Language in the most primal sense of the word, is a convention for communication between separate entities.

Humans have the most developed languages. We have dialects and jargons too many to count, but these aren't the only languages out there.

Complete with grammar, syntax, morphology, orthography, and a lot more, programming languages can be considered convention for communication between humans and machines. We can tell our computer what to do, and it gives us feedback.

Mathematics can be a language, too, considering its also just a convention of axioms and propositions.

Maybe dolphins have their own grammar of echolocative squeaks. Ant colonies can have their own pheromone codewords. Satellites might be talking via radio frequency modulation.

When we get right down to it, all languages are simply just social cues, regardless of what sensory medium is available for the task.

Organized Synesthesia is the biological version of multimedia arts. Within the brain, synesthesia occurs as an interpretation of sensory data from a sense organ that is somehow associated with a type of sensory data from a different sense organ. The idea of hearing smells and tasting emotions probably leads to disorganized thoughts, but enhances the synesthete's pattern recognition abilities.

But by making the recognizable patterns available for correlation to consequently develop entirely new "meta-senses" arising from those correlations, maybe we can re-organize thoughts even better. The simplest example I could give would be a sensory ability made for sentient photosynthetic organisms, designed to find the optimal light settings to have enjoyable meals with maximum nutritional value. Simply put, a creature can taste the rainbow and the sunlight by having:

  • a heightened sense of sight for accurately gauging the polarization of light rays, the interference fringe patterns they create, and the ranges of frequencies they generate

  • a dynamic sense of taste for correlating what properties of light gives the most pleasurably nutritious tastes

Organized synesthesia could be achieved by conscious correlations of sensory data, enhancing both pattern recognition and interpretation

Noumenal Conveyance

Noumenon is the opposite of phenomenon. It is a thing as itself, an object's fundamental existence as opposed to a thing as represented by other things.

If somehow, other sensory perceptions, correlations, and interpretations, are heightened and integrated altogether as to build a comprehensive copy of reality within the mind, wouldn't that create noumena out of raw phenomena?

Likewise, a multimedia communication system that involves recreating the noumena by exhibiting all their constituent phenomena should be possible as well.

A thing-as-itself can be made communicable by integrating and exhibiting the thing-as-it-appears from different sensory perspectives

Empathic Telepathy

Everybody knows telepathy is simply a remote transmission and reception of thoughts. Adding empathy to the mix however, allows the broadcast of emotions, feelings, sensations, experiences, among similar abstract concepts, that all seem to be very differently interpreted by each individual as based from their own experiences and memories.

The four topics I discussed are more tightly related than I may have discussed them, but the simple premise is that language, thought, and perception will merge into a single concept.

If the answer is yes and a convention for mixed sensations will indeed provide people with the privilege to broadcast the entirety of themselves, what would become of such a society?

But if no, and allowing ourselves to consciously develop mixed sensations and be able to communicate them more efficiently still cannot allow us to completely and truly understand one another, then what can?

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    $\begingroup$ It sounds more like a philosophical question than a worldbuilding question. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica May 31 '18 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ I feel like your limiting factor will still be the receiving person. There's plenty of "bandwidth" in human interactions now, but people misinterpret them in all sorts of fun ways. Adding more data seems counterproductive. $\endgroup$ – Cadence May 31 '18 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ Programming languages are a form of mathematical notation; this may be more easily seen in programming languages such as Lisp or ML or Scheme or Prolog. They are usually made to appear as similar to human language in order to facilitate comprehension by humans, but they are all just particular mathematical notations describing algorithms. The idea that we could somehow convey das Ding an sich by communicating all its properties as sensations is strange; objects have many properties, many more than the available sensations; and human sensations are only weekly tied to physical quantities. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 31 '18 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ There seem to be two questions here: one purely philosophical and one that’s closer to world building. You’re asking firstly if a person’s emotions, feelings, experiences, memories, etc are sufficient to communicate a philosophical sense of being. Secondly you’re asking what societal implications that would have (assuming the answer is yes). Only the second question is appropriate for Worldbuilding (and might need tightening). I would suggest you either focus your question on that or perhaps try asking this at the philosophy stackexchange (probably minus the telepathy aspect). $\endgroup$ – Avernium May 31 '18 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ You made a mighty leap from "fuse the senses" to "the result of the fusion is so perfect that it is now capable of being reality." That leap needs to be fleshed out. The entire point of exploring phenomena and noumenon is the assumption that what you describe is indeed not something that happens. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon May 31 '18 at 22:43

"Will a language built on organized synesthesia be viable for noumena conveyance through empathic telepathy?"

I think that technically, the answer is no, but for practical purposes it may be sufficient.

You mentioned how the increased complexity of sensory perception would "create noumena out of raw phenomena", but that may not necessarily be the case. Even the most highly developed senses, in all their resulting correlations and integrations, would nonetheless only be a representation of the thing-as-itself.

When we see an object, for example, we actually see light waves reflecting off the object in such a way that an object's properties can be revealed to us. In your example of taste corresponding with varying light, the photosynthetic organisms would undoubtedly have a BETTER idea of the properties of anything light happens to interact with, but these perceptions still exist largely within their heads (er, or whatever corresponding organ they have).

Though certainly MORE about an object can be understood and communicated, perhaps even all that can be understood through the most ideal senses, this still is not so much as "a comprehensive copy of reality" as much as a comprehensive copy of reality as far as it can be perceived with the senses we have. What comes to mind for me (howsoever relevant may it be) are matters of quantum mechanics such as wave-particle duality, where how we observe, say, a photon, seems to affect its intrinsic properties.

But then again...

... this feels a little nit-picky. The "thing-as-it-appears" would be as close to the "thing-as-itself" as we could reasonably get it, and probably wouldn't interfere with a society's "privilege to broadcast the entirety of themselves" to any significant degree. After all, presumably the members of this society would all have comparable senses, and so would at least have a very strong, reliable standard to measure their perceptions with.

"What would become of such a society?"

As to what would would become of a society, in a general sense, problems caused by honest miscommunications would not be issues. Presumably in the everyday lives of ordinary citizens people would be treated with greater sympathy and compassion, as their individual struggles would be more easily understood. Arguments, at any rate, would be more rational and less personally demeaning. Though there would still probably be a few who have little regard for the feelings of others and largely act in ways harmful to everyone else, there would likely be far fewer of these individuals than we typically experience with humans as the surrounding community would have a better idea of how to respond to them.

That being said, it's not as though this would be a utopia. Excellent communications skills can't solve everything, and factors such as apathetic self-interest, one's circumstances, genetics, how one was raised, etc. would still be problematic.

Dishonesty, too, if it could be achieved with any degree of success, would significantly retract the benefits of empathetic telepathy outside of circles of individuals who already trust each other (e.g., how you trust your family vs. how you trust the random people you meet on the street). Depending on how difficult it is to project untruthful ideas, emphatic telepathy wouldn't necessarily be any better than traditional communication in these circumstances.


All in all, though society would be improved somewhat, especially in cases of personal interactions, I have doubts as to how well this would work large-scale.

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