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The humans in this setting are telepaths who are able to communicate with each other through their minds. This form of telepathy transfers simple phrases, symbols, or emotions to the designated person within a range of 5 - 7 feet. Having full blown conversations telepathically is difficult because it taxes the mind, and isn't often done.

However, telepathy also allows for a high-level of awareness, a mental trait gives the person a full picture of their surrounding environment for 7 feet. this form of omnipresence works in the background of the person's mind, and they are aware of it semi-consciously. Say they are looking for something important, such as their keys or the location of a store, and don't remember where it is. This radar would be aware of the surroundings and point out the object if it was in the person's vicinity. The person would experience this as instinctual, and simply know where to find them.

This culture reveres the phenomenon through the eyes of their culture, and looks at it through a religious lens. Humans call it the god-spirit, which is a small piece of their God that they carry in their soul. It is a symbol of their divine connection with the deity, viewed as God "watching over them" similar to a guardian spirit.

I need to explain the mechanics of this ability and its behavior. How would the human brain be made capable of this level of awareness?

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    $\begingroup$ Why would anything have to change for the human mind to be able to cope with the ability to find objects? We already have machines and applications which enable us to find lost objects. And omnipresence does not mean the ability to find objects in the immediate vicinity, it means direct simultaneous presence in all places; and through the magic of Skype and its ilk we are already moving towards it. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 22 at 10:57
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    $\begingroup$ You may want to scale back a little. True omnipresence, in my view would be able to sense every atom, molecule and forces present in that region of place. If you scale it to awareness of everything important, possible threats, etc. It is much more managable and not that hard. Meditation could propel you that way. Our minds are amazing, we are just not trained to properly use them. Many of its features not necessary to everyday life, so they are neglected. $\endgroup$ – Lupus Jun 22 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ Are you really asking what biological/physiological changes to the human brain would be necessary to permit the equivalent of telepathic radar? Anyone who could answer this with any level of realism would either (a) be shot by every government on Earth, (b) be snatched up by the quickest government on Earth for military research, or (c) be running to the patent office. Does your story actually depend on this level of detail? or are you actually asking, "how can I explain the mechanics of the behavior?" which is much simpler. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 22 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ That isn't enough of a change. Asking how the brain can be made "biologically capable" is beyond reason. Are you expecting to hear how to modify the cortex? Or are you asking for things like Flox gave you? The former is, IMO, impossible and unreasonable to ask for. The later is asking for a description of the mechanics. I believe you need to remove the phrase "biologically capable" in any form. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 22 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ I'm unclear what exactly are you asking, that the below answers failed to answer. What kind of requirements do you have towards an acceptable answer? Could you elaborate on that? $\endgroup$ – Lupus Jul 18 at 19:45
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With a few short mutations, we could do what you suggest (in a way we are already doing it)

Our biological senses and minds are based on earlier survival instincts that have been established long before humans evolved. In addition to our standard sight and sound senses, we are already aware of:

  • Vibrations - especially those in close vicinity
  • Electrical currents close by
  • Directional heat, sound and air movement
  • Pheremones, chemicals and other scents
  • Our brains also 'paint' a picture of all objects close by. Close your eyes and try moving through a space, those that do it regularly can 'map' rooms and objects.

Your omnipresent abilities may simply be an extension of the above pre-extant properties we have.

The issue you may encounter is more of a 'filtering' problem. A species would normally evolve senses to deal with threats / communication, however 'omnipresence' implies you would be aware of everything. (ie. Ants, as well as objects, as well as rocks, as well as keys, as well as remote controls etc etc.) What you become aware of is based on what your species normally should be, so really 'omnipresence' is not possible, as it is more of a delineation of meaning, rather than simply 'everything'.

ie. 'Full Picture' is so broad, that is actually the problem presented here. You may find that this culture concentrates more on what types of objects are more relevant to it, rather than 'everything'.

