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A Problem With Telepathy: It can't work most of the time

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posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 11:37 AM
We see it all the time. Some person X can now read minds, after much training or a sudden flash of providence. They speak of walking around, being able to read thoughts. Hell, Whitley Strieber had this happen to him a week ago ( Invariably telepathics talk about how messed up people are. That's no surprise. The surprise is that they can read those thoughts in the first place. See, I think it's a conspiracy.

The premise is simple: People think differently, literally. There's a wide spectrum between pure visual through pure verbal thinkers. Temple Grandin, Ph.D., from Colorado State University, sums it up quite aptly:

"Most people use a combination of both verbal and visual skills. Several years ago I devised a little test to find out what style of thinking people use: Access your memory on church steeples. Most people will see a picture in their mind of a generic "gene ralized" steeple. I only see specific steeples; there is no generalized one. Images of steeples flash through my mind like clicking quickly through a series of slides or pictures on a computer screen. On the other hand, highly verbal thinkers may "see" the words "church steeple," or will "see" just a simple stick-figure steeple.

A radio station person I talked to once said that she had no pictures at all in her mind. She thought in emotions and words. I have observed that highly verbal people in abstract professions, such as in trading stocks or in sales, often have difficulty un derstanding animals. Since they only think in words, it is difficult for them to imagine that an animal can think. I have found that really good animal trainers will see more detailed steeple pictures. It is clear to me that visual thinking skills are less essential to horse training, but often the visual thinkers do not have the ability to verbalize and explain to other people what it is they "see." "

For myself, for instance, as child I was purely visual. As I got older (teenage years), I realized that visual thinking was "wrong" because it was harder to do well in school, so I strove to change to verbal thinking. Then, sometime in the middle of college I realized that an over reliance of verbal thinking was ruining my creativity, so I started to switch back. Thankfully I've reached a very nice equilibrium, where I intuitively use whatever modes are appropriate. All this means that people think differently ... but, most importantly, visual thinking is almost always thrown into the mix.

Now let's look at visual thinking a little bit more. It's a method of thinking rooted in visuals and sensation/associations. Everybody has had different experiences, and therefore their "lexicon" of visuals are obscure to anyone else. If I were to somehow show you a picture in my head when I write a computer program, you wouldn't understand it. You'd have no frame or even point of reference. Visual thinking is only meaningful to the person doing it!

Seeing that most people incorporate some visual thinking, how can a telepathic claim to read minds? They can't be doing it like reading lines off a book, as in verbal thinkers. The images are totally personal and can't be externally de-ciphered. Furthermore, there is a sizable portion of the population that can or does only visual thinking. You can't read their minds. So what's going on here?

I suspect something deeper. Unless telepathy is bunk, which it could be, in order to read a visual thinkers mind you would somehow have to identify with their soul and mind. Much like tele-communion with others. Outside of this possibility, I simply don't see (literally
) how telepathy can work. Any ideas?


[edit - I'm a MOD and posted this in the wrong forum. How's that for irony!? -50 for me!]

[Edited on 13-3-2004 by ktprktpr]

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 12:29 PM
Very nice thinking

I like this topic.

How does telepathy work?

How do they see intot he mids of others and how does it get back intot hier mind? Int he same way that the person is thinking in? Visualizing or verbalizing?

Or do they just know? Does the idea jsut come to thier heads and they know it was someone elses thoughts?

Or what?

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 12:55 PM
i dont see at all how this could effect the logistics of telepathy. this only shows that people have different 'techniques' of thinking. the human mind must fundamentally work on the same principals however, because if not we couldnt all be able to agree on anything, or comprehend a damn thing your neighbor was talking about.

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 01:08 PM
"This only shows that people have different 'techniques' of thinking."

Well that's the key. If I think like A, and you think like B, and I read your B-like thoughts, how can I understand them if I think like A? There's a "type mismatch."

And it gets much more complex that that. Since we can think in any number of ways, at any time, there will be no direct match between two people. Esp. since thought is grounded in unique experience and feeling. So there's no way to interpret thought correctly, w/in your personall context.

"the human mind must fundamentally work on the same principals however, because if not we couldnt all be able to agree on anything, or comprehend a damn thing your neighbor was talking about."

We don't really understand each other very well. Look at War, how men and woman relate to another. That doesn't speak well for comprehension.

And sure the human mind works fundamentally the same, but that's certainly not totally the same. That little difference screws up the whole "coorespondence". It's like adding different chemicals to a base mix. It'll make a new formula. And you have no clue what.

