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Old 05-26-2018, 11:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

MULTISAPIENTS continued...

Of course there was more than one world upon which the Familiar Eldren established Multisapient settlements. Originally, there were nine such planets, widely spread across the galactic spiral. On three of them, the unwilling and uncomprehending transportees failed to adapt sufficiently well and died out.

The other six followed varying paths, just as the enormously more numerous Homosapient worlds were following different paths. In all cases the Multisapients remained a single species, but they took widely diverging paths with regard to 'society' and technological development. On the first world we discussed above, eventually events culminated in the rise of a single collective to fill the entire planet, though this took tens of thousands of Terran years.

Other worlds experienced different paths of development. On one planet, the Eldren established a few collectives which expanded to number in the tens of millions, but for whatever reason, their technological development languished and they had hardly advanced beyond Neolithic levels of development even after the passage of tens of millennia, and the individual collectives numbered, for the most part, no more than a few hundred members. At the same time that the first world we saw was waging nuclear wars, this world saw various collectives battling each other with stone axes and spears.

Another world made a most unpromising start, its settlement consisting of just one collective, on a world that was less inviting for hominid life forms than most of the chosen colonies. This single collective came within a narrow breadth of dying out several times, but survived by the narrowest of margins and grew and fissioned into new collectives, and in time this world saw a thriving Multisapient population with thousands of collectives.

Yet another world was interesting in that it had little in the way of continents, but rather was mostly covered in ocean, dotted with thousands of islands of modest size, with the largest land masses only slightly larger than Britain. On this world, the Eldren established a number of settlements, each on a different island, and for thousands of years the oceanic barriers meant that the collectives on the islands had little contact with each other.

On this planet, instead of a single history, the species had a fractured history, with many islands developing in near-isolation until seafaring technology could bridge long ocean distances. By that point, many islands were occupied by a single large collective, and often had been so occupied for ages, while other islands had a few or several such, and some had many. Each island had almost been like a world unto itself for tens of millennia.

Of all the six successful Multisapient worlds, the one we first observed was the most 'successful' in the sense of achieving the largest population and highest level of 'conventional' technology at the earliest date. As we have noted, they/it had achieved nuclear technology by 24,000 B.C., and a single, unified collective filled the entire planet by 19,500 B.C.

At that point, though, something interesting happened. The rate of change on this world slowed down enormously. There were various reasons for this, but the most important one was that the entire planet was home to what amounted to a single person. It was a very peculiar sort of person, by Homosapient standards. It was a person of vast knowledge, vast intellect, spread across hundreds of millions of bodies, possessed of vast arrays of skills and talents, but still a single mental entity.

Now that single entity had a world to itself (made up of both male and female 'members, a Multisapient collective is itself genderless), had achieved a state of effectively perfect safety, perfect comfort, and perfect security, and unlimited uncontested access to the resources of the entire planet gave that entity what was for practical purposes unlimited wealth.

A single human or near-human in such a situation would still have human needs and wants that would probably make contentment elusive. Most especially, of course, a single human with a world to himself or herself and a lifespan of millennia would likely be tormented by loneliness.

A Multisapient collective is not, however, either human or near-human. For all the physical and genetic similarities of the physical forms, the mentalities of Genus Homo and Genus Nonhomo are very, very alien. Indeed, it was precisely this physical similarity and mental dissimilarity that led taxonomists, when they learned of the existence and nature of Multisapients, to christen their Genus with such a derivative name. Though they are closer genetic relatives than even the great apes, they are most definitely and emphatically not human, nor even near-human.

Some Multisapient collectives display something comparable to, or at least parallel to, the Homosapient desire for company and social interaction, with other collectives. Others are almost fanatically 'isolationist'. Some vary back and forth. Some form a close bond with another collective and remain hostile to others, but in all cases the nature of the relationships is somewhat alien to anything Homosapients experience.

Indeed, in some limited ways the mind of a chimp or a gorilla, or even a dog or a cat, is less alien to Homosapient thought processes than a Multisapient collective. At least these other mammal species have some limited concept of 'self' or 'I', tied to a single perspective and form. The sense of Self of a Multisapient collective is radically unlike anything in Homosapient experience.

