I have an idea about telepathy which seems suitable to be included in science fiction and fantasy plots. We all have a rudimentary telepathic awareness. We potentially can sense when we're loved. Feeling warmth in the mind correlates with being loved. A few plot themes involving this idea follow.
A woman has an enhanced awareness of who feels love for whom. (This might be improbable since "ordinarily" we can only sense another person's love when we're the recipient.) She provides information to the main character regarding who feels love for him. When he feels love for her, she thanks him.
A female says she'll help the main character if he can manage to feel love for her. Can we feel such love on demand? The main character tries to do so.
I included the love telepathy idea in my novel, although the novel mainly features other ideas and other plot elements. Here is how I introduced it.
Excerpt from Improbabilities; Copyright 2011:
The experiment turned out to involve telepathy.
Lawrence met with me and another test subject, a man named Greg who was a freshman of perhaps 18. He was taking an introductory psychology class, and was there to get extra credit to help with his grade.
Lawrence was businesslike and launched into a description of the experiment. "The hypothesis I'll be testing is whether at an inner level people have the ability to sense love. We'll have two trials of thirty seconds each. One of you will be an attempted sender of love and the other will be a receiver. On one of those trials the sender will try to feel love for the receiver. On the other trial the sender will count upwards in threes: one, four, seven, and so forth. Of course that counting will be in the mind rather than aloud. Will the receiver know which is the love trial?"
I looked at Greg and he at me. Perhaps we had the same thought. How can I feel love for this stranger?
Lawrence continued. "During the trials the receiver will sit with his back to the sender and to myself. I'll provide the sender with a card indicating which of the two trials will be the love trial. I'll announce when each trial starts and when it ends. After both trials have been completed, I'll ask the receiver on which trial the sender was feeling love toward him. Then you'll switch roles for another set of two trials. The sender will become the receiver and the receiver will become the sender. Any questions?
I said with a straight face, "What if I have problems counting in threes?" That mathematical task is well within my capabilities, but I was feeling contrary.
He struggled to suppress the irritation that crossed over his face. "Do the best you can. The point is that you're not supposed to be thinking about the receiver during that time. The counting is designed to occupy your mind."
Then Lawrence's expression softened. "The two of you might want to tell each other about yourselves before the trials start. What is there in your life that could cause someone else to love you? Keep it clean, please." He glanced at his watch. "That discussion might take a minute or so."
Greg and I stared at each other.
"I used to have a donut route," he said.
I thought about that. "Were they good donuts?"
It was my turn. "I scoop my cats' litter boxes twice a day. Perhaps they love me for that. Also, I try to be well mannered when I lose at chess."
He said, "My parents gave me an electric toothbrush. I use it every night."
I said, "I'm sure that's comforting to your parents."
He smiled, and his teeth were more white than yellow.
We were silent.
"Okay," Lawrence said. "I think we're ready for the trials."
He checked a sequence of random numbers, and assigned me to be the sender for the first set of trials. Greg swiveled his chair in the opposite direction. Lawrence checked the random numbers again and gave me a card indicating the first trial would be the love trial. Then he looked at his watch and rang a bell. "Begin trial one," he said.
I attempted feeling love for Greg. My mind was mostly a blank. It takes discipline to use an electric toothbrush regularly. Did Greg ever come close to winning an award for donut salesman of the month? I tried to feel love for no reason.
Lawrence rang the bell "Stop," he said.
After a few seconds he rang the bell again. "Begin trial two."
One...four...seven...10... Winter's coming. How will the strays keep warm? 13... 16... The kestrel at the nature center had alert, searching eyes... If I were running this experiment I would only use subjects who are already friends. That would increase the probability of getting significant results...I wonder if Greg will be able to feel love for me when he's the sender. Maybe he'll pretend I'm a donut customer. He seems like a decent sort of chap...19... 22...
Lawrence rang the bell. "Stop." He looked at Greg with hopeful eyes. "Greg, which of the two trials seemed to be the love trial?"
"The second trial," Greg promptly answered while turning his chair around to face us.
"Because I felt some warmth during that trial, even though it was just a very faint sensation and only lasted for an instant."
"The first trial was the love trial," Lawrence said. He glowered at me. Evidently he assumed I'd contaminated the sending in one way or another. "Okay," he said in a persevering voice, "the two of you will switch roles now. Paul, if you'll take Greg's chair, we'll proceed."
There was a window a few feet away. There weren't many students outside. The few that remained were possibly thinking of going home for supper. The campus looked peaceful. I had a sudden wish to cooperate as best I could with Lawrence's experiment.
The bell rang. "Begin trial one," Lawrence said.
Is there anything special in my consciousness? I couldn't detect anything unusual. But all consciousness is unique. I remembered what Laura had said about seeing her mind as a place after she'd gotten an injection. I tried to look at the place where my thoughts and feelings reside. It seemed featureless. Fire the architect. Random thoughts came to me. There's a hill outside of town overlooking a lake. I could try running up that hill rather then jogging at the gym. It seems as if the run would take at least two minutes. I wonder how many footsteps that would be? It's presumably not impossible to count while exercising strenuously. Does Laura have a day job? How does she spend her time?
There was the bell. "Stop," Lawrence said.
I looked out the window.
He rang the bell again. "Begin trial two."