I think all this points to telepathy being something more like union with god, which filters other peoples' thoughts. This is something different than common telepathy, bceause you have another agent involved. In any case, people obviously aren't "reading" minds because you simply can't in most cases. (unless the person was a pure verbal thinker).

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 01:24 PM
i still dont see how this could possibly effect telepathy. first its a concept we understand absoloutly nothing about, and second this probably has nothing at all to do with it. atleast thats my opinion, considering its (rarely) been proven (maybe my definition of proof is more liberal than you people's) to work.

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 01:25 PM
As I have said before, what we have come to call the sixth sense is truly our first sense.

It is that part of our organism that is able to (momentarily for many people) tap into a more collective consciousness and understand a living force greater than itself.

In such moments it ought to be possible to read minds without visual or any other signals.

For example, the author of this thread knows who I am and why I posted here. Or does he. How is that?

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 07:25 PM
It seems we all have the inherent ability to think in the whatever manner works best for us in a given situation. For most of us its a combination of verbal and visual. Unless someone was exclusively guarding against telepaths and focused strictly on thinking visually, I don't see why people thinking in different manners would hinder their ability to pick-up on what another person is thinking. As far as I know, telepaths have the same mental abilities we do, they are just able to tap into them more easily.

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 09:10 PM
" I don't see why people thinking in different manners would hinder their ability"

It's about comphrension. You can't comphrend my thought processes because they are grounded in my external and internal reality. Same for me. I can't comphrend your thoughts. They wouldn't make sense. I couldn't decode them.

Additionally, any verbal thoughts would be cut up by visual flashes and feeling. It just doesn't add up. You can't read people minds because the thoughts running in that mind are relative. Maybe this concept is to hard for many to grasp?

[Edited on 13-3-2004 by ktprktpr]

[Edited on 13-3-2004 by ktprktpr]

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 07:08 PM
oh i completely grasp what youre trying to say here, fact being it doesnt matter. were not talking computers and concrete protocol here, were talking biological/spiritual and the natural adaptability which is coupled with that.

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 07:15 PM
Im with forsakenwayfarer, its obvious that there's more to the brain then we all know. Your dwelling on a subject that can't exactly be confirmed, yet can't exactly be denied.

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 07:18 PM
I beg to differ, 2 friends with the ability should and can read each other whenever they want to unless one of them has a way to block the path. im not 100% sure about this but im pretty sure that distance should not be a problem communicating with one another.

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 07:28 PM
ktprktpr, if you take a look I didn't say telepaths would be able to comprehend the thoughts or processes, just that I believe they are able to pick-up or access the thoughts of others more easily than the rest of us. I still don't see how different ways of thinking would interfere with their ability to access the thoughts of another person.

How they interpret the thoughts is another matter entirely. Never having run into anyone claiming to be a telepath, I have no idea how detailed they get when they describe another's thoughts.

Depending on their skill level, maybe the snippets of verbal processing with some visual cues gives them enough information to take an educated guess and not go into much detail. Or maybe they're actually picking up more on emtions and using flashes of the verbal or visual they see to interpret what is going on.

It could also be that the visual or verbal process of thinking is our personal preference but underneath that all our minds operate in the same way, hence why telepaths are able to understand thoughts regardless of what type of thinker you are. The most practical example I can think of, is putting a "skin" on your favorite PC program, so the interface and design is to your liking. While you and I may skin Winamp differently, and the interface varies, fundamentally its function to play music files remains the same.

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 07:39 PM
Excellent post,..

It may also suggest the human-dog emotion link.

I myself can relate to all but the most rabid dog. Sometimes it's weird feeling, sometimes it's very re-assuring.

Either way a dog does not have the verbal of course except in a very basic form. So it would imply a more pure visual-thinking dog, and could possibly relate easier to the humans that express themselves in a more visual-thinking type manner.

And dogs many times may exibit telepathic tendancies in relation to their owner.

Dogs off topic,, but helps to demonstrate that perceived telepathy may have a bit to do with the ability of visual-thinking beings, to recognise experiences and visualize communications via expressions and/or emotions.

The verbal-thinker would have to verbally communicate to express their thoughts clearly.

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 09:10 PM
Zakk- I think we are in agreement for the most part. A telepath could pick up all the thoughts they want but they will have be able to interpret them correctly. I?m arguing that the ability to ?guess? or ?figure it out? is extremely improbable, if not impossible. The reason being the complexity involved (mix of visual, verbal, memory associations, emotional state).

At best someone could get a strong sense of empathy (to which I joke that you have to be a woman!).

