If there was one thing the blogosphere agreed upon after ingesting Jaden and Willow Smith’s momentous interview with T Magazine, it’s that both siblings are really, uh … weird.
They don’t speak in words so much as idealized hopes and dreams, mixed with a substantial dose of oblivious condescension. If their words were an adult person, they would have been an only child raised in a communal household run by Terrence McKenna, L. Ron Hubbard, Bjork and at least three different yoga instructors named “Summer.”
Every night, the family would have gathered around the television to watch the final hour of “Interstellar” and ruminated about things they’d grossly misinterpreted on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Twitter feed.
But what if they weren’t just weird? What if, behind their absurdly confident New Ageisms, lurked more than a hint of scientifically substantiated truth?
Enter the space-time continuum known as “The Smith Dimension,” a place where up is down, down is up, and the privileged progeny of a happy rapper from Philadelphia actually make sense when they use words to construct sentences about reality.
Let’s look at some of the Smith siblings’ quotes and sift through the fog in search of facts.
Willow: “I mean, time for me, I can make it go slow or fast, however I please, and that’s how I know it doesn’t exist.”
We get it. At first glance it sounds delusional and laughably groundless, but according to this Discover Magazine article from 2008, some research suggests the human brain manipulates time to “manufacture the illusion of a seamless flow of reality.” We see you, Willow. Do your thing.
Jaden: “It’s proven that how time moves for you depends on where you are in the universe. It’s relative to beings and other places. But on the level of being here on earth, if you are aware in a moment, one second can last a year. And if you are unaware, your whole childhood, your whole life can pass by in six seconds. But it’s also such a thing that you can get lost in.”
Was Jaden interviewed moments after skimming “Dianetics,” or are these the abstract ramblings of a teenage mind dripping with … “enhanced creativity”? Possibly. Or maybe he’s moderately well-versed in modern physics and general theory of relativity, which “predicts that clocks in a stronger gravitational field will tick at a slower rate.” According to this article on Meta Research, which we are wholly unqualified to intelligently dispute, this means “clocks at any altitude above sea level do tick faster than clocks at sea level; and clocks on rocket sleds do tick slower than stationary clocks.”
See what I mean, man? It’s like all of us are lost in the seconds, but Jaden is light years ahead.
Asked to highlight themes in her work, Willow said: “The feeling of being like, this is a fragment of a holographic reality that a higher consciousness made.”
Turns out, Willow is not the only one who feels like she’s living in a fragment of a holographic reality. A bunch of scientists all over the world are edging closer to idea that the universe is actually one big holographic projection. If you think the Smith brats are super hard to follow, cast your eyes on this paragraph paraphrasing noted theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena, which was allegedly assembled for the purpose of communicating with other humans.
“The cosmos with a black hole has ten dimensions, with eight of them forming an eight-dimensional sphere. The lower-dimensional, gravity-free one has but a single dimension, and its menagerie of quantum particles resembles a group of idealized springs, or harmonic oscillators, attached to one another.”
tl;dr = what?
Willow: “I mean, the beat is usually what moves me. Or I think of concepts. Then when I hear a beat that is, like, elaborating on that concept, I just go off.”
Jaden: “She freestyles and finds out what she likes. Same thing with me.”
Does their entire creative process consist of stacking uninteresting thoughts on top of uninteresting thoughts and pairing them with a manufactured electro-beat? Or are they merely modeling “flow,” the ability to silence self-monitoring and fully inhabit a state of creative expression. When neuroscientists hooked professional rappers up to an fMRI machine several years back, according to this Atlantic Monthly article, they were able to measure what happens to the artists’ brains during moments of flow. What they discovered, it turns out, sounds a bit like the Smith family cypher.
“The areas implicated in processes like organization and drive were marked by an increase in activity,” the article notes, “while those parts responsible for close self-monitoring and editing were deactivated. During this period, the article adds, “self-generated action is freed from the conventional constraints of supervisory attention and executive control,” allowing sudden insights, seemingly unbidden, to emerge.”
Willow: “Me and Jaden just figured out that our voices sound like chocolate together. As good as chocolate tastes, it sounds that good.”
If Willow can taste her brother’s words, her ability is rare — and definitely creepy — but not unheard of. The ability to taste words, known as lexical-gustatory synesthesia — is among the rarest types of synesthesia, a condition resulting from the cross-wiring of the brain’s senses, according to PsyBlog. In one study, researchers were able to compare a subject’s brain activity while experiencing “tasty” vs. “tasteless” words.
If anything, you should feel sorry for Willow. It’s hard enough having to read Jaden’s words with your eyes. Now imagine how you’d feel if you had to taste them, too.
Jaden: “Something that’s worth buying to me is like Final Cut Pro or Logic.”
Willow: “A canvas. Paint. A microphone.”
This might be the least abstract of the siblings’ statements. It also concisely sums up the work of Tony Wagner, who currently serves as an expert-in-residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab. In his book, “Creating Innovators,” Wagner argues for the importance of cultivating creativity in young people to ensure success later in life. Check out his TED-style talk here.
Willow: “You have to breathe in order to live.”
This one is obviously true! For now. In a 2012 study, researchers blocked the windpipes of rabbits and injected “oxygen-filled microparticles into the animals’ blood,” according to Nature. The animals were able to survive for up to 15 minutes without breathing. Researchers hope the technique might able to be used on humans at some point, too.
Jaden: “When babies are born, their soft spots bump: It has, like, a heartbeat in it. That’s because energy is coming through their body, up and down.”
The kid is onto something. It’s something that anyone who’s ever had a baby already knows. Your baby’s soft spots are known as fontanels. And yes, you can even see your infant’s pulse through this thick protective membrane. But don’t worry, you’re actually looking at the “normal workings of your baby’s circulatory system,” even when veins and arteries are visible, the Web site assures people who aren’t Jaden Smith.
Jaden: “It’s prana energy because they still breathe through their stomach. They remember. Babies remember.”
Whether it’s prana energy is up for debate, but Jaden’s pediatric knowledge continues to wow us. As this random YouTube video and this even more random article we found on the Internet both reveal, babies actually do practice something known as diaphragmatic breathing.
Jaden: “You never learn anything in school. Think about how many car accidents happen every day. Driver’s ed? What’s up? I still haven’t been to driver’s ed because if everybody I know has been in an accident, I can’t see how driver’s ed is really helping them out.”
Before you dismiss Jaden’s tirade against driver’s ed, consider that, according to this New York Times story, driver’s education is hit or miss, depending on where you live.
“There is no national standard for driver education courses, although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently distributed guidelines,” the Times reported in mid-2012. “But those are not a mandate, and one problem, the insurance institute says, is that in 16 states drivers who complete education courses can sidestep some graduated licensing restrictions, including the age limit to receive a learner’s permit, requirements for hours practicing behind the wheel, and passenger and night-driving limitations.”
Keep doing you, Jaden.