In the case of our greatest collective, contently occupying its entire world, loneliness simply was not an applicable concept.

To be continued...
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Old 05-27-2018, 12:56 AM   #12
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

MULTISAPIENTS continued...

In the case of this greatest (at that time) of Multisapient collectives, having its world to itself was rather satisfactory. It entered a state of mind which no Homosapient could ever fully comprehend, a peculiar sort of contentment that left it able to remain active, but which also meant that it was rather self-satisfied. In an intellectual way, the collective considered new possibilities, but without any sense of urgency attached to the considerations.

Without the stimulations of competition, cooperation, or satisfaction of any particular needs, it, for want of a better word, relaxed. It is possible to find approximate parallels in Homosapient behavior, but none of them should be pressed very far in application to such an alien intellect.

Technological advance slowed tremendously, because the technological base used by the collective was essentially sufficient for its needs and desires. From time to time some temporary problem or need would stimulate more activity in that respect, but never in any lasting, consistent way.

For example, when natural climate changes became inconvenient, it spent several centuries engaged in significant geoengineering projects, in the course of which it developed several new technologies. But when the problem was addressed, this progress slowed and stopped, because the collective lost interest. Another example came when its supply of convenient fissionable fuels grew short, at that point it poured resources into developing a reliable world-wide system of solar power, which worked. It then lost interest in further development, because what it had was sufficient. [1]

Along with occasional pressing necessities such as those, from time to time the super-collective would take an interest in something that would produce a burst of development, but these were fundamentally sporadic and not very systematic. When the collective became curious about stellar physics, it developed the capacity to launch probes into close-approach pathways around its star, but once it gathered the information it desired, it allowed its space industry to languish mostly unused (other than useful orbital satellites) for centuries.

This last decision was entirely natural, of course. It was fundamentally difficult for this supercollective to expand beyond its own world, even if a suitable world had existed in its star system, which was not the case. It could hardly 'colonize' another world that was beyond the psychic 'unification' range that made the collective possible in the first place. A 'member' of this immense super-collective could range some millions of kilometers away before the connection evaporated, but that distance hardly rates even for purposes of interplanetary travel. It could, and it did, send 'members' into orbital space for various projects, but it was nearly impossible for it to reach farther.

It did have some astronomical interests, and inherited some knowledge from earlier, smaller collectives that had had more such interest. Over the ages, it build elaborate observatories on the ground and in orbit, and sooner or later it launched automated probes to examine most of the worlds of its star system.

Even its orbital facilities were different than those of a typical comparably advanced Homosapient world.

The super-collective had little need of 'communications systems' for its own use, for example. It was everywhere its members were, and it heard what they heard, saw what they saw, tasted what they tasted, knew what they knew. Its only use for technological communications systems was for its machines to communicate with other machines. It did orbit some relay satellites for that purpose, but it needed none for its own use.

Planetary observation satellites were useful, to observe climate and weather and geophysical processes, orbital science platforms had their uses as well. In later millennia, it orbited solar power collection satellites as well, when its power needs became inconveniently large for ground-based solar systems.

Still, it simply had no use for some of the facilities Homosapients often built. It had no enemies, so it needed no military facilities, for example.

Indeed, in the millennia after the super-collective emerged, there was little on the planet that might even be classified as a weapon. There were a few small arms and the like for dealing with animals, and many devices that could have been used as weapons if need had arisen, but little in the way of specialized devices made to be used for violence.

As a result of this peculiar 'contentment', the overall level of technology remained mostly unchanged for a very long time, except in details. At the time that the super-collective emerged, the technology of the Multisapients on that world was roughly at a level comparable to that of modern-day Earth. Ten thousand Terran years later, it was still at about that level, with a few small areas of advancement.

To be continued…


[1] By some astrogeological quirk, the planet was short-changed on fissionables, and it had been terraformed by the Eldren recently enough that the supply of hydrocarbon fuels was very sharply limited. It used what supplies of uranium and thorium it had to power its 'civilization' for millennia, but they eventually ran short.
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Old 05-30-2018, 09:03 PM   #13
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

Very cool, as always

Eagerly waiting for the continuation
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:03 AM   #14
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MULTISAPIENTS continued...

