What Is Telepathy?
telepathy [ < Greek tēle (far away) + patheia (perception or feeling; < to be affected by). Popularized by Frederic W. H. Myers.] Causing someone to think or feel something by use of one's mind; communication using means beyond the standard physical senses. One who has such abilities is a 'telepath' (which is technically different from 'psychic', who calls on and communicates with spirits rather than the minds of the living). The abilities themselves are described as 'telepathic'.
You can also check the dictionary or Wikipedia for telepathy. But then, if it really worked, you'd just find someone who knows about it and copy from their mind. An older term still found in the literature is "thought transference", mostly of "thought impressions".
Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?...
Telepathy is about communicating mind-to-mind, getting someone to feel or think or 'hear' something from far away, without the use of sounds or symbols or anything else but bare thought. There are several types of telepathic activity :
- telepathic impression (planting a message, image, or word into someone else's mind),
- mind reading (copying or sensing, but not interfering with, what's going on in someone else's mind),
- mental communication (a smartphone of the mind, but without the bills),
- mind control (actually commanding or compelling the thoughts, and thus the actions, of another person through telepathy). Mind control is a separate subject for another page.
The truth is, there's no credible evidence that a mind can be made to take action by way of projecting thoughts into someone. Even the most fully telepathy-friendly of studies show at most the ability to cause in someone a sense of unease or nervousness. Most studies show that telepathy can't put into anyone's mind an impression that acts as a command or suggestion, nor any specific communication that can be understood. Nor is there any credible evidence for mind reading, or copying from a mind. Today, even paranormal researchers generally reject material explanations such as 'brain-wave' reception. (They have lots of other explanations having little relations to measured material properties.) If you believe that there's a realm transcending the material, measurable world (as I do), then science does not fully resolve the question. And it takes more than mere science to understand what it would really mean if some form or level of telepathy really exists. Or, to explain what it tells us about ourselves if we think it exists when it doesn't, or the other way around.
If telepathic ability does (or can) exist in all or even some of us, could it be that God has turned it off for our own good? Could it be that we're made in order to relate to each other based on trust, cooperation, and love rather than by the knowledge of how to read minds or the power of directly planting thoughts? And what happens to symbolism, visual art, literature, theater, and the art of speech or broadcast, once the mind can go straight to what the artist is conveying?
When people are asked what one super power they would most want to have, mind reading comes a close second to flying. Some popular authors call it a fun psychic skill that's naturally available to just about everyone but it's being inhibited by our lack of belief in it. It's such an interesting idea that it's easy to wish it were true. But if someone is actually reading minds, what would they be doing with it? Are they reducing poverty, limiting the actions of the insane, blocking terrorists and spies, unmasking lies for the public, or even just sending 'I love yous' to each other? Are they serving other people, especially those in need? Judging from the way the world goes, apparently not. And maybe that's for the better, since just as with normal skills, telepathic abilities would provide us with a new way to really foul things up. Many insane or perverted people think they're telepathic -- could you picture the insanity they could cause in other people if they really were? There could even be the chilling possibility of developing real telepathic "thought police" who would investigate you by reading your thoughts. Sci-Fi and horror, rolled into one.
There are a growing number of scientists (and wanna-bes) who believe that the human race will eventually create high-tech devices which will enable us to do the same kinds of things we usually think of as telepathy. Think of it as 'telepathy for geeks'. By implanting little receivers or chips into minds, they'd be able to send, receive, and directly transpose into another's chips. There are many hurdles to overcome, including the slight differences in how each of our brains operate, and ways to reliably encrypt. I suspect that this geek-telepathy would eventually become a new medium for harassing messages, trolling, junk mail, spam, tweet blizzards, image intrusions, subliminals, trojan horses, worms, pop-ups, and viruses, in which case it would drive us crazy. One thing would be certain: it would force a re-examination of what is meant by human freedom.
Many just-plain-folks report having some sort of telepathic abilities. There are some things in life that are hard to explain outside of telepathy: think, for instance, of how our mothers seem to be able to make us feel guilty no matter how far away we might be. The reported telepathic abilities usually come in the form of mental communication with one particular person only. That's often the psychological effect of being emotionally close to someone for awhile. Being emotionally close could provide a possible kind of telepathy, in the sense that such closeness could bring about moments of someone else being included in the edges of a person's consciousness. (In this case, consciousness would mean the 'community' of all that is you. There could perhaps be in some sense an 'overlap' with someone else's.)