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    $\begingroup$ Subconsciousness could account for that filtering. We are doing it now, by attaching labels to ordinary items and sights. The mutation/training could allow for better control of that filter. You would be able to change that filter more easily, allowing for other parameters than those evolved (threat, mate, food). $\endgroup$ – Lupus Jun 22 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ Fair warning, I've asked for a clarification from Incognito, but as-asked, this isn't an answer to his question, which is asking what must change in the brain to do what you've described. You haven't expressed that answer. I'm hoping he's looking for answers like yours, frankly. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 22 at 15:20
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Since memory can be extremely detailed of a single environment in humans currently, why would this omniprecense change anything? Its basically a memory of how it all looks and the person's brain just requests the memory of the carkeys or similar and the memory of where they are surfaces.

Basically a portion of the braincells that handle memory will be dedicated to this system. They will be empty or hold information that isnt important to remember for extended periods of time and when the omniprecense is activated these are filled with details of the 5 to 7 feet surrounding them in memory form.

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  • $\begingroup$ I gather, from the wording of the question, that the concept is the ability to sense and locate things without having any memory of how the object arrived at it's current location. Not so much "finding where you left the keys" and more like "finding where someone else hid/misplaced the keys" even when you were not present to create a memory of where the keys are. $\endgroup$ – Dalila Jul 22 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Dalila yes the person wouldnt remember where they put it, but as I read it their acute sense would basically function as a memory of what the area looked like. Imagine a person who walks up to a table laden with a thousand things cris-crossing eachother. That person turns away from the table and someone asks them for one specific item on the table, which they would then be able to pick out without any further thought. This would essentially be what this telepathic ability does, but for your entire surroundings and without having to look at it at all. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Jul 22 at 21:21
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Let's start with what is already known about global awareness:

Meet Ben Underwood, human echolocation master

Ben went blind in his youth, yet developed echolocation sophisticated enough to ride a bike on the streets, skateboard in parks, surfing on the ocean, and even play video games!

Echolocation gives animals, and the few humans who learn it, global situational awareness.


Let's review Telepathy...

The are many documented reports of people knowing that a loved one is in danger or has died (or is alive) from a distance. This could be considered a form of telepathy.

I can across an interesting theory once.

I read that the blood vessels and cerebrospinal fluid running through the brain form a natural biological Faraday cage in the skull. For those who don't know, a Faraday cage is a mesh, usually metal, that blocks all electromagnetic signals from reaching inside.

Most people experience this effect inside certain buildings or in elevators which have enough metal to cut off cell phones.

Biologically speaking, if the human organism didn't block EM signals to the brain, we might be able to pick up radio waves or other stuff directly with our brains.... The Faraday cage effect is why it took so long for scientists to develop brain wave scanners that didn't require drilling holes in the skull.

Thus the theory was that if someone had a mutation where part of the brain was exposed and not covered by the natural Faraday cage effect, then telepathy might actually be possible. Though we would still need to grow some sort of transmitter organ.


If telepathy was accomplished by an EM wave emission of some kind, depending on the frequency it could also provide a degree of interaction with the physical and energy environment around each person.


Regarding the global vision effect mentioned, the proper term is traditionally called Clairvoyance, or Astral Projection, depending on the exact details experienced.

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So, you want to create a god. Your own god. A god omniscient and omnipresent within a manageable sphere of influence that can talk to other gods. I thought about that a lot, and found ways to achieve telepathy. Here's one of the ways to do it.

Meet the R'ha

enter image description here

A telepathic alien species from the Sci Fi shortfilm under the same name by Kaleb Lechowski.

Source

enter image description here

A simple cephalic anatomy of the creature R'ha, showing its communication organs.

Source

Basically, they have a Wi'Fi embedded in their heads, with a receiver and a transmitter fitted as biological organs near the brain. And you know how Wi'Fi works like how information is translated from 1's and zero's into electronic signals then into changes in the ups and downs in the intensity of the carefully emitted radiowaves. The reverse process works to decode the transmitted information.