Matters might have gone on almost indefinitely with this greatest of the Multisapient collectives in its 'relaxed' state. In many ways, from the point of view of a single, semi-immortal organism, which is what this world-sized collective had become, its existence was somewhat idyllic in natural terms.

It possessed, after all, abundant food, water, physical safety, physical comfort, it was absolute master over its planet for most practical purposes, it had no immediate enemies, faced no predators, was secure in its niche.

Even in terms of mortality and reproduction, the situation of this entity was enviable in Darwinian/survival terms. It was not, technically, immortal. Like the smaller collectives that had occupied its planet in earlier ages, it would eventually reach an age at which it must fission. But the same development that had enabled this last collective on its world to grow to world-sized meant that its 'lifespan' would be measured in, at least, tens of millennia. Its own self-analysis, performed with leisurely care, suggested to itself that it might be able to endure for as much as one hundred thousand of its planetary years. [1]

It was the situation of the local galactic neighborhood that brought more rapid changes to its slow-paced existence.

It so happened that the star system in which its world existed was a binary system. This is nothing rare in astronomical terms. The planet itself was the third world of a G3 dwarf star only slightly smaller and cooler than Sol. Five other worlds orbited that star, three rocky metal-iron bodies and two gas/ice giants with the usual retinue of satellites.

The other star is the binary pairing was a small class M1 star, a distant partner so far away the collective-inhabited world that to the naked eye, it was only just barely visible on a dark clear night to a sharp-eyed 'individual'.
What turned out to be the important thing was that the red dwarf was also host to a planetary system. Three worlds orbiting the distant red star, a rockball, a gas giant...and an outer world boasting a Heliugen biosphere.

Not only did this planet play host to a thriving array of Heliugen life forms, it had once, half a billion years before, been a settled world, home to a thriving population of sapient Helians. The Helians themselves, of course, were long gone, and little trace remained of their presence after the better part of half a billion years, at least on the planet itself. [2]

In space, though, and on some of the airless bodies that circled the red dwarf, or on deep-frozen airless moons of the Heliugen planet itself, many remnants of the past remained.

The great collective, of course, had no idea that any of this was so. At this time, it knew nothing of Helians, or Heliugen life, nothing of any life beyond its own planet, for that matter. It certainly suspected the presence of planets around the binary partner star, it had long observed that star through telescopes and recognized the characteristic 'wobble'. Though the ecliptic plane of the red dwarf system was such that there was no confirmatory transit and 'light dip', the wobble was enough to tell the collective of the presence of planets, though it knew little about their nature.

Still, the presence of those worlds roused enough astronomic curiosity in the Collective that it took an interest. A time came when it had sent robot probes, fly-by and orbiters, landers and rovers, to the rocky worlds of its own subsystem, a time when it had probed and studied the gas giants orbiting its own stellar primary. Of course there was still far more to learn, but now it took an interest in the other subsystem of the combined star system, and began designing probes to study those worlds.

For Homosapients, sublight interstellar exploration always presents immense challenges of motivation. Unless unreasonable amounts of energy are available and applied, such exploration is a matter of decades or centuries. Even if unreasonable amounts of energy are available, it only reduces the time to a matter of many years, and only for the closest of star systems. The red dwarf companion star was about 0.2 light-years away from the Great Collective, give or take a little.

By this point the Great Collective had access to a technology base somewhat ahead of that of Earth in 2019, but even so, sending a probe that far would be expensive and very time consuming. It was looking at a journey of thousands of years just one-way. On the other hand, if we may apply such a singular metaphor to a creature with many millions of hands, it had for practical purposes almost unlimited supplies of time. If it took tens of centuries for the probe to reach its destination...what of that? The Great Collective was likely to still be alive and well when the data finally came back, after all.

So it was that the Great Collective constructed a trio of automated space probes, at great expense, and launched them toward the red dwarf star. Propelled by staged nuclear-thermal rockets, accelerated on their way by linear accelerators, they travelled at an average velocity of about 150 kilometers per second by the time they reached their cruise speed. They faced a journey of slightly over two Terran millennia.

