So I was thinking about telepathy on my drive home, which meant that I thought about it for over an hour. It’s a familiar science fiction concept- the idea of communicating mind-to-mind, but at the same time it is so different from everything about the way that we currently communicate that it’s almost incomprehensible.

What if we all had telepathy? Assuming that we are otherwise still human in every way and assuming that we had no limits on our reach ( that we could be connected to any mind, no matter how far away) and assuming that connectedness (as compared to independence) is the default, what would that mean for us as Thinkers? Would we be able to use telepathy the same way that we currently use the internet? It would almost certainly involve just as much porn. Would we all be like-minded or would the network tolerate dissenters? And would outlier opinions still fall as far away from the consensus as they do in a group of independent thinkers? Would we have the choice between being an independent thinker vs being engaged in the network, the way we have a choice of living out of a computer or putting down a phone? Or would we be so hardwired into the collective that we would languish without that contact? It strikes me that each individual would, by necessity, need to have two levels of function: a basic level to maintain the body and to exist in physical time and space, but also perhaps a higher level that existed only in the network. In this state, it’s there any real death? If a person can exist in a network of minds without a physical body then perhaps they could continue to function after death… Literally living on in the minds of others. And what about ideas? Would there just be a vast collective library of thought stored on shared mind-space, accessible to anybody who knew how to find it? Maybe finding information would be the most valuable skill rather than communicating it- maybe instead off learning how to speak we would learn how to query and to map information. Maybe some people would be better at mapping information than others. Maybe some people would be better at accessing memory than others and could mine unused memory space out of others minds for storing bigger ideas.

And how would we decide whether we were using our own mind or someone else’s? How would we know if an idea was our own? Or a memory? Would it matter? Would there still be introverts and extraverts? Would we still bother to sing or to paint or tell stories?

There were a lot of questions but not a lot of answers. I found myself realizing just how complex the concept of telepathy could be once you started to drill down into the details. It certainly kept me occupied for the commute.

No wonder I needed a nap when I got home.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 22, 2016.

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