Though the specifics of R'ha telecommunication is left out, it's safe to assume they not only detect changes in the intensity of radio waves, but changes in frequencies. This means they hear radiowaves just as how we see colors.


Resonance Sensor

Based entirely on speculation, their head is shaped to filter EM waves and the filtered waves enter their resonance sensor to detect long-wave transmissions so that the brain can interprets the structure of the long-wave. This interpretation of detection can be a language of its own, mapping letters, words, phrases, sentences, and who knows maybe even whole mental snapshots containing memories and ideas and feelings, into changes in intensity, frequency, modulation, phase shifts, or other signal processing techniques.

Emitter

The emitter on the other hand, contains a different resonator of its own, translating synaptic firing patterns and neural signals directly into the same changes in radio waves. Its just like the vocal chords, but with even tinier muscles and some metallic components that allow vibration in a wider range of frequencies.


With organs to detect, interpret, and create radio waves, R'ha are practically Wi'Fi-enabled, and telepathy is justified.

But you might be thinking. *HAHA. They're so ugly. So...

No. Your gods won't look like that.

We can have similar organs but put them somewhere else. Better yet, we can reconfigure parts of our existing organs to be just as sensitive and controllable as the R'ha's.

More like... this

Sorry, no picture yet. But it works like this.

1. Pentachrome Eyes

You already know about people who have four cone cells in their eyes, who can see 1000 times more color than usual, usually towards the bluer side of things. But imagine having five, with one for far ultraviolet (bordering on XRay) and another for far infrared (bordering on radio waves)? Not just incredible detail, but the temperature of things is visible to you as well. So there, you have it. Ultra-awareness.

For the telepathy, this is just the ultra-awareness, but coupled with ultra-interpretative learning. Since you can see radio waves and x-rays, you can even peer into the internal structure of objects with just your eyes, kinda like superman on both heat and x-ray vision mode. I wonder what can happen if you can see entangled photons as well.

2. Hyper-octave Laryngeal Muscles Just like the R'ha's emitter, you have vocal chords, but ones mutated solely for a wider range of frequencies just as your pentachrome eyes can see in that range. Maybe a number of superfast-twitch muscles akin to humming bird wing muscles, but tailored for making membranophone sounds. Together with a modified uvula that works like a transmitter antenna that can vibrate, generate, and detect electromagnetic wave, you can now radiate the same imaginary sounds and colors that you can see with your pentacolor-sensing eyes.


Electromagnetic Ultra-awareness + Bio-Wi'fi = Telepathic Radar

With these two, you're not only wi'fi-enabled, but your awareness spreads like a radio broadcast originating from the roof and the root of your tongue, like a spoken word shouted as an EM wave corresponding with your name. Everything that your word/name/shout/broadcast touches, sends an echo to your eyes and ears, but slightly changed in a way that tells you something about whats material and at what distances the echoes came from, like diffractograms, radar, sonar, and the likes. From then on, your mind can be trained to build a composite image of your surroundings, with the quality and resolution fading after a few meters depending on how loud you shouted/how strong the broadcast is/how experienced you are at this type of radio-echolocation.

Similarly, someone else can speak something with those modified uvula and vocal chords such that only other radio-communicating creatures and devices will hear it, but only another person that knows the correct frequency/channel can understand how to subconsciously decode it.

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Your people's telepathy would give them a sense of "omnipresence" for living things possessing nervous systems, already. If you want them to literally see their surroundings, including inanimate objects, and see through solid matter, like a desk drawer, while viewing themselves from multiple angles like from above their bodies then they'd require a remote-viewing talent.

In "The Neuroscience of Remote-Viewing", Melvin Morse, MD, asserts that since reality is a 'consciousness first' model, meaning that everything we see and know arises from universal consciousness and remote-view is just our consciousness communicating on the neurological level with the universe one, albeit on the subconscious level. Or, at least, that is the best interpretation of his mind-boggling silly theory for scientifically explaining something that doesn't exist.

