Science moves a step closer to the Mind Meld

Vulcan mind meld

Certain individuals seem to have a somewhat eery ability to read other peoples’ thoughts, or perhaps maybe even subtly influence people’s decisions without ever uttering a word. Others seem to be especially attuned to each other—twins, mother/daughter, husband/wife. They can finish each other’s sentences, or guess what the other is thinking. I’m sure most of us would admit to witnessing something or other of this nature.

But (you might be thinking) being able to ‘predict’ what someone else is thinking isn’t altogether remarkable; after all, some of us are more intuitive or empathetic than others, or share a special bond with a significant other. Isn’t it possible that these people are just a bit more sensitive than the rest of us? It’s not as if anyone has the ability to control the physical action of another person, using only their mind? Do they??

Thanks to recent scientific experiments, we know that this kind of mind control is actually possible. Scientists at the University of Washington have proven that one person can elicit a physical response using only—you guessed it—their mind. Cue Mentok the Mindtaker eery sound effects—OOOEEEEEOOOOH! Ok, to be fair, the scientists didn’t just use their minds; they communicated with the aid of computers, using software that translated and transmitted the thoughts of one researcher to the other researcher’s brain via electrodes, resulting in a motor response. But perhaps the result is even more exciting considering that thought waves can be transmitted remotely, across any distance, just like the internet.

Mentok Mindtaking!

Absolutely no verbal or physical communication was shared between the two individuals—just a thought transmitted from one brain to another. In simple terms, one researcher imagined moving his right hand—without actually moving it—and this thought was transmitted to the other researcher in a completely separate building, whose right hand moved involuntarily.  The experiment used well known technology such as EEG (Electroencephalography) and TMS (Transcranial magnetic stimulation), but was remarkable in its application for thought transmission.

The researchers are quick to admit that this technology only works on very simple brain signals, not a person’s more complex (i.e. conscious) thoughts, and that it can’t be used to control someone against their will. One of the researchers stated that “some people will be unnerved by this because they will overestimate the technology” even though “there’s no possible way the technology that we have could be used on a person unknowingly or without their willing participation.” At least, not yet…

It’s hard not to imagine fifty to one hundred years in the future a more advanced technology capable of transmitting complex thoughts, perhaps through electromagnetic currents into individual brains. Or maybe even transmitting to many brains at once, resulting in mass brainwashing or mind control! Living zombies. The beginning of the end. Apocalypse scenario #527.

I’m hyperbolizing of course, but even the researchers admit they aren’t satisfied with their cute first attempt at thought transmission. They “next plan to conduct an experiment that would transmit more complex information from one brain to the other. If that works, they then will conduct the experiment on a larger pool of subjects.” Hmm. Don’t be unnerved, they say.

Still, what’s more fascinating to me is the innate ability that some people have, sans technological assistance, either to read another’s thoughts, implant certain thoughts/ideas into another’s mind, or even communicate ‘telepathically’ with someone else. Oftentimes, the scientific method is just a standardized approach to demonstrate or measure processes and phenomena that have been occurring for millennia. Oftentimes such phenomena are readily acknowledged in spiritual or cultural spheres, and telepathy is one such commonly accepted ability.

Judeo-Christian religions, Sufism, Hinduism, and many other religious traditions accept the existence of telepathy (among other non-‘scientific’ abilities such as astral projection and talking to the dead/ancestors). I am not a huge fan of Freud, but even he, as a psychologist, argued that telepathy should be considered as a possible relict of ancient human communication abilities.

I am not a quantum physicist, but when you consider that we are all, at the quantum level, interconnected, and that we are all both matter and energy, the idea that we could possible transmit thought waves between different individuals becomes much less far-fetched. As science continues to play ‘catch up’ in recognizing the many awe-inspiring aspects of our universe, it will be interesting to see what new developments in thought transmission research evolve in the coming years.