To be continued...



[1] Its local year was about 1.2 Terran years.

[2] For information regarding the Helians, see: http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=70229
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:11 PM   #15
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I must say this text was entertaining! Do you have anything about the Eldren?
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:26 AM   #16
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I must say this text was entertaining! Do you have anything about the Eldren?
Not in as deep a detail as I should, but here is a summary:

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...ic#post2094481

Here is a more specific summary about the Eldren:

http://forums.sjgames.com/showpost.p...37&postcount=5
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:48 AM   #17
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MULTISAPIENTS continued...

It took over two thousand Terran years for these probes to reach their target star. As they approached the star, they used very low thrust, long-duration 'burns' of their nuclear rockets to gradually break their velocity, having carried additional reaction mass in inflatable, super-light 'tanks' for that purpose. By the time they reached the target star system, they had slowed sufficiently that a short heavier burn was sufficient to put the trio of space probes into a wide orbit around the star. From there, a combination of nuclear burns and gravity assists from the planets of the star system enabled them to make an examination of the worlds, one at a time, and transmit that data back to the Great Collective using tight-beam laser transmitters.

The two inner worlds were certainly scientifically interesting to the Great Collective, when the data arrived on its home world, not quite three Terran months after it was transmitted. The innermost world was a dense ball of rock, the second planet, orbiting much farther out, was a gas giant not unlike those to be found in the home system.

The outermost world, though, boasted oceans of liquid helium, and was host to a thriving biosphere of cryogenic life forms. Thriving at temperatures below ten degrees Kelvin, they were like nothing the Collective had ever imagined to be possible.

The Great Collective, and the smaller Collectives that had preceded it, had certainly speculated about the possibility of alien life. Never, though, had it imagined that such life might take such a form!

It was, just barely, practical to send new programming instructions to the probes by laser link though it required about seventy Terran days for the instructions to arrive. The Great Collective programmed its probes to use their remaining delta-V to take up orbits around the outermost planet, enabling more careful examination of both that planet and its four satellites.

The inhabited planet was fascinating, but observations of the moons of that world were shocking, stunning. There were extensive ruins on those airless bodies. The living world below had long since removed the remains of civilization, over half a billion years, but the airless utter-cold of the moons could preserve the ruins even over such an abyss of time, disturbed only by the rare moonquake or meteoric impact.

The images the probes sent back certainly showed such impact craters amid the ruins, but enough remained to electrify the attention of the Great Collective. It wanted more information, but to its profound frustration, this was impossible with the initial probes. They had used up their propellant, they simply had no more delta-V left to use. They could send back images and sensor scans of the moons when their respective orbits brought them close, but the probes could no longer change their orbital paths. At a distance of seventy light-days, there was nothing that could be done.

The only way to gain more information was to send new probes. Using the same technology as the initial probes would require another two thousand years. The Collective concluded that it would be more efficient to work to develop faster propulsion systems than to repeat the initial expedition. So the vast mind of the Great Collective stirred into action, emerging from its lazy calm to focus on a massive research and development project.

Two Terran centuries later, construction began on a massive array of solar-powered lasers in close orbit around the local star. When they were completed, these immensely powerful devices drove a fleet of light-sail probes toward the red dwarf subsystem. The probes were light, no more than one hundred tons or so each, but there were many of them, of various sorts, carried by enormous 'sails' made of reflective material, sails hardly thick enough to be observed from on edge, but immense in area.

At an average velocity of .005c, they bridged the gap between the two parts of the binary system in only forty Terran years. Deceleration was complicated, using a technique that many civilizations have discovered and used, prior to the discovery of how to work around the light-speed barrier. The drive-sails divided into separate larger and smaller sails, and the larger ones reflected concentrated laser light from home onto the smaller sails, bringing them down to manageable velocities as they arrived at the target star.

Along with the faster travel time, this means of propulsion had the added advantage, from the point of view of the Great Collective, that the smaller remaining solar sails on the probes could also enable them to maneuver within the target system indefinitely. It was no necessarily swift or convenient, but it eliminated the frustration of limited delta-V. As long as the sails could be adjusted to harness the dim glow of the red dwarf, the probes could maneuver.

