In NetHack, telepathy is an intrinsic usually gained from devouring the corpse of a floating eye. It is only functional while you are blind, which is why wizards often start out with a blindfold, and towels are such handy items.

Telepathy allows you to know the position and type of all sentient creatures on the level. Non-sentient creatures, such as the undead and slimes, jellies, or molds cannot be "seen" in this manner. Golems and similar creatures cannot be "seen" either, as they aren't actually alive.

Of all the intrinics you can have in NetHack, telepathy is by far the most useful and should be acquired as soon as possible. Certain deadly creatures, notably eels, cannot normally be seen (they are underwater) and will ambush you fatally unless you use telepathy. Also, invisibility becomes much less dangerous if you are telepathic.

I'm a firm believer in telepathy. The sooner we get over our collective denial that telepathy in some form is possible and actual, the sooner we can incorporate it into life, culture and communication. The amount of published evidence that communication is possible through an as yet unknown medium is too staggering to be ignored. Furthermore, the calibre of scientists, philosophers, and psychologists, including dozens of Nobel prize winners, who have carried out successful parapsychological experiments and who have devoted years of their life to these phenomena is incredible. Yet despite this, parapsychology is still listed as a pseudoscience on Wikipedia. Arthur Koestler's "The Roots of Coincidence" is an excellent introduction to the topic.

I had an experience here at the bookstore yesterday that I could describe as telepathic, one of many I've had over the past years. We have several regular customers here at the store of course, and one of them said some weeks ago that he would find me a bike that I could use during the winter months. Being a biker himself, he knows where to look and what to look for. He came in yesterday, told a few jokes and stories, but didn't mention the bike. Just as he was about to leave, I think of the bike. A second later, he mentions it. Of course, this could be called simple coincidence or synchronicity, but the number of times that I've thought about something a fraction of a second before someone else mentions that same thing are too many, in my mind, to remain coincidental. I'm certain that other people have had similar experiences, but haven't considered they might be "telepathic", or they have considered that possibility but are unwilling to believe it.

Yesterday's experience got me thinking. From the accounts of telepathic experiments that I am familiar with, mostly through Koestler's book that I mentioned above, there seems to be this fixed idea that there is a "sender" and a "receiver", which is to say that one person projects a thought, in the form of an image, memory, emotion, whatever, and another person receives it in their own mind. If this is the case, then in my own telepathic experiences I should be able to determine who is the sender and who is the receiver, or in other words, who thought the thought first. But I cannot. The thought is just there in my mind, after arriving there in a way that as far as I can tell is the same as the way every other thought I've had entered my mind, and then someone else mentions it immediately afterward. In yesterday's experience, I'm sure that if I were quicker to speak and mentioned the bike before he did, then it would have been him that had the "telepathic" experience. (I'm also sure that telepathy would become a much more accepted phenomena if only people would shut up and listen a little more).

I had the idea that the sender/receiver model might be insufficient and that there might be another model that might describe certain phenomena more simply. As I was speaking with my friend yesterday, neither of us were consciously thinking about the bike, but in a sense the bike was on both our minds: in the back of our minds, not so far as old memories, not so close as what we were speaking about in the immediate present, but somewhere in the middle. I want to suggest that perhaps the shared thought brought itself to the forefront of our minds, and which was then voiced. Two minds, same thought. The idea that our thoughts and other mental processes create a mental field that affects our environment in as yet unquantified ways is not a new one. It is not a great leap to imagine two mental fields interacting with each other during a conversation and bringing commonalities to the surface. And after all, it happens all the time.

If you think I'm totally out to lunch, please let me know. And if you think I'm not totally out to lunch, even by just a tiny bit, let me know as well.

Te*lep"a*thy (?), n. [Gr. far off + , , to suffer.]

The sympathetic affection of one mind by the thoughts, feelings, or emotions of another at a distance, without communication through the ordinary channels of sensation.

-- Tel`e*path"ic, a. -- Te*lep"a*thist, n.


© Webster 1913.

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