2071: It came to be understood : The mind was not the brain per se; its material basis was the microscopically structured pattern of electrical activity which swept over the neuron field, its existence the dance itself, not the dancers. From the perspective of Quantum Mechanics, any mind could be represented by one complex wave, its state function. By de Broglies wave/ particle equivalence the summed wave therefore corresponded to a set of particles, dubbed by the physicists psychyons. These, in turn, Florbusherâ€™s new theory held, could be mutually entangled, and so brought into a state of superposition.
Now Bob and his colleague Alice sat in identical machines 2 km apart across the campus, ready to be the first human subjects to test the psychic entanglement theory.
Each sat in an identical cubical to prevent dechoherence , (the end of the superimposed state ), brought on by different sensory inputs.
Directly between the two subjects the paired neutrino engine produced an endless stream of entangled and twined particles , then separated them, and sent one to each subject. The steam swept harmlessly over each brain, (neutrinos not being absorbed much by ordinary matter). The simultaneous phase changes of the neutrinos induced resonance in their respective psychyons, and progressive entanglement. Their wave functions became superimposed.... their minds became one entity.
As the wave forms of their minds became progressively entangled Bob felt at first a sense of disorientation. Images and thoughts flashed through his mind like a dream in which you know youâ€™re dreaming. He sensed Aliceâ€™s mind becoming mixed with his as cream stirred into coffee. Momentarily he fought it.
Alice being deeper, just took a deep breath.
As the superimposed state became complete, the Jell-O set, one mind emerged.
BOBANDALICE came into being.
BOBANDALLICE took stock of itself: It had both complete sets of memories available to it. It had two bodies which it could move at will. It had, like Yin and Yang blended, aspects that were more Bob or more Alice , but they were of one mind.
It felt itself to be more powerful than before, and more complete. It looked around like a newborn with all the knowledge of two adults. Its predominant feeling was one of spaciousness, of open expanses.
Its location? Neither floating in the air between the two people, nor attached to either one of them. As a single mind combines the input from the right and left eye to make one seamless image, and locates its position intuitively someplace behind the eyes, BOBANDALICE took a position behind both spatially separated sets of eyes . Not between them.... amongst them. There is no word in English for where I am, thought BOBANDALICE Iâ€™ll have to invent one.
It quickly solved a math problem that Bob had been working on for months, using Aliceâ€™s more intuitive flexibility. It felt itself to be not so much immensely smarter, as immensely more inclusive, not merely capable of more ideas, but of more kinds of ideas. The closest analogy was being suddenly able to see in color after a life of color blindness
It appraised itself.
It found it appreciated almost everything either of them had liked. (from food to music) and disliked very little of what its components had disliked.. This was because liking these things usually involved understanding them, while disliking them was an inability to understand. Now it loved opera; ( from Bob) and chocolate; (from Alice) and ten thousand other things , and, mysteriously, a few things neither monad had. What dislikes it maintained were for certain ideas... shallow ones, reflexive ones.
BOBANDALICE felt its bodies; It was not sexless but hermaphrodite, It had truly achieved the age old quest of lovers... Plato's ideal,...two half-complete entities had become one whole being. Exploring its proprioceptors, each body could feel the finest details of the other... Intriguing....pursuing this, it became aware of a certain growing warmth. Both bodies blushed, then laughed.. talk about having the hots for yourself.. its augmented sense of humor offered to its wry and appreciative self.
It started to wonder what it was capable of....quite a lot it ventured, being derived from two people favorably disposed toward other humans, it was much more so. What was worth doing with its considerable power? It wished to help the monopoles (ordinary people), who struggled so, and so often failed . It was aware it could solve problems intractable for them. The impossibly complex became merely complex. It dreamed solutions.
Then the class bell rang in Alice's office to announce the 1:10 class. Since Bob was in the research building no such bell rang.... They dechohered.
BOBANDALICE had lived for 22 minutes.
Upon returning to their previous selves both felt diminished, even crippled.
But later, Bob realized he had been given a going away present: The idea of his personal mortality, which previously had always been grounds for formless terror, no longer frightened him. It had never frightened Alice, but that was not why Bob had been released... it was because just before full coherence had happened, he had felt Alice's mind as an OTHER...imminent, approaching, but he could feel its existence the way he felt his own mind. Now he knew in his bones that other minds were really there... not as an abstraction... as a perception. Therefore, whereas before he had pictured the end of life as an object (him) disintegrating, now he pictured his own present mind as an eddy of intricate patterns in a stream flowing around a stone. When he died another pattern would be there, he could feel it, and he could feel the stone. He had not surmounted, overcome, or even transcended the fear, it had evaporated.
Alice, being deeper, eschewed metaphysical thinking and just bought an entire box of chocolates and sat by the window eating them one at a time and half smiling.