Assume for a moment that telepathy is possible - even if not amongst the human populace.
In this case, how would it work? What kind of physics/biology exist that could be used to naturally transmit thoughts over a distance to another
living entity. How would this impact evolution of that race? How would it change their society?
I think the most down to earth mode would be the creation and distortion of an electromagnetic field around the body. The human body already has such
a field (called a HEF - Human Electromagnetic Field
), and it is thought that this is what causes some people to see "auras". This field is
created by electricity flowing through our nerves, in the same way that an EM Field is produced by produced by flowing electricity through a wire
If a race could produce a stronger EM Field, or had senses (ferromagnetic cells perhaps) that could detect this field, or had an array of these senses
to detect very minute changes in this field, perhaps that would be one way of transmitting thoughts and feelings. Also, like animals that are probably
already using this, changes in an area's magnetic field have been known to signal an imminent geological disaster (like volcanic eruption or
earthquake), and many animals try to escape the area. This race would likely have the same survival tendency.
However, these fields are weak, and so long-range communication would likely be impossible (not just due to strength, but also due to other
interferance from multiple EM fields). So, from an evolutionary standpoint, some other form of verbal communication would likely be necessary. This
could be verbal, but it could also be visual or sommantic (jestures). I believe verbal would be most likely, perhaps because if one is close enough to
see visual changes or movements of a fellow being, then they'd probably be close enough to sense their field. Audio could be much further, and
doesn't require sight to the friend.
From a cultural perspective, this could mean many things. For one, how much more important would groups be? I'd imagine very important - almost to
the point of herds. Could a "chain" be created? If so, could a unifying consciousness also be formed?
As for other possible methods of telepathic communication, perhaps some kind of organic radio? If we can produce it with technology, could evolution
do it as well? Such transmitions would probably even be able to be picked up at longer ranges, and might be able to better transmit thoughts that
"feeling" disturbances in a field.
Anyone else have any theories?
By the way, I was just thinking, while typing, about the similarities between human nerves and electric wiring. If, by wrapping a wire into a
"spring" and running a running a current through it you can produce a magnetic field, could a species/race evolve low-powered electromagnets? They
could then use metallic objects and levitate them towards themselves (though whether such amazing things such as levitation could be done is unsure).
That would be interesting to see.