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What you're describing is basically an energy field projected by all living things, which surrounds and penetrates, and binds everything together that allows for enhanced limited awareness, psychological connection, and the connection itself is revered, possibly even mythicize. (I have this odd feeling that I've seen that concept before.)

Now, my solution is kind of radical here - use the fourth dimension. If you want 'limited omnipresence', any kind of detection (X-ray, infrared, electric field, graviton detection (if that's even a thing), etc.) can be stymied by blocking it with the right object/group of objects. However, if you look at things from the 4th dimension, it can't be blocked by something on the third. So giving your people 4th dimensional sight would work.

How would you do that? With a bit of protein folding and handwavium. Somehow, there's a bit of 4th dimension juice here that can be accessed with just the right pressures. And, internally, there are proteins folds which apply the pressure to fold themselves onto the fourth dimension. Like a piece of paper folded into an origami crane. Now, your race has these weird protein structures within them to interact with the fourth dimension. (This can be placed in the eyes, or alternatively, the occipital lobe.) They'd also need to recieve fourth dimension particle to see things, but fortunately light exists in the fourth spacial dimension as well. And these would be rare and weak proteins, so interaction with them would be the equivalent of very bad eyesight, hence the limited range and why it's mostly subconscious. Perhaps some of these proteins could 'deflect' the photons in the fourth dimension, allowing for fourth dimension communication via bounced light within the fourth dimension.

You'd need a bit of handwavium, and it'd take a long time until this culture would derive enough scientific understanding to figure out precisely how it work, but I think this might work out.

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What is Telepathy?

I'd like to understand what you mean by "telepathy". I've seen several versions in various kinds of literature, with significantly different implications.

Type 1

Do you mean a form of cooperative communication, almost like talking, but going through some other non-auditory channel? This could be anything from Sign Language, lip-reading, or implanted sub-vocalization sensors and ear-buds. One could imagine organs devoted to creating and sensing magnetic fields. Perhaps we could add fluorescent proteins to our retinas to allow us to transmit light from our eyes into the eyes of another. Any communication channel can support information flow, given experience and training.

Type 2

Or, do you mean the ability to capture the unexpressed thoughts of another? The "I know what you're thinking" kind of telepathy, which is more of inner eavesdropping than volitional communication? I don't see an evolutionary path for this, since it violates the independence of the individual. If our thoughts leaked through to others, we'd have to develop a thought immune system to disguise our thoughts, if we were to stay recognizable as human rather than an explicitly hive-based species.

Perhaps you are asking aspects of for both types?

The first part of your question feels like my first form of telepathy -- intentional communication between parties. I don't think it should so taxing, if we had developed the ability to do so.

The second part of your question suggests that you would have an awareness of another's mental state and perhaps their thoughts.

Type 1 is easy

See the thoughts for using eyes for communication. It is direct, one-on-one, and could be amplified by a sort of "public address" system. It gets less effective with age, and cataracts limit both "speaking" and "hearing".

Type 2 is hard, and it already exists

Reading a person's thoughts is, I submit, unlikely. Thought is spread throughout the brain, and requires the full details of the complete neural network to understand. We are doing experiments now where some high-level information can be sensed and some control of devices and prostheses is possible, but it is far from "reading thoughts" at a level that would allow one being to comprehend the nuance of another being's reasons.

But, we already have a framework for something that is a lightweight form of telepathy, or inadvertent transmission of our thoughts and emotional state to another person. Some people are already good at sensing that information. Body language, tone of voice, facial flushing, various "tells" and gestures help inform our awareness of the state of those around us. Growing that sensitivity is a matter of training and learning to observe.

Give your gifted individuals higher time resolution for vision -- a sort of slow-motion with a higher effective frame rate so they can see small, fast twitches. Give them slightly better hearing, so they can sense another person's heartbeat (or the vision to see the blood flow pulsing through the other's skin). Give them a deeper red sensitivity, perhaps into the infrared, so they can see changes in skin temperature.

These are small evolutions, which could perhaps even be engineered.

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