Isaac Newton is universally recognized as one of the world’s greatest minds. He discovered the laws of Gravity. Invented calculus and revolutionized the study of optics and astronomy. For hundreds of years after his death students of mathematics and physics hung off his every word. Newton was also a stutterer. He stuttered so badly that when he spoke to Parliament, he would ask for the windows to be closed so the public wouldn’t hear him. Newton was also considered a loner. Some say this was because he was arrogant. But perhaps Newton, like many stutterers, simply shied away from company because he was too embarrassed by his stuttering.
Great minds speak alike.
While Newton may have felt isolated because of his speech, he certainly wasn’t alone. Galileo, who was the first to establish the true positions of the planets, was a stutterer. Charles Darwin, the author of the Theory of Evolution, also struggled with his speech. As did Lewis Carroll, Henry James, King George and Winston Churchill. Perhaps this is evidence that far from being stupid, a stutterer may actually possess above average intelligence. For instance, when most people talk with a stutterer they try to finish the stutterer’s sentence for them. You try finishing this one from Newton:
“If several bodies revolve around a common center, and the centripal force is reciprocally in the duplicate ration of the distance of places from the center; I say, that the principal laterna recta of their orbits is…...........”
With Newton as a spokesperson it’s obvious stuttering doesn’t restrict your thinking. But as an enquiring mind like Newton’s might ask;
Why are such great thinkers men of few words?
In Newton’s day a stutter was completely misunderstood. Many believed it was caused by a lazy tongue. Others swore that a stutterer was possessed by evil spirits. Later theories were just as hard to swallow. They included Oedipal complexes, father issues, sibling rivalries, tongue deformities, suppressed anger and witchcraft. However recent research says stuttering is not the result of an emotional trauma. Or even a bump on the head from an apple.A stutter is simple a physical problem. Just miscues in timing between the brain, speech and breathing mechanisms. When you consider the physics of speech it makes a lot of sense. It takes over 100 muscles to say a single word. The average person says between 120 and 180 words per minute. It’s not surprising that every so often things can go wrong. Of course, an emotional trauma or stress can aggravate a stutter, but it’s certainly not the cause.Unfortunately, in Newton’s time there was little awareness of how a stutter could be treated. One “solution” was to cut off the tip of the stutterer’s tongue. Another tasteful treatment was to make the stutterer eat horseradish until he threw up.
One discovery Newton would have loved to have made.
Fortunately these days you don’t have to be stuck with your stutter. Or be forced to endure a treatment that does little more than leave a bad taste in your mouth. You can choose to have your stutter treated so that it will virtually disappear. It’s not an instant cure, but it can be done. Most likely the treatment will involve exercises that you will have to do every day. Of course, that’s an example of Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Do the exercises and the reaction will be irrefutable. You can be speaking with freedom and ease.
If you are a stutterer and would like more details, simply contact; The Stuttering Foundation of America. email@example.comIf you are not a stutterer here are a few hints that may help you when you meet someone that is. Try not to finish a stutterer’s sentence, not matter how frustrating it feels for you. Listen closely so they don’t have to repeat a word or sentence. And if they seem unable to talk, just ask if they would like to write it down. Stutterers are good at writing. After all, they have written the odd piece or two. Like the Laws of Gravity.