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Psionic

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Psionic

Psionics is a term used mostly in fiction and games to denote a variety of paranormal psychic abilities, especially those that are under a person's conscious control. The term was invented in the field of parapsychology, but gained little acceptance. The term is often used in works of fantasy and science fiction as well as video games and role-playing games. -- From Psionics at Wikipedia (e)

From Wikipedia

Psionics is a term used mostly in fiction and games to denote a variety of paranormal psychic abilities, especially those that are under a person's conscious control. The term was invented in the field of parapsychology, but gained little acceptance. The term is often used in works of fantasy and science fiction as well as video games and role-playing games.

History and terminology[edit]

B. P. Wiesner and Robert H. Thouless first proposed the term "psi" in 1942 as a more general term to include both extrasensory perception and psychokinesis. The original terminology proposal divided psi into psi-gamma, for cases of perception, and psi-kappa, for cases of action. These terms were later modified into "passive psi" and "active psi".[1][2] Later, John W. Campbell proposed the term "psionics", from psi (psyche) + electronics (machine), which implied that the powers of the mind could be made to work reliably. Psionics in terms of "the game" and "paranormal" was developed and spread on the internet by supporters of psionics.[3]

Fiction[edit]

Psionics (used as a term for psychic abilities) in fiction appear in almost as many varieties as magic does, and are often deeply entwined with many related paranormal or science fiction phenomena.

It is often used to endow science fictional characters with abilities, which, if they were called "magic", would make the story fantasy.[4] Psionics usually appear in science fiction or contemporary settings, although it is sometimes seen in medieval fantasy as well (mostly in role-playing games), sometimes with both magic and psionics existing side by side as two distinct phenomena.

The most widely utilized psionic ability in fiction is telepathy, which is often attributed to magical or highly technologically or mentally advanced cultures. As an example, the Star Trek Vulcans were given limited telepathic abilities in order to make them appear more alien. Psionic abilities are often displayed by beings who do or are in process of transcending their physical existence (e.g. humans in the SF classic, Childhood's End).

  • In the science fiction TV show Babylon 5, human telepaths are organized into an organization known as the Psi Corps.
  • In the anime Akira (and the manga it is based on), psionic powers are a main subject. A secret research project of the Japanese military results in the creation of several telepathic children.
  • The works of H.P. Lovecraft, of a dark and fantastic nature allude to psionic abilities such as in the residents of K'n-yan. This power often manifests itself in his stories as the ability of powerful creatures such as Cthulhu to induce madness as a sort of overwhelming telepathy in the minds of those who approach him.


See also: List of comic book superhero powers

Role-playing and other games[edit]

Main article: Psionics (role-playing games)

Psionics are used in a wide variety of role-playing games, often as a substitute for magic. In Tolkien-esque fantasy games with a magic system already in place, such as Dungeons and Dragons, psionics are often introduced to provide an alternative system that functions differently from existing magic systems.[5] The first role-playing game to use the term psionics was Traveller, published by GDW in 1977, and published in different licensed versions to this day.

Psionics are a popular device in video games (such as Second Sight or Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy), board games (such as Cosmic Encounter) and many other forms of gaming. Typically such powers are used in a context where magic would not fit into the setting in order to introduce super-human, magic-like powers.

Types of psionics[edit]

These are some of the more commonly portrayed varieties of psionic abilities;

  • Telepathy: To communicate without the use of physical senses.
    • Mind reading
    • Thought Communications
    • Mental Attacks
    • Mental Defenses
    • Mind Control
    • Projected Illusions
  • Extrasensory Perception: To precieve objects and events beyond the use of ordinary senses
  • Psychokinetic abilities: aka. "mind over matter". Abilities that allow manipulation of the physical environmental and the general elements
    • Telekinesis (as in projecting pure force or moving objects via the mind).
    • Non-material energy-based abilities can include:
    • Pyrokinesis(exciting molecules so that the resulting heat combusts into fire)
    • Electokinesis (control of electrons or electrical energy)
    • Atmokinesis (influencing weather events and the atmosphere via the mind)
    • Cryokinesis(deceleration of molecules, resulting in objects becoming more cold and proceed towards solidification).

Since matter and energy are related, these energy based abilities may be actually considered "mind over atomic/subatomic matter" control wherein something like Pyrokinesis and Cryokinesis are simply the control of motion of molecules within an object. Therefore, in this context the term psychokinesis would suffice for all of these varieties.

  • Psychoportive abilities ("travelling through space/time or metaphysical plains") such as Teleportation, Astral Projection, Etherealization, etc. Similarly, the manipulation of the flow of time. See chronokinesis
  • Psycho-Metabolic abilities ("mind over body") such as accelerated healing, environmental resistance, pain resistance, etc.

External links[edit]

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References

  1. http://www.parapsych.org/glossary_l_r.html
  2. http://forums.vsociety.net/topic/5408.0
  3. http://www.davidszondy.com/future/man/psionics.htm
  4. Poul Anderson, "Fantasy in the Age of Science", p 270, Fantasy ISBN 48-51518
  5. http://www.wizards.com/d20/files/v35/PsionicClasses.rtf




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