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The Dark Side of Light Things:

by Akiva Lipshitz 4 months ago in psychology
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An Experiment in Technotelepathy

In the late 2060s the Minskerian school was founded upon the revolutionary discovery that fundamental particles are coupled to a constellation of higher dimensional objects called dians. Dians encode and implement the physical laws of lower dimensional matter. The field of cognitive science found hope in deciphering the enigma of consciousness when an interdisciplinary group discovered unusual activity in the diantic particles linked to the nervous system, and knocked emojis out of everyday usage. More sophisticated was Gottfried Leibniz’s Characteristica Universalis, an alphabet for representing ideas; Leibniz postulated reasoning obeyed a grammar. Inspired by Leibniz’s ideas, Professor B. Minsker developed Quantum Metacognition Theory (QMC) which states the human conscious condition emerges from the behavior of the diantic particles coupled to the nervous system. Utilizing QMC, physicists developed a method to construct artificial consciousness out of diantic particles and temporarily inject them into another’s mind.

E. Gilding and P. Ludsky compressed this technology into a headset. Incorporating MindLeap Labs Inc., they envisioned making available to the masses a new dimension of media: streams of consciousness. People could record, playback, and share with others a sequence of their own mental experience. Headset users first describe the sensation of a spherical physical space within their mind expanding outwards from a central locus and then leaving a vacuum in its place; the mental equivalent of a visual blind spot. Suddenly, users sense in this void a stream of thought and emotion independent of their own. Rather than become totally immersed in this experience, users are free to modulate the extent to which they focus on this guest consciousness.

The headset was first marketed as a lifestyle product to add an intimate mental dimension to relationships, as a way for friends to share a laugh, or for people to record a mental diary. It wasn’t clear to the public what value the technology added beyond being a cool gimmick. Its early adapters were mainly teenagers impressed by the novelty of the technology and the potential it provided for personal expression in a social context.

The proliferation of MindLeap is traced to when brothers K. and E. Jefwyn released the first movie of thoughts, that of famed stand-up comedian Albert Okege as he ate breakfast. Audiences across the world were treated to a glimpse of Okege’s thought processes as he formed jokes out of his comedic intuition. Even in its nascent stages, the potency of Okege’s humor was scintillating. A film critic was the first to comment on “Breakfast with Albert.” The piece had a dialectical quality, being both immensely humorous but also subtly melancholic. When Okege later committed suicide, he was remembered as the first person who exposed the depressed comedian archetype to the public and every armchair psychologist noted suicidal ideation in Okege’s routine the first time MindLeap went to Hollywood.

MindLeap was instantly appealing. It liberated individuals from the confines of their own minds by making it possible to experience the thrilling diversity of humanity’s internal mental life.

Mark Twain wouldn’t have had to wait from 14 to 21 to recognize how intelligent his father had become in the previous 7 years. Perhaps Moses would not have been so angry to have smashed the original tablets had he genuinely understood the Israelite’s thought processes as they created a golden calf. More immediately, the joy of mathematics was made instantly as poignant to the bohemian hipster, who left math behind in his sophomore year of college, as it was to leading mathematicians. Artists pushed the boundaries of aesthetic expression into the realm of the mind. They could contort their streams of thought to behave in novel, exciting ways people hadn’t before experienced. Next came the advent of thought shows, where thinkers broadcast their reasoning-through relevant issues. Questions of a thinker’s authorial intent were obviated when the totality of their reasoning process was made public.

War-zone journalists streamed live the mental experiences of local populations. For the first time, people in the West could genuinely empathize with the plight of those in authoritarian regimes, leading to a shift from a strategically oriented foreign policy to a values-based foreign policy. Under growing national pressure, the White House issued an updated statement on education that led to a general overhaul of curriculum to focus on methods of thinking. Even college admission personal statements moved away from the written word to conscious expression and experience.

The fifth generation MindLeap auto-broadcasted people’s mental experiences to other nearby headset wearers, unless the wearer limited broadcasts. Then came Moo—a social media platform for “mooing” mind snippets. Such developments were instrumental in turning mental transparency into a societal norm; a mental presence in another’s mind was as natural as having a physical presence in his line of vision. There was constant exposure to others’ thinking, e.g., how they were guided by reason or intuition, how they balanced complex contradictory values, or the extent to which they chose to suspend biases in forming judgements. Like it or not, the MindLeap generation was growing up in a world where another’s mind was as bare to passers-by as his face.

And like it some did not. Backlashes appeared in various forms. Some private schools barred MindLeap headsets from school, and mini-vans sported bumper magnets reading “I’m the proud parent of a non-MindLeap user.” Many relationship experts eschewed MindLeap devices as detrimental for social relationships. Support groups, and ultimately rehabilitation centers, emerged for adults struggling with MindLeap addiction, and the American Psychological Association considered adding a new diagnosis to the DSM for individuals who were clinically impaired because of dependency on their MindLeap.

Overall, however, society learned to adjust, as it always has. In earlier eras, words spoken verbally were the most effective way of conveying complex ideas. The totality of factors in one’s rational-emotional-philosophical internal reasoning process were necessarily collapsed into his finite choice of which words to use. That so much interaction in the MindLeap era was mental as opposed to verbal initiated a paradigm shift in human dialogue and conflict resolution. Because parties knew precisely what motivated other’s choices, the need for conversation was obliterated; the information needing conveyance was relayed sub-vocally, thereby obviating conflict even before it was conceived. In the event of conflict, antagonists would necessarily empathize with each-other’s mutual grievances, thereby transforming inter-human encounters into rituals of normalization.

The effect of mass mutual understanding was mass indecision. Postmodern moral relativity made way for the homogenization of society’s values, promulgated by influential public thinkers.

To the extent society had become more cohesive, the notion of individuality ebbed away. Each person’s deep thoughts and innermost feelings were available to all. As a result, a diluted normalized version of all humanity could be found in each individual. What had been a collective of independent human minds coalesced into a homogenous global mind, an actual Jungian shared consciousness. Simply stated, because everything was acceptable and understandable, which of the thousands of possibilities should any one person choose?

The manner by which social cohesion was achieved can be viewed as a lifestyle choice made collectively by a society. The MindLeap was appealing to a sufficient number of individuals that once it gained popularity, an emergent homogenization dynamic took hold. Had people made different purchasing choices, had the technology been regulated, or had dians not been discovered, a different story would be told to future generations.

psychology

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Akiva Lipshitz

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