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Sensationaries

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What if in this very moment you could record your mental experience, including every nuance -- an itch on your scalp, the wind blowing across your cheek, the weight of your hand on your leg  -- and play it back to yourself in the future? What if that experience could be stored and shared with others? Perhaps even modified and enhanced, and then sold in a commercial market? This is the basic idea of sensationaries, or what Muru Oja called "brain bytes."

Herald of Fury will mention and share a couple sensationaries. As we considered how a sensationary would work, some questions arose, which we found fascinating to think about.

If you were blind, would you experience the visual aspects of the sensationary? We judged that it would depend on why you were blind. Your brain can still process visual data even if eyes are damaged or missing -- think of those who can "see" with the use of BrainPort technology today. However, if that area of the brain was damaged that processed the visual data, then those visual elements of the sensationary would be "mute" to the disabled person.

Interestingly, how would the color blind person experience someone else's sensationary (or vice versa)? Since one would be circumventing any use of retinal cones/optical nerve, would the color blind person experience the world as a non-color blind person does, thus becoming aware of his or her deficiency in color vision?

What of sharing one's experiences with others, and even those of other species? How well would these foreign experiences be understood? Brains among humans differ, and clearly would to a larger extent with other sentient species (who may not even use the equivalent of a brain to think). Could some program "translate" the experience as best as possible for another person or species? Would certain parts of the sensationary not be transferable at all?

For instance, could you feel pain in a body part you've never had? Could a male experience pregnancy, menopause, or a period? Could you experience a sensory medium you do not naturally possess, such as electroreception? It seems that some brains or other organic systems providing the capacity for (or channeling of) thought might not be able to process certain kinds of information.

Beyond this, what about the emotional levels of an experience, the judgments about sensory experience that may be crucial to the experience's very structure? Would this also be passed on in the sensationary, or would it be extraneous and left out?

Could sensationaries compound on top of one another, a new sensationary capturing both the original mental experience plus the experience of the observer? We could imagine these nesting like Russian dolls several levels through. What impact would trying to process these many layers of experience have on the mind?

We're aware of the conundrums sensationaries bring, and we're excited to explore them throughout these stories. What do you think about these questions? Have any answers or questions you'd like to add?

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