I thought this would be a good thread in the metaphysical area. Certainly a lot of information and thoughts to share.
Communication through means other than the senses, as by the exercise of an occult power.
tel'e·path'ic (tĕl'ə-păth'ĭk) adj.
telepathy, supposed communication between two persons without recourse to the senses. The word was formulated in 1882 by Frederic William Henry Myers, English poet, essayist, and a leading founder of the Society for Psychical Research in London. Telepathy experiments have been conducted in Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States, but the phenomenon remains unproved. See parapsychology.
Knowledge conveyed from one individual to another without means of the five senses; mind reading. (See also extrasensory perception, parapsychology, and psychic research.)
Telepathy, from the Greek τηλε, tele, "distant", and πάθεια, patheia, "feeling", is the supposed ability to communicate information from one mind to another without the use of extra tools such as speech or body language, and is one form of extra-sensory perception or anomalous cognition. This information is generally reported as being "received" in the same form as that from the conventional senses.
Because current science has no plausible explanation for claims of telepathic phenomena, "telepathy" resides in the realm of metaphysics, and cannot itself technically be called a theory of telepathy, since the varied explanations have various unbridgeable gaps to current science. The term "extrasensory communication" has had some use for describing telepathy, as using senses other than the 5 basic human senses (though, that a "sense" may itself have no organ for its sensing cause some to dismiss it).
However, because human observation of "strange currencies" and similar extraordinary phenomena have long endured, similar or related explanations have resonance in contemporary history, fiction, and belief. The concept of telepathy has been connected to a number of different similar metaphysical phenomena such as precognition, clairvoyance and empathy, and has some important bearing within religious concepts of connectivity between human beings (love, bonding) and related ritual development.
Much of formal religious discourse since the inception of civilization has dealt with the apparent disparity between religious truth (which may refer to the "truth" of "extrasensory" communication) and emerging human rationality and empirical-based belief. Nearly all religions (almost by definition) embody aspects of metaphysicality within their spheres of understanding, and some argue that the consistent threads between these apparent and "witnessed" metaphysical events and experiences have a plausible (though not scientific) explanation in the idea of telepathic communication; both between individuals, and even between larger collective groups. For example, the aspect of human ethnicity, as having an apparent bearing on the development of a "collective psyche," which itself has bearing in defining an enemy, or otherwise "understood" divisions within and between societies.
Proponents of telepathy argue that the difficulty in rationalizing or "proving" the concept is equivalent to the difficulty in bringing dreams to conscious awareness; human beings are finite creatures living within temporal, physical, and psychic mediums. I.e., "just as a fish may be unaware of the importance of water to their being, so too do humans and other animals exist in a psychic medium which many are not consciously aware of."
Proponents of the telepathy theory claim that empirical observation points to an unexplainable connection between all animal species, that it accounts for a great number of yet-unexplainable phenomena, such as how various kinds of animals and insects are able to function as part of a collective whole. To some degree, they claim, this psychic connection is not limited by culture or species, but by the sensor's own ability to relate to and perceive the "signals" they may be receiving.
When Carl Jung posed his theory of the collective unconscious, it symbolized an emerging rift between his theories and those of his colleague Sigmund Freud, who had instead chosen to reject metaphysical explanations, opting for more "rational" explanations for apparently unexplainable phenomena. To this day, the terms "psyche" and "psychic" have dual use in both the science of psychology and in metaphysics, depending on whether the discussion may provide for the possibility (either declared or implied) of explanations and ideas outside of current science.
Perhaps the most interesting contemporary developments lie in those explanations which attempt to tie naturally developed aspects of human sensitivity (by some accessible medium) to the realm of current theoretical quantum physics, which has radically changed the formal understanding (classical physics) about the nature of time and space, energy and matter, and the relationships between each. The most evolved concepts of telepathy draw from both ideas in psychology and physics: That any mind can be conceived of as a naturally-formed matrix of electrical signals grown and suspended within a physical scaffold, and that all similar minds have evolved similar capabilities for influencing and receiving fluctuations at the quantum levels, where the normal laws of time and space do not apply. They further claim that psychological concepts of personal and collective identity, sanity, boundaries, self, emotions etc. all are as much (if not more so) aspects of a "psychic medium" as they of the physical structure (brain). In essence, proponents claim that telepathy is not "extrasensory", rather that the brain is the telepathic organ; its connections to other brains are not physical, but psychic, and the very definition of the psychic medium is the localized inertial frame of reference which is affected by the mind. This new and scientifically grounded approach provides the context for the amateur theory of neurokinetic telepathy. Physicists and skeptics counter that quantum mechanics does not take dominance over classical mechanics until objects are at sub-nanometer scales, and since neurons and even neurotransmitters and receptors are all much larger, these quantum effects are considered negligible.
Telepathy in history
Very few anecdotal accounts of telepathy have been noted in many ancient cultures since historical records have been kept. In the Bible, some prophets appear to have the ability to see into the future (precognition). This seems to be a common claim from ancient and primitive people. But the sending and receiving of messages from individual to individual by mind alone is never mentioned at all. As with all psi phenomena, there is wide disagreement and controversy within the sciences, even within parapsychology, as to the existence of telepathy.