Imagine you are someone with perhaps slightly above average intelligence but little achievement in life beyond sipping beer and hitting the gym. In your early 30s, most would brand you most kindly as someone still in search of himself.
Suppose you were leaving your neighborhood bar after shooting pool and a couple of ruffians jumped, robbed and beat you, leaving you unconscious. When you awoke, you felt somehow different; you were able to see things differently than before your head injury. You could see the rough edged shapes that exist in nature (fractals) which repeat themselves over and over forming beautiful patterns.
Imagine you were suddenly able to draw these shapes with remarkable precision, where before you could barely draw a stick figure. This is essentially what happened to Jason Padgett. You can see his artwork here. He has written a book about his life called “Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), out this Tuesday.
To me this sudden emergence of intellect and vision indicates that God’s work is everywhere. It shouldn’t require a head injury to see the beauty that surrounds us. In Padgett’s case, a random attack has provided him access to skills within him that he previously never dared to believe existed. Of course, we cannot replicate Padgett’s experience but we can further open our minds and senses to the world in which live and appreciate its detail and perfection.