For this reason, in order for thoughts to be interpreted with any level of accuracy, a third agent must be involved. This is how I?m proposing that telepathy works: A connection to God or some kind of (divine?) universal source (evil or good?) would do this kind of interpreting. So, then, telepaths are more like channellers (I?m channeling your thoughts through the filter of God, let?s say). This implies some kind of possession or at least direct control by another source. Having said all this, I find telepathy to be a little more sinister than I originally thought it to be.

edit- ignore all the ?. I spell checked my document but it converted the quotes to RetardedQuotes

[Edited on 14-3-2004 by ktprktpr]

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 09:56 PM
This is a very interesting topic.

Being a firm believer in evolution, as I was reading I thought of another question:

Why would some human beings have developped the ability to pick up another's thoughts, how would this help evolution?

I'm not saying that telepathy is a hoax or anything, I'm just throwing another idea out there.

Keep on discussing.

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 10:04 PM

Behold, this filter that you speak of, Ktpr. Geomagnetics all around us. Our brains run on them, and the planet creates one. We're all in the same field...


posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 10:10 PM
ktprktpr, given your thoughts on a third party acting as interpretor or agent, you might find the following link interesting. It goes into this subject a little bit.

Personally, I haven't seen enough evidence one way or another to prove that telepathy is a spiritual means of communication versus a natural ability. The most intriguing theory about telepthy that I have heard discussed is that its an evolutionary mechanism that many animals possess. Allowing them travel farther from the "pack" while hunting, defending territory, yet maintain communication across distances.

Additionally, the literature I've read on telepathy has repeated the following fairly consistently:

1) Telepathy works best on willing subjects
2) As our brain waves are essentially electricity, the more in "tune" you are with someone, your brain waves on the same frequency, the easier it is to pick up their thoughts
3) People you spend more time with, family or friends, you become more attuned to their thought waves (of course this could also be because we tend to gravitate towards that are like ourselves)
4) It is easier for telepaths to pick up on emotional, energetic, or imagery based thoughts

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 11:22 AM
Do any "theories" of telepathy generate testable hypotheses? If so, what are they?

Also, people have different "cognitive styles", but I wouldn't say that someone who primarily uses visual strategies is unable to comprehend the thoughts of someone who uses primarily verbal-logical strategies. People are certainly able to switch between different styles of thinking if needed; however, some people are not as cognitively flexible as others.

I'm skeptical, but would certainly be interested in seeing the results of some real research on the topic. Real empirical research that is replicable. Anyone know if anything like this has ever been published?

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 12:50 PM
phaedrusxxx - "... but I wouldn't say that someone who primarily uses visual strategies is unable to comprehend the thoughts of someone who uses primarily verbal-logical strategies"

I don't know the answers, but I do know what will help.

When you think of something there's a whole lot more going on than neurons firing and a given "style" of thinking. Of the top of my head, there are:

1. Implicit associations that trigger emotions
2. The given mix of current thinking (visual+verbal, etc.)
3. The previous stream of consciousness affecting the current thinking. (which is further, recursively, affected by 1 and 2)

So the point is that a cognative style isn't the whole picture. It's the personal references, the feeling, the mix of thinking, and the implicit associations all mixed up. This makes it very very very unlikely that someone could, on their own, dechiper "signals" from someone's mind.

Furthermore, no two people think in a "verbal style" in the same way, as no two people think in a "visual style" in the same way. So what I'm arguing here is that there's no 1-1 coorrespondance. My visual thinking, believe me, is going to be radically different from yours. You can't hot-swap a thinking style and except to "recieve" anything that makes sense.

Example: I can draw, and so can you. You and I are drawing a pretty rose. We're both visual thinkers (right now at least). Me, being blessed with natural telepathy, decide to "peek" in on what you're thinking about when you draw. Is it going to make sense? Can I figure out your motor nerve impluses, can I figure out where that line you're drawing is going next and where it fits in your visual picture? I think that's a helluva tall order. Throw in associations and free thinking and it's hopeless.

For this reason I suspect a 3rd agent must be involved.

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 01:04 PM
Interesting idea...but certain phenomenon blows it apart...

Here's an example or two:

1. I constantly pick up the phone to call someone, sometimes even someone I haven't talked to in ages, just as they are calling me...

2. If my wife feels pain, I do too, no matter where she is, no matter where I am. I likewise know when there is trouble with close family members, or even close friends. I simply sense something is wrong, etc., just to call and find out they're in the hospital or something.

3. I've seen flashes that have helped me avoid accidents. Granted, that's precognition, not telepathy, but implies some kind of communication.

4. How about twins who finish each other's sentences? Sure, they may think similarly, but similar and identical are really too weird...

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