All consciousness is unique. I suddenly wondered if positive consciousness tends to segue to a sense of self, and vice versa. I became aware of the special person that I am. I have that positive awareness at times when I'm with my aunt. Do I have it with my cats? I think so. That awareness surely will be valuable if a wormhole appears for me and I end up battling the Minotaur.
The bell rang. "Stop," Lawrence said.
"Trial two was the love trial," I said, revolving back toward them.
Lawrence actually smiled. "Correct," he said.
Greg spoke enthusiastically. "You'd said you had a problem with counting in threes. That made you likeable. I focused on that during trial two."
Lawrence stood up. "Gentlemen, thank you for your participation in this study."
So that was that.
What if a cure for cancer were discovered by an organization with political goals? That organization might make demands that had to be met before the cure would be released to the world. A story I'm inclined to write would involve a woman within the organization who wants to provide the details of the cancer cure unconditionally. She manages to establish a rendezvous with a man outside the organization. There's a possibility he'd be caught, and she doesn't want him to see her face. They meet at night at an apartment which isn't her place of residence. He spends the night with her, and she provides details of the cancer cure during the night. Presumably they make love. He leaves in the morning, still not having seen her face, and wants to meet her again. But what does she look like? He decides it surely won't matter.
Fasting might be good for Alzheimer's. Skipping four or five consecutive meals evokes a stress response in which heat shock proteins (also induced during glucose deprivation) clean up damaged proteins which are still amenable to being removed. The damaged proteins within the brain which are produced as a consequence or cause of Alzheimer's might be kept at low levels by a weekly fasting regimen.
This suggests a partial cure for prison recidivism. The constitution bans cruel and unusual punishment, but consider the following. Fasting is good for the body and brain. If every inmate had to undergo a weekly fasting regimen (unless medically contraindicated), my guess is that they wouldn't like it. That fasting regimen would be treatment rather than punishment.
The fasting would give presidents or other heads of state a clear head. Is there some way to persuade those persons not to eat two consecutive days each week?
I'll add that for years I've been skipping seven consecutive meals each week (although some recent surgeries have interfered with that regimen), and I consider it beneficial and something everyone should choose to do. I began fasting decades ago by skipping only three meals, but a dream of mine told me that wasn't long enough. When I was in my fifties it seemed as if fasting for 53 hours or so was quite satisfactory. But now, alas, in my sixties, it seems necessary to fast 65 hours before I'm aware of the "cobwebs" in my body disappearing.
These speculations might become part of a story.
What if someone developed a pill that, if taken, would cause the recipient to have inclinations to commit suicide? People would have to avoid acquiring enemies. "Teddy criticized my bridge playing, so I'll just slip the pill into his drink."
Computerized mind reading technology has been making strides. Perhaps a computer could provide data on the overall quality of the subject's consciousness. Such testing could be part of job interviews. More importantly, if there were longevity pills, it could be necessary to attain a high score to receive each pill.
It's necessary to have memorable characters in one's fiction. Hopefully, one or more of the following characters might attain that status.
A rich woman with a country estate provides residence for sufferers from war or other disasters. She has to be selective about who to invite, since she only has room for up to a dozen or so. One of her invitees has goals of becoming a renowned poet. He tells her he's afraid of the bad decisions world leaders might make which could lead to future wars, but he's not afraid of meeting Medusa and being turned to stone. She smiles benevolently.
A mischievous character memorizes complicated scientific text and then pretends to fall into a spell in which he speaks that text spontaneously as if channeling it.
A bully is assigned to rat nurturing. One rule of that nurturing is that he has to sing continuously to the rat for a couple of minutes while it's resting on his lap. Will the bully change?
Technology has been developed to divert regions of the brain to other uses than their initial innate roles. A woman has had the region (or regions?) of her brain diverted which govern expressing emotion in her voice when she speaks. She might say something warranting emotion such as "The present is ideals and savagery" in a totally flat voice. Her boyfriend pleads with her to recover her lost ability to speak emotionally. To what new use was her brain diverted?
A guideline for writers is to write about what one knows. What do I know? The following qualifies as personal knowledge.
No offense, Daniel, but I tend to be a nonentity if I don't make extreme efforts.
I had prostrate reduction surgery. Subsequently I developed a stricture which had to be removed. The nurse's instructions, her hand on my shoulder: "Breathe less quickly. Relax your feet. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Relax your shoulders. Take a deep breath." Meanwhile a wire probe was being inserted into my penis to find the stricture, and then the stricture was cut.
Two stray cats came in through the cat door in search of a home. They would look warily at me and would flee when I walked nearby. The look in their eyes seemed to say, "You're a potential adversary, but we have no place else to go." I used the idea of people in need of a refuge in my novel.
My girlfriend persuaded me to have some champagne on New Year's Day. I had two swallows. My main imaginary companion (whom I refer to in my diary as the spaceship captain) told me not to use alcohol again.
I might begin a story with the main character coming back to the house he shared with several other people and his landlady telling him a woman had called asking why he hadn't kept their meeting, because that's something that happened to me a while back.
If any renowned person wants to read a longer summary of my dream interpretation approach with a possible inclination to provide an endorsement of that approach, I would be glad to send that longer summary. Of course, I could send the diary and/or the novel as well.