Some people report that they experience a mental contact that feels like a form of harassment, causing them to be in terror. If there's anything giving you terror, from telepathy or anything else, don't try to pray it away or block it out, it won't work. It may help to deliberately change your process of thought - to think of things differently. This would theoretically change the pathway into the mind. Seek professional counseling to help you deal with fear or obsession, since the fear of it comes from within yourself.
Some Christian writers have taken an interest in telepathy, but most of those are fringy sorts who hold some New Age ideas. Perhaps the most notable example of one who dug into telepathy-like things was literacy leader and prayer specialist Frank Laubach, who experimented with the idea that a praying person could act as a funnel between God and someone else. (He thought many people deliberately block God out of their minds. So, the pray-er would serve as God's way around the blockade.) One nearly-irresistable drawback is to think into someone in order to get a kick out of watching what seems to be that person's physical reactions. It seems like an innocent game, but it would be manipulation of other people, and thus even the desire to do so would be profoundly un-Christian.
Then, of course, there are the psychic mind-readers one finds in lounge acts. They're purely trick-based entertainment, folks, there's nothing mystical about them. That's fine as long as they tell you that's all it is, but few will tell you this truth. Their most important method is called 'cold reading'. In it, the 'psychic' starts with vague and general guesses, then narrow it by way of suggestions which prompt people to volunteer information. Then they ask further questions and make more suggestions, paying close attention to body language, tone of voice, and choice of words for hints as to what to do next. They need to be keenly observant, and be able to understand what they're observing. It's called 'cold', because the 'psychic' begins without knowing anything about the people in the room. There is also 'hot' reading, which depend on others (assistants, friends, hotel staff, and other 'psychic sidekicks') to gather information beforehand about the people who will probably be there, and then asking/suggesting based on this information. But that's really just "warm" reading, for there are instances of in-depth research, web investigation, and visiting of hotel rooms and homes, which is the "hottest" reading. The idea is to create foreknowledge - knowing beforehand about someone and what they're up to. It's not hard to 'predict' or 'know someone's past' when there's research behind the supposed telepathy. I'm frankly shocked by how many people trained in the arts of reporting and science have trouble figuring it out. I'm especially ashamed when a preacher does this psychic parlor trick on those he/she is preaching to. It's a gimmick which conveys a lie and sets up a manipulation.
Are There Dangers Built Into Telepathy?
A reply to a communication sent to us.
(by email, not telepathy...):
> So why do people think God turned these [telepathic]
> abilities off, or that they are from Satan? Why has God not taken
> them from me? I want to understand it all, but sometimes it's
> very confusing.
Many people think telepathy must come from Satan because it is so prone to be "used" -- that is, for the telepath's advantage or power over the one they're using it on. Such power, even in mutually-agreed 'use', would be stunningly seductive, and that is where the sin lies. (The sin would not lie in telepathic ability itself, which, if it exists, could be a by-product of natural bio-scientific happenings.) Think of this version of telepathy in the manner of computer technology. It would be like hacking past the security system (physical separation) which protects the privacy of someone's server (brain), software (thought patterns), and database (memories), in order to copy useful data (by mind-reading) for pressure or manipulation, or to try to edit or reprogram the software (mind control), or even to plant a virus which will take over the whole system (obsession). These kinds of 'power over' are precisely what you must renounce to follow Christ or for that matter to love people. There is also the possibility Satan or another entity will twist the mind messages as they arrive at your brain. It's not inherently more likely than demonic twisting of the thoughts you already have, but it could happen, and you probably couldn't tell it was happening until some evil resulted from it.
Would you use telepathy that way? I don't know you, so I don't know. Since you say you've been unable to turn it off yourself, I can only advise you to do what you may have already done: take it to the Lord in prayer, seek counseling over your fears or confusion, keep looking for doors to open and/or close in your life, and seek lessons to learn other than its use.
Next page: other paranormal matters.