Some of the readers of the first book in the Gaea Ascendant series, The Time of The Cat, have written to me inquiring about the introduction of psi powers towards the end of the story. At least one of the comments had to do with the fact that I had created a straightforward story with a normal (well, exceptionally capable) human hero and it stretched the reader’s belief to suddenly give him extraordinary powers.
That is a fair objection. A major component of science fiction story-telling is to create a universe that seems plausible. This can be done in several ways. I chose the introduction of alien-originated technology along with malicious aliens. This is a possible, if rather unlikely, scenario that fits into a genre that has been explored before, thus giving the reader a feeling of familiarity. Another example of creating a believable universe is found in stories that attempt to extend the science of the current time and make predictions about the future. Although the predictions are often wrong and may appear hopelessly naïve after a number of years, the world thus created is easily controllable and the intended reader doesn’t find it too difficult to suspend his or her disbelief.
The concept of “suspension of disbelief” can be characterized as agreeing to allow the author’s world to exist in your imagination. This may be easy or difficult for the reader, but in either case it is important for the author to create a consistent story that doesn’t violate the rules of the created universe. You can blend genres such as in the movie Cowboys and Aliens, but you cannot suddenly have a cowboy pull out an Uzi and start blasting away without introducing another element into the story. Such an action would change the implicit rules.
In the case of The Time of The Cat, I seemingly broke the consistency rule. In the story there is a consistent universe, albeit one with advanced science and alien life forms and suddenly the hero develops psi powers. Is this fair or not? I believe it is fair and here’s why:
If you’ve read the story, you might recall that Dec had placed considerable reliance on his “sixth sense” to warn of impending danger from the inception, so there was at least some warning that he might be gifted in that way.
Now, I’m not going to ask you to believe that Dec’s story exists in a different world than ours, one that has different physical rules. I’m going to do something much harder. I’m asserting that psychic abilities exist within the human population of our world. Like all other abilities, they are distributed on a normal bell-curve. Dec just happens to be an outlier on that curve, although he doesn’t manifest his abilities until he is severely threatened.
There is a large body of research that proves (yes, I did say “proves”) beyond a shadow of a doubt that humans have at least a rudimentary ability to manipulate matter with their minds. The PEAR lab at Princeton University has conducted millions of trials showing that humans can impact the time of decay of an atomic nucleus. Granted, the target is very small and the effect is tiny; the experimental subjects were able to influence the event by about two percent on average, yet the millions of trials conducted mean that the effect is statistically very solid. In short, it exists.
There have been experiments that show that cells removed from the cheek of a subject still respond to his emotions, even when separated by over three hundred miles. There have been experiments that show that people who meditate together form a bond that lets them respond to each others emotions when they are isolated in separate, shielded, sound-proof rooms. In fact, there is a large body of experimental evidence along these lines that most scientists either willfully ignore (easy to do when it doesn’t fit into your worldview) or are simply unaware of.
I’m not going to delve into other forms of evidence in this brief essay, other than to note that the CIA spent a lot of money on their remote viewing program. This program involved having a viewer sitting in a lab mentally view and describe a remote location without knowing either the location or its details. Surprisingly, the results were usually far above chance. Even more surprisingly, the researchers found that normal humans all had that ability and got better with practice.
When you consider that we float in a sea of virtual quantum particles and the very atoms of our bodies may be viewed as a special form of energy, it’s easy to see the interconnectedness of everything. The recent theorizing about torsion waves that travel a billion times faster than light in the quantum plenum may lead to an understanding of quantum entanglement and instantaneous information transfer.
Energy may be thought of as a medium that can store information. If the quantum plenum may be viewed as a wave construct, then information must be stored in those waves, just as in a hologram. Since the Meta-Universe is considered to be infinite, it could store an infinite amount of information. Blending in systems and chaos theory makes it at least conceivable that such a vast store of information may have self-organized into a form of intelligence; perhaps one that is so far beyond our comprehension that it deserves the appellative “Guiding-Organizing-Design” originated by Dr. Gary Schwartz.
Be that as it may, as children of this information-universe, humans are inextricably woven into the information flow. To some extent, we sense magnetic fields, see “auras” beyond the scope of normal human vision, sense the gravitational pull of remote stars as well as our own sun and moon, and sometimes, to varying degrees, we know what other humans are thinking.
Far from changing the rules of our “normal” universe – the one in which Dec exists, I simply took his natural ability and magnified it greatly as his response to the mental attack of the old Pug-bear on Titan. It’s not too difficult to think that an human with an extraordinary ability might be able to impart some of the techniques of this ability to others. The Pug-bear’s attack opened Dec’s mind and he was able to transfer that to a lesser extent to Liz and also, but even less successfully to Rudy. It seems to make sense to me that emotionally bonded couples would be more able to make such a connection. In the PEAR research at Princeton, emotionally bonded couples scored almost five percentage points higher on the task when working together.
So, that’s my answer. In a nutshell, I’m fully convinced that psychic abilities exist and like other human abilities it’s obvious that humans can learn to use them and get better with practice.
In the second book of the series, Second Wave, Dec’s psychic ability also plays a large part. I could say more here, but I would end up spoiling the plot. Instead I’ll just comment that you’ll see more of Dec’s and Liz’s ability in the upcoming story: Confederation.