Now the probes converged on the Heliugen world and its moons, and soon data began to pour back along the laser link.

To be continued...
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:41 AM   #18
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MULTISAPIENTS continued...

To make a long and very complicated story brief, over the course of a century or more, the Great Collective send additional machines to the other half of the binary system, using light-sails and the laser array orbiting its own star.

Individually, these payloads were relatively small, but the Great Collective sent hundreds of them, and when they arrived, they included robots that could engage in construction projects. Even with a seventy-day (or so) light lag, that was short enough a time that the Collective could somewhat supervise the work remotely, and it had gradually become very good at automation.

A second laser array was constructed near the other star, providing easier 'braking' power for the remaining payloads, eliminating the elaborate dance of secondary sails. The new laser array also made travel within the other star system far faster and easier. Further payloads arrived, bringing robots and equipment to survey the alien ruins that had been discovered, and within another Terran century or so, the Collective had learned much.

Through its robots, the Great Collective had studied the remains of machines abandoned megayears before and preserved by the utter cold. The Collective had sampled the strange life forms of the outermost planet, and learned something of their utterly alien biology. It student the samples of writing that it found, but though it could not read most of the strange scripts, it learned the mathematical symbols of the aliens, and some bits and pieces of the rest.

The Collective found that the outermost world did not match the usual composition of such bodies, or at least, what its planetological models suggested that composition should be. Worlds at that distance from their stars ‘ought’ to have been composed to a great extent of frozen volatiles, but this body was make mostly of rock and metal, though covered in helium oceans and layers of volatile ices.

Moreover, in studying the geology of the outer planet, the Collective discerned that the strange biosphere was not native to its world. At a point in the deep past, what had been an airless, dry ball of silicate rock had been transformed into what it now was, and that transformation had been, on the temporal scale of planetary evolution, very nearly instantaneous. It had probably taken no more than centuries, certainly no more than a thousand years of its own planet.

This led the Collective to reevaluate its knowledge about its own world. It had extensively studied its own planetary geology over the ages, of course, and its ‘ancestral’ collectives had done the same and passed down their knowledge to their globe-spanning descendant. It now concluded, however, that it had misinterpreted some of that knowledge.

In light of what it had learned from the other world, the Great Collective now concluded that the same thing was true of its own world. There was, throughout the ‘record of the rocks’ on its planet, indications of a sudden, massive discontinuity. It was much, much more recent than the one that had occurred on the other world. The helium-ocean world had been transformed well over half a gigayear in the past. The discontinuity on its own world, the Collective now estimated, had happened perhaps no more than ninety million local years before the present.

Still, the indications were that what had been a radically different world had been almost instantaneously, on a planetary scale, transformed. The Collective now calculated that what had been an atmosphere of carbon dioxide and methane and ammonia had been transformed into an envelope of nitrogen and oxygen. Surface temperatures had fallen by over one hundred degrees K, and atmospheric pressure had been reduced by a third. Furthermore, the Great Collective calculated that well over a billion cubic kilometers of water had been introduced as well, probably substantially more than that, allowing for crustal water. Even the rotation period of the planet appeared to have been sped up by a factor of perhaps four.

All this appeared to have occurred over a time period of, at most, one thousand local years, which was absolutely incredible to the Great Collective. There were indications, not certain but suggestive, that the time required might have been substantially less than that.

The indications had been glaringly present in the data all along, but the Collective, and its ancestral collectives, had failed to recognize it for lack of comparisons. Now, though, it had studied two worlds bearing life, albeit radically different kinds of life, and seen the same pattern in the data on both.

On its own world, shortly after the sudden discontinuity, signs of life appeared in the strata. Though the data were still far thinner for the other planet, what data it had gathered suggested the same pattern there: a lifeless world until a sudden transformation, followed by the sudden appearance of a complex biosphere made up of complex organisms.

