think the future belongs to those who are making these kind of fantastic prognostications about our ability to make ourselves computers or in a sense immortal over the coming decades and so on and so on. I think that's fantastic and has no basis in reality at all and is dehumanizing. It's a very impoverished way of thinking about and understanding the human condition.