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Well, uh, hmm...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Telepathy: Could we achieve it?

I'm always very wary about modifying the human body. God made us the way he made us, and other than taking care of our bodies, I'm not sure that we should be doing much. There are scientists who are interested in modifying how our cells replicate so that we can live as long as we want, maybe 1,000 years or more. There are others who would like to implant devices inside the human body, such as new limbs and new eyes. Some even suggest that nano-technology would replace our white blood cells because such a system would be able to destroy any disease without being fooled by diseases such as AIDS, where the virus takes on new shapes the white blood cells don't recognize.

I've been wondering recently about something we've all read about in science fiction and fantasy, and I've been wondering if it's possible; Telepathy. There are never any real explanations given in any of the books I've read as to how telepathy works, it just does. So, I began thinking of an explanation. Now, I don't think this would be a good idea to implement on the general public because thoughts are such a private thing. You think lots of people are in therapy now... But, if we could find a non invasive way to read thoughts and kept such technology out of the wrong hands, the judicial system in this country would all but disappear. Why worry about a jury when we could read the thoughts of the defendant? Nikola Tesla was working on a form on mind reading, but it was more "thought projection" than mind reading. He thought that if we could convert electrical signals that our brain is giving to our eyes into a data stream that could be translated by a receiver, we could have a television output of someone's imagination. Also, a new lie detection system has been developed where a suspect is made to wear a hat-like electrode covered patch on his head, and the device monitors which parts of the brain are active as he gives his story. If the memory center is the most active part, he's telling the truth. If the part of the brain reponsible for imagination and, for a lack of a better word, storytelling is the most active part, he's making up everything he's saying. It's pretty neat, but it's still not true telepathy. What I'm suggesting goes a bit further.

In many science fiction movies, aliens can communicate through telepathy. They are "advanced" and no longer need innefficient speach organs to relay information, they think to each other and can transmit thoughts. How is this being done? I think the most likely explanation is that they have a new part of the brain that can receive projected brain waves and translate them into coherent sentences or images. Just as our brain receives information from our eyes and (through many collaborative parts of the brain that recognize lines, textures, light, and even faces) translates the stimulation of the optic nerve into something we recognize, these aliens can read each others' thoughts. Let's say we can see into their heads. There's a section of the brain that can generate independant waves from the rest of the brain. They are very strong, using quite a bit of electrical energy. They generate very specific waves depending on what message the alien wants to send to his cohorts. Inside the other alien's head, we see a similar organ in the brain, but this one is only for receiving. It picks up the waves given off by the other alien and, just like the eye, forms usable information from it. These organs can receive information from only so far. Just as sound waves dissipate when travelling through the air so that we can perceive distance, the aliens' organs can only receive information from a particular distance. Maybe that distance is different depending on the strength of a given alien's transmission or reception organs, but it's all about the same.

Now, lets say some agnostic/atheist/pragmatist scientist thinks this is a neat idea. Unconcerned with playing God, he decides to begin experimenting on humans to develop such a system. Would he succeed? I don't know. I'd like to think that the human body wouldn't be able to stand such bombardment because it's already designed just fine to begin with, but I'm no scientist. With every leap in technology, what we previously thought impossible becomes matter of fact. Would I want to read other peoples' thoughts? No, I would not. I wouldn't want them reading mine, either. Living in a fallen world, I know my own cynical and black heart. I don't want to see into other peoples'. But, not everyone feels the same way. Would you?


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