The Collective and its ancestrals had some understanding of evolutionary principles, of course, but they had never really solved the transition problem. The fossil record on their world showed many sudden appearances of new life forms, new clades and classes, with no preliminary forms. It was possible to trace evolutionary changes within some lines, but the reason for the sudden, abrupt transitions so characteristic of the fossil record remained a mystery. [1]

Now the Great Collective began to consider a new possibility: that someone or something had intentionally transformed both planets, and seeded them with life in the deep past.

To be continued…


[1] In fact, the Eldren periodically had introduced new forms of life over the megayears, sometimes in large batches. Thus, the fossil record lacked not merely transitional species but entire transitional classes and orders.
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Old 10-22-2019, 01:49 AM   #19
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I have been wondering, how many isolated multi-sapiens do you need to "reach" the average homo-sapiens IQ? You previously mentioned at least 3, but I am assuming these guys are under the buff of the “hive-mind”. (Also you said a single one is very close to a chimp)

What was the range of the psionic-link?

I am aware that homo-sapiens brain is different than a multi-sapiens’; however what would happen if a homo-sapiens managed to connect to the “hive-mind” (considering a successful, positive link). What would happen to the mind of a single (isolated) multi-sapiens brain managed to connect to a homo-sapiens brain (successfully and positively)?

PD. By “positively” I mean “ideally speaking” or “supposing it was possible, even if it isn’t”. For (a negative) example, in one of the latest Indiana Jones movies, Irina Spalko basically linked her mind to an alien’s mind. She demanded to know everything, and she turned into dust (others went crazy, but did not demand knowing everything).

Thanks!
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:52 PM   #20
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I have been wondering, how many isolated multi-sapiens do you need to "reach" the average homo-sapiens IQ? You previously mentioned at least 3, but I am assuming these guys are under the buff of the “hive-mind”. (Also you said a single one is very close to a chimp)

It depends on what aspect of intelligence you're measuring. A Multisapient collective generally needs to have probably 100-200 members to be as 'intelligent', broadly defined, as an average Homo sapiens. But that's speaking very broadly, because their minds are very different from ours. In some ways a 200 member collective is much smarter than an average human, in other ways, less able.

In some ways, their minds, past a certain point, don't such much get 'smarter' as 'wider', I'll try to illustrate what that means as I go on.

Quote:

What was the range of the psionic-link?
Depends. There's a difference between conventional telepathy and the linkage between these beings, they have to be much closer to 'merge' than they do simply to send or receive telepathic messages from other psions.

The bigger the collective, the wider an area is can occupy and remain stable. A 'typical' 100-200 member collective would be stable and fully viable, usually, as long as its subsets were within, oh, say, ten miles of each other. Past that, the connection breaks down quickly with added distance.

The Great Collective, the one occupying its whole planet, could span maybe a million miles before destabilizing. Which is a lot less than it sounds like, as I'll be getting to shortly.

Quote:

I am aware that homo-sapiens brain is different than a multi-sapiens’; however what would happen if a homo-sapiens managed to connect to the “hive-mind” (considering a successful, positive link). What would happen to the mind of a single (isolated) multi-sapiens brain managed to connect to a homo-sapiens brain (successfully and positively)?
They can't 'merge' at all, we and they are too different for that. Telepathic communication would be possible, but that would be no different than any other telepathic exchanges.

In my world, there is a collective entity made up of H. sapiens, called the Unity. It's very different than the Multisapients, far less elegant and efficient, because it's something of a kludge, from an evolutionary/biological POV.

Quote:

PD. By “positively” I mean “ideally speaking” or “supposing it was possible, even if it isn’t”. For (a negative) example, in one of the latest Indiana Jones movies, Irina Spalko basically linked her mind to an alien’s mind. She demanded to know everything, and she turned into dust (others went crazy, but did not demand knowing everything).

Thanks!
Trying to 'merge' a human mind into a Multisapient collective would be unworkable, as I noted. No sane person would try it voluntarily, and if someone tried it by force, the question is whether the victim would come through it sane or not. Most likely not, but there are a few people who might manage it. It would be a horrific experience, though, because our minds are not evolved for that. If he or she retained sanity, they might or might not pick up a little information in the process, but there would likely be lasting mental damage.

Imagine someone bending your knees 90 degrees forward instead of back. They're not made for that. Same deal with our minds.
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