In my story, some aliens try to conquer humans by slowly copying their mind into humans heads. This copy process is called “enlightenment” by the ones who undergo the transformation. For example, by using subliminal stimuli based technology like 25th frame. It is worth noting, that there are few Aliens — about 1 alien to 5000 Humans. And the enlightenment process actually rebirths the alien's mind into the human's body: the human's mind is merged and absorbed into the alien's, and the alien's body is destroyed (so the mind cannot leave the human's body). The process is quite slow: a few months/years.

A person being enlightened slowly forgets usual humans desires (“I don't need sex/money/rock'n'roll any more”). They hear voices (“Angels told me to do this”). At the same time they develop unusual skills (telepathy, telekinesis) and wills (for example, urge to “enlighten” the non-enlightened, build strange devices, eat maggots), while regaining all their human memories. So, with some basic training it is trivial to find the enlightened among other people.

I have these questions:

  1. How can modern humanity can fight this?

    • Quarantine the enlightened?
    • Develop drugs against the technology?
    • Hunt for strange ones?
    • Keep everything secret?
  2. How can the memory implantation be performed stealthily, without physical contact and abducting people?

  • $\begingroup$ Is there a requirement that a single ailen mind be implanted in a single human mind, or can we spread an alien mind out amongst the minds in a society (albiet with the alien's behavior being more sluggish because the enlightned have to communicate slowly) $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ And +1 for instilling a vile hatred for your idea by turning "enlightenment" around on its head. The fact that I wanted to silence you just for suggesting it suggests the story you're building will have some gut punching drama associated with it! It should be quite the tale! $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ I suggest splitting this into two questions. I edited and left them both in so you can choose which one to do first. I have a question though - why would an enlightened person want to have others become enlightened if an alien cannot possess another host? $\endgroup$
    – Josiah
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz it's a reference to subliminal images, i.e, displaying messages on the 25th frame of a 24 frame per second movie. $\endgroup$
    – Tacroy
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 23:58
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    $\begingroup$ Incorporate that into the Question. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 0:03

5 Answers 5


This world quickly becomes quite horrible:

Spreading enlightenment:

  • A quick google says that the 25th frame effect works by subconsciously implanting sugestions, ideas, etc by flaashing them at very high speed (1/25th second). Your aliens could spread enlightenment through TV, media, DVDs, cinemas, youtube, etc, or any other source of video. I might recommend that they hack the transmission of Eurovision, the Superbowl (or at least the ads) and/or any popular torrented legitimately distributed TV show.

  • They might also use hack into phones, tablets, computers etc and use them to spread enlightenment. This might be less effective than TV as production of these is more decentralised and not everyone has gaping security holes in their devices.

Fighting the enlightenment (from least to most horrifying):

  • The 25th frame effect only seems to work throught video. The government might block all video transmissions and have Youtube et al temporarily shut down.

  • If scientists can record and analyse the enlightenment stimuli/phenomenon then they might develop a counter sugestion, which would then also be distributed by the channels given above. The aliens could develop a different subliminal message, and this would repeat until the humans esscalate their methods (below). I can imagine a subliminal arms-race.

  • Some (ie: most) people will automatically be skeptical of this phenomenon, they might still download videos as torrents and they might have infected videos stored on their devices. These people will be the most dangerous and should somehow be tracked and monitored via, you know, global internet surveilance.

  • Diseminate your method of recognising the enlightened as far and wide as possible in order to cause a mass public panic like the witch hunts. People panic and set suspected enlightened on fire turn the enlightened into the proper care and rehabilitation facilities. False positives might get killed.

  • If there are 5000 humans for every alien, then there are roughly 1.4 million aliens (I'm not going to ask where they all came from). If their original bodies die when they implant in a human, an evil pragmatic government might just let all of them implant and then just kill the resulting enlightened human/alien hybrids. This prevents any future problems from aliens, but the civilians might not aprove of this.


First question depends on the method aliens use (the second question), so I'll assume you'll ask a follow up question when you know how the aliens are trying to do the infiltration.

I do not see any point in trying to be stealthy. Stealth is dangerous, if it is penetrated a deliberate effort to be stealthy is like a huge glowing pink sign saying: "We are up to something shady. Please investigate for an easy promotion!" It is much better to camouflage it into something that looks the same, but is entirely legal. Tax deductible, if possible.

Like a religion. You already hinted at it with enlightenment, although I suppose that could be just a left over from where you got the idea. Go all the way with this and actually have a religion.

There are all kinds of sects that promise enlightenment, contact with higher beings, development of mental abilities and so on while in fact mostly focussing on emptying the bank accounts of their converts. Your aliens could deliver on all those promises and they'd not really be interested in getting rich fast, so they'd actually be more honest and responsible than most of their competitors.

I predict that with some decent management, remember to hire professionals to manage business and marketing, you'd have a queue of people willing to pay good money to join your self-development program. All legal. And if you do not have a strict schedule and can do it slow and gradual, the fact that you really can deliver on increasing the mental abilities of your converts as far as anyone not aware of alien invasions can tell, you'll end up ruling the world almost by default. Because you can afford to pick your converts. Pick not those in sensitive positions, but those young enough and connected enough to gain such positions after they have been taken over.

Young adults searching for their place in the world are prime recruiting ground for cults anyway. The parents and family can be a problem but if you make the effort to not be greedy and insane, they might actually be touchingly grateful that you took their wild one and tamed him to be a respectable adult. Even if he sometimes behaves bit odd, almost like not human.

