virus: Telepathy/Deja vu/etc.

Reed Konsler (
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 15:56:21 -0400

>There has been a theory floating around for some time about the possibility
>of inter-group telepathy based on hallucinogenics.

So here is where Stephen will usually bring up the sublime.

There is a quote I like from Douglas Adams. Dent is on the colony ship and
he sees something that looks remarkably like marble..."which is exactly
what it was: something that looked remarkably like marble" (to paraprase).
In other words we have to be careful about how things "seem".

I think Dennet does a good job at demonstrating how non-linear and
discontinious our actual percetion of reality is. The fact that our brain
assembles a reletively consistent narrative which seems linear and
continious is amazing.

For instance, let's say you enter into a meditative state and experience an
episode in which you contact the primordial urges and thoughts of our
distant ancestors. Was that a "real" experience.

Well, it was real in the sense that it occured. And it was real in the
sense that it can have a significant effect on your conciousness...

I don't want to rain on anyones parade. I also don't want to belittle
spiritual but ultimately illusory a significant sense we
are made up of our illusions. But I haven't even seen a good evidence for
hard core "waves-from-the-brain" style telepathy or ESP.

I think it would be cool if people could find some way to achieve
telepathy. I think we get paranoid always locked just in our own heads.
That's why we invented language; can you imagine what it must have been
like before that?

It isn't really telepathy we're looking for. It's a sense of community, of
communion. In "The Human Zoo" Desmond Morris describes our condition as
analagous to caged animals. We aren't designed, biologically, to live in
such crowded urban conditions. It is only our cooperativity, unmatched in
any other species, that allows us to continue without devolving into
complete anarchy. Sure, humans kill one another sometimes. But so do
rats, bears, fish, deer, etc. IF they are confined in overpopulated
groups. Actually, the population density humans achieve with so little
violence is amazing.

In a sense a hunting/gathering tribe did have "telepathy" in that it was a
small group in which everyone knew everyone else intimately, closer than
many of us know or immediate family these days. They breathed the same
air, ate from the same food, slept together to preserve warmth. They
acted, in a sense, as one organism because this cooperativity helped them
to survive. They "knew" each other and could predict each others actions
becuase of close companionship.

Wolves coordinate activity in hunting, as do lions and other pack
preadators. Are they telepathic?

Come on! That's such a cop out explaination. It's just another kind of
mysticism, another explaination that leads to no further questions. The
really amazing thing about watching a wolf pack hunt it that that level of
coordination is achieved without any supernatuaral assistance.

Reed Konsler