EDIT: As suggested by L.Dutch, I turned the original post into a series of its own.

Some Context

Though the name "Shared Consciousness" is pretty self explanatory to me, the best I can do to describe it is a group of individuals connected by a "psychic link".

There is no "leader". No hierarchy. Everyone is an equal part in this "community", a "brother". No brother has control over the other - they can't be forced to do anything they don't want to do.

The link allows them to have telepathic conversations and share, memories, emotions, senses, desires - pretty much anything - with any number of brothers he wants. This form of telepathy is the only "superpower" I explicitly require.

Privacy exists within a shared consciousness. If one of the members don't want the others to know a secret, for example, there is no way his brothers can ever know about it through the link. However, once any information is shared, any member is free to access it at any time.

The Question

The center piece of this puzzle lies in the billateral psychic link. That's what differentiates a shared cosciousness from a random group of people.

How is this link created?


Stuff to help you (hopefully)

  • First of all, try not to confuse shared consciousness with hive mind. I have created another series (link) to address that. I recommend you read it in order to know the difference;
  • Though it seems that I was specifically referring to humans, feel free to propose a shared consciousness based in any lifeform avaiable;

If other questions arise in the comments, I'll edit the post and keep updating this section with useful information.

  • 2
    The ... 'group' might need some kind of biological wifi or bluetooth – Jannis Nov 9 at 12:54
  • A community of telepaths with shared storage servers. From the perspective of an outsider, that would be a hive mind, even though the individuals act uniquely – nzaman Nov 9 at 13:10
  • You have asked a number of questions, each of which will probably need a post to itself. I would suggest splitting your question into a series, and I'd suggest getting the physical method sorted first as a lot will stem from that. For instance: 'Shared consciousness: how might it work biologically?'. – Ynneadwraith Nov 9 at 13:42
  • 1
    How is this different from an ordinary group of ordinary people? As far as I can see the only particularity is the medium of communication between the members of the group, and the question does not explain how this "bilateral psychic link" is different from ordinary inter-human communication. Moreover, it appears to be weaker than ordinary inter-human communication, which can multicast and is not restricted to one-peer-to-one-peer message interchange. – AlexP Nov 9 at 17:09
  • 1
    @AlexP I think the difference is in the philosophical concept of qualia. Qualia are rather poorly defined, in my mind, but the one overarching aspect of them is that they are mental things that cannot be shared, such as "feelings." – Cort Ammon Nov 10 at 4:35

You can really have two major categories of ways to create a link like this. The first is just a spurious link. one day you realize you are connected to someone else.

The other pattern is one I've known as the "mafia handshake." If two goodfellows want to talk business, but have never been officially introduced, they can't do so on their own. That would risk one of them being someone from outside the mob trying to act like they were part of the mob. Instead, such a meeting is always brokered by a third party who knows both individuals as part of the mafia. They can introduce both parties as part of the mafia, and then both parties can talk business.

This approach is excellent for you because it implies that there are already psychic links to work with, so you don't need a fully scientific explanation.

  • That's actually a good use case for a group of people with this ability. I will be sure to give some thinking on that. – Magus Nov 10 at 12:29

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  • When I got to iLens an episode of Black Mirror just replayed in my mind. Awesome answer and even more awesome presentation of the concept. – Magus Nov 10 at 17:26

I'm going to draw on two examples from speculative fiction that feature the characteristics you specify. Perhaps these can help guide you. I am relatively knew to the site so please let me know if this is not how we answer questions here:

Conjoiners in Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space universe

Experimentations with neural implantation tech lead to the Transenlightenment, and shared consciousness among those that choose. In some of his Revelation Space novels, Reynolds offers a poignant exploration of what this means in terms of privacy and individuality, told from the perspective of a 'reluctant' Conjoiner.

Edenists in Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy

Engineering of the human germline has given rise to Edenists, a faction with a biological "affinity band" that is a bit like telepathy, although Edenists retain more individuality compared to Reynolds' Conjoiners. Hamilton takes a more considered look at the concept of shared consciousness by having some Edenists "bound" to other lifeforms from birth (such as biological spaceships kind of like super birds) through a shared affinity gene.

  • I really liked both of your suggestions. Certainly gonna check them out. Also welcome, hope you're enjoying the experience :) – Magus Nov 12 at 14:22

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