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    $\begingroup$ And if some curious journalists do get suspicious and try to unveil your plan, you can just sue them to oblivion with enough money. Also, just think about what would happen if someone posted an article about a certain infamous group (based on alien souls in volcanoes) that they are in fact a front for an alien invasion. Everyone would find it ridiculous, with many such crazy conspiracy theories going on. Bonus points if the aliens in your story are actually deliberately creating a lot of easily disprovable conspiracy theories to make anyone who discovers their real scheme look like a lunatic. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 10:42
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    $\begingroup$ @vsz Generally it is better just keep low profile and not do anything suspicious unless it is unavoidable, and if it cannot be avoided instant public apology and making amends for the transgression is simpler solution. Such active strategies for suppressing discussion are useful for organizations like the Scientologists or the CIA who have a steady level of negative publicity they can't realistically get rid of. Since the aliens do not really believe in the religion they teach they can simply write it to be socially acceptable. And if necessary rewrite. It is a fraud so it can be responsive. $\endgroup$ Commented May 24, 2015 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ "sects that promise enlightenment, contact with higher beings, development of mental abilities and so on" <-- This is literally exactly what they are. They aren't posing as such a sect for "camouflage", they just really are that sect. The only difference between them and the fraudulent ones is that theirs isn't a fraud. Imagine if on closer examination of one of those real-world sects, it turns out that their "higher beings" are actually real. In fact, this is how you might want to lead in to the story. $\endgroup$
    – dgould
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 16:10
  1. Humanity could fight against the "enlightenment" by:

    • Identifying those infected.
    • Stopping or altering one of the items below.
  2. The "25 frame" technology would have to be more than just "memory implantation" if telepathy or telekinesis is to be believable. Perhaps the brain itself is changed in some way. This would require extensive studying of human physiology. It could be performed stealthily by:

    • Ingesting/inhaling/absorbing nanotechnology. The nanites collect in the brain and start changing it, either automatically or by direct programming.
    • Hypnosis, anesthesia, "knock-out-ray", etc. When the human is unconscious, modify the brain.
    • Subliminal messaging on social media/TV/radio, instructing humans to have the previous done.
    • Some kind of special radiation/signal injected into the brain. Only works from a short distance, not possible to affect large crowds at once.

Dopamine and negative reinforcement are great methods of fighting this. Bob is undergoing enlightenment. He is starting to say that I don't need down human desire. Put him in a chair and show him or let him experience the thing that he is losing interest in. As he experiences/watches it, inject him with dopamine. His body will associate the dopamine induced pleasure with the thing that he/she is losing interest.

To fight the voices, there are two routes. One is injecting the person with dopamine for disobeying the voices. Another way is by giving the person an electric shock (not too powerful, this isn't torture) when they obey the voices.


Enlightenment, as it stands, will be easy to find, too easy. When "enlightened" people lose such basic parts of their psyche as a love of rock n' roll, it's going to tell anyone close to them that something's seriously up. If your loved one suddenly dropped their hobbies and interests, you'd likely try talking to them. Whatever the enlightened's response will be, it'll likely be concerning and prompt some calls to a counselor and/or psychologist.

So, how can the government hunt down enlightened? Easily-by making the above groups (counselors and psychologists) informants. Just tell them the government is investigating the matter, is looking for a cure, and is keeping things hush-hush to prevent a panic. Or simply have government agents pose as fellow members of the field (mental disorder specialists) investigating the possibility of some sort of mental disorder epidemic (if that's the right terminology).

As for having the enlightened quarantined, have some people show up and offer "treatment" for their loved one (ie. bring them to a mental hospital). Don't worry, it's not a lie! You'll just be giving a different treatment than most people will expect (the exception being crazy conspiracy people).

As for treatment, there have been many great suggestions, but I have to assert something I noted: the 25th frame effect can "program" someone to do something, but it doesn't change the brain structure. What I think is happening here is simple:

  1. The aliens can effectively transmit psionic energy, convert energy to matter, as well as combine energy. So, here's how it works:

A. In order to transmit psionic energy, the aliens must form a link, and to do that, the humans must be in a receptive state. The 25th frame effect does this covertly and efficiently.

B. The aliens use this link to infuse psionic energy into a human's brain. At this point, just one signal will cause the energy-infused matter to convert into hybrid brain matter.

Since the alien's bodies are matter, they convert the alien's energy into energy and infuse the victim's body with this energy. The alien's goal is likely to enlighten enough humans that they can send another signal, which will convert the enlightened's bodies into hybrid forms. At this point, they've either taken over Earth or can take over Earth with their enlightened army.

However, let's say something goes wrong in the process; a plot twist. When the psionic energy is converted into matter, creating a hybrid brain, the human and alien mind is destroyed and replaced with a new mind altogether; a new entity. This eliminates the dangerous weakness of having the enlightened lose their hobbies and interests, at the cost of having a completely new being form inside the human victim's body.

This enlightened will have the memories of both the human and alien who were destroyed to create it, psionic abilities (telepathy and telekinesis), and a strong desire to take over Earth. This last one is easily explained; humans have a tendency to desire power, and these aliens clearly already seek it. In fact, these enlightened will likely see themselves as superior, the future of the human race.

So, there won't be any curing this with a drug in this case, and fighting enlightened after they gain their superhuman hybrid forms (perhaps even before that, since they have telekinesis and insidious schemes to back them up) is going to be difficult, but hey! It's not impossible.


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