Micah Redding — humanity, technology & the future

One mind?

Yesterday, it occurred to me how much of our human relationships are characterized by guilt or judgment. Guilt and being judgmental are two sides of the same blade, and that blade separates people into their own little self-focused domains.

For a moment I felt like I saw what it would be like to be free of these barriers. If you could really communicate fully with another human being - if you had no hesitation or self-consciousness in your interactions - wouldn't it be like having the same mind?

We know that the human brain can function as different entities, if barriers are introduced. TV shows love to dwell on the weirdness of multiple personality disorders, or the functioning of split-brain patients. When communication between the two halves of someone's brain is cut off, those two halves begin to function like different people. One hand may even fight the other hand for dominance.

If we can see a mind break into two different minds, doesn't it stand to reason that two minds might, for just a moment, act as one? This synchronicity would probably only last briefly, a tenuously balanced moment in which time freezes and we step outside the barriers in which we've lived our entire lives.

I think this happens rarely, in fleeting moments, sometimes in young children, sometimes when someone looks face-on into another human being's suffering, sometimes in music, when the musician for a moment feels connected to the floor and the audience and the sky itself. In that moment, judgment ceases, and the individual flexes and stretches out into a much bigger world.

@BeccaKello:

Do you think it's possible for a person to 'become one' with more than one person, and what's the threshold for that, and would it be a good thing? It might be my privacy issues speaking here, but it seems like at some point there would be a loss of self. Not saying that it wouldn't benefit some or even all. Also, would most people say that a married couple has this 'oneness'?

micah:

Marriage exists because every wall that humans create wants to come down. Society creates us to be separate, but everything in us wants to be together. Being completely in sync with another person has to be extremely rare. When it does happen, it's not likely to last for long. I think it's something about our learned disposition to reflexively throw up barriers. Maintaining a state of real openness is like being ready to sneeze and trying not to sneeze; you can only maintain that magical pre-sneeze state for so long. But I don't think there is anything about being open to others or the world that means losing yourself. Diversity and uniqueness seem to be really important in the vast scheme of things. I read something by a Christian author years ago; she said that submitting to God never meant giving up our individuality, but becoming more of ourselves, and who we were meant to be. I agree. Even if we were able to wire our brains together, so that our every thought was a shared thought, we wouldn't be giving up our uniqueness, but sharing it with someone else, allowing it to experience itself fully. Becoming one with God, becoming one with the world, becoming one with each other...it's about removing the barriers that keep us feeling small and alone.