Friday, May 25, 2018


Does this often happen to you or is it just me? Of course it can't be just me but I'm curious. Here's the thing.

You're talking with someone on the phone (therefore you can't see them) telling them about some incident or other and they're quietly listening. Whilst speaking, you suddenly sense that their silence has changed. It's hard to describe what I mean by 'changed' but there is something different about the person's silence: it's expressing an objection of some kind, even though they haven't made a sound. The conversation continues its normal flow and eventually, casually, the person says something which is exactly what you sensed they were saying silently. 

Now, what was going on? Was it telepathy? Was I reading the person's thought before they expressed it verbally?

This sort of thing happens face to face too but then we get signals from body language etc. so it's easier to catch subtle changes of expression. Anyway I'm interested in this sort of thing. Maybe you are too.


Tom said...

If that happens to me it's usually because I've pressed a cut off or delete button.

Catalyst said...

Dah-dee-dah-dah, dah-dee-dah-dah. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

Leah Hewittsmith said...

Interesting. A mystery not understood and can entice negative emotions in the so called reasonable.

N. D'Arbeloff said...

What I wrote seems to have been misinterpreted or maybe I wasn't very clear.

What I was interested in was simply the way a silence can literally be sending a message and this message can be literally understood by the person it's addressing. Even if the person whose silence is being 'read' doesn't really want to be understood.

Never mind, But surely I'm not the only one who notices this sort of thing?

Leah Hewittsmith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leah Hewittsmith said...

Silence is a great communicator though some ignore it and its implication.

Vincent said...

You’ve given me something to think about, Natalie! After much idle brooding I’m convinced that it’s not telepathy but skill, which I’d define as “correct guessing”.

And it seems to me that correct guessing is a faculty developed and honed in many human contexts, many animal species: cooks, musicians playing together, players of team sports, migrating birds, household pets, insects ...

I would guess that the faculty is developed in the brain from close attention and retention of multiple instances: an accumulation of similars, if you like, for it requires a mental filing system, putting like with like and using this databank in a fraction of a second to evaluate each new situation and act accordingly.

I base this notion on all kinds of evidence. The experienced cook doesn’t measure the ingredients or judge duration by the clock, let alone follow the recipe as written. You can’t make a fly leave the room through an open window if it doesn’t want to. When I go walking, I can guess the number of steps before checking the pedometer and often get it to within +/- 50 after even after 5000. One thing one can be sure of is that machines can’t send telepathic messages.

I suspect that plants have the same skill. I heard on the radio that plants can communicate too, for example if one is the first to suffer drought, and closes its leaf pores accordingly to conserve moisture, its close neighbours as yet unaffected will follow suit.

In a more general sense I suggest that all species have this kind of intelligence, developed via evolution, and that it’s immeasurably more important than reason in our survival. It would be a short step from this, perhaps, to denounce the intellect as, on balance, a destructive force in the world. But then we cannot turn the clock back. Our civilisations depend on it.

And yet silence may be a great communicator, yes (he said after 327 words).