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------------------------ Original message (147 lines) -------------------------
From: "Haworth, Barry" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: RE: evolution of Psi
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 13:30:48 +1100
In Heinlein's novelette "Gulf" (published in "Assignment in Eternity")
there is a discussion of Psi powers as they relate to the question of a
superior strain of humanity. The conclusion reached there is that
telepathy etc. do not make for a "superior" strain - the thing needed
for that is superior intelligence, which will then be able to achieve by
technology all the abilities available to Psi. I recall also a similar
argument in (I think) an "Analog" editorial some years ago to the effect
that Psi powers were best achieved via technology - the function of
telepathy (the ability to communicate immediately with selected any
individual over any distance) being achieved by the telephone.
What is rare is to come across any idea as to how Psi powers could
evolve, and what sort of variations you might see - after all, if humans
can have Psi, so can animals, and if you have Psi, what might it do to
an evolving intelligence? Remember the ability of the V-frog in
Asimov's "The Oceans of Venus" - it was an ugly beast with six legs, a
repulsive skin and a nasty beak, but if you saw one you would think it
cute and feed it. The frog had developed a Psi ability as a defence.
Niven's Grogs (a short story in "Neutron Star", I think) could do the
same thing - they caught their prey by Psi power, and did not need
intelligence - though they had it, goodness knows why.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Matthew Webber [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Saturday, 8 November 1997 17:31
> To: Multiple recipients of list SF-LIT
> Subject: evolution of Psi
> > What do you mean with "logically developed PSI powers"?
> > "Progressive evolution" of mental powers is a topic of quite
> number of stories and novels, paramount among them Van Vogt's SLAN
> Poul Anderson's stories featuring the alien sophont Aycharaych.
> Now telepathy or telekinesis could accomplish the same thing .. but
> evolution rarely duplicates traits, and communication already replaces
> telepathy and cooperation replaces telekinesis .. we are after all, a
> tribal- coopertive- tool making animal.
> The proffesor explained all that much better than i ever could, but
> basic jist was, the natural tools that humans have already developed
> simpler, more efficent and better designed than any possible psi
> [Haworth, Barry]
> I am a Statistician. One false move and you are a Statistic.
> Barry Haworth. [log in to unmask]