There were anomalies in the history of the world that were difficult to explain. My colleague and I had just about decided the brain could as easily have an attack as the heart can, and that this idea was a better explanation for those anomalies. But before we could dive into that research, another interesting case came up on our radar.
A graduate student had a friend who had taken quite ill with what was first labeled musical tinnitus. The diagnosis quickly escalated into a mental heath issue. It was said that she heard musical tones playing in her ear incessantly. The tones existed every moment of her waking hours. Eventually, between these tones and her inability to sleep, she was institutionalized and medicated.
The experience wasn't an oddity; many with hearing loss were said to experience this. However, it didn't always lead to psychotic breaks. The bothersome aspect wasn't the psychotic break; that was understandable. What led my colleague and I to study this case was the recognition that all the musical tones centered around patriotic and religious music.
Historical evidence existed for these experiences as far back as the 1800s. In at least one early occurrence, it wasn't just a tone but a full symphony that was heard. More recently, cases of people hearing symphonies performing, some with male choirs, were on the rise and the songs were almost always religious and/or patriotic. The songs changed by country, but had the nature of the two genres implicitly.
In one study we had narrowed the focus down to the cochlea, but truth be told, we were looking for something much deeper, both from the historical aspect, as well as the scaled aspect. We were not prepared for what we found.
“Not the words I would have used, Sharon, but pretty close.”
Sharon turned to Steven, “I don't believe it.”
“Is it really so difficult to grasp? I mean archaeologists found what was left of an astrolabe from — how long ago was it? Why does it seem so implausible that some distant group of our ancestors developed the very tech that destroyed them?”
“Yet here it is, right on the screen of the electron microscope. It's right before our eyes, Steven! It's been here within the populations all along.”
“Kinda puts a new slant on those who hear voices, or those who are more sensitive than others, doesn't it?”
“Or even the idea of what telepathy really is.”
In the living tissue sample from the inner ear of patient ID0791, the evidence was overwhelming: operational nanotechnology not popularly known to exist. The key to the discovery had been keeping the tissue sample alive. As was discovered moments later, when the cells in the tissue began to die, the technology self destructed, but not in an explosive manner: it simply appeared to dissolve into nothingness.
“Where did it go?”
“I don't know, Sharon, but I suspect it was designed that way with intent. Just as I suspect the tech is passed on through biology.”
“Quantum nano-computers with some type of artificially intelligent software with active routines to self reproduce or mere nano-sized cochlear implants, I really can't say. Either way that's what drove her mad.”
“Where does it draw its power from?”
“Glucose? Who knows?”
“How old could this tech already be? I mean Drexler himself published his ideas about nano machines in the 1980s.”
“How old is mental illness? How old is true magic? Not the kind that influences through the power of suggestion or deception. I'm talking about through the nature of powers or abilities passed down through generations via biology. What if the unseen was forgotten integrated technology.”
“Powers like mind reading? Telepathy? ESP? Really?”
“Does it really seem so far fetched? What if the gods of thousands, no, tens of thousands of years ago were more advanced than we ever could have imagined?”
“What do you mean by gods?”
“The most educated and creative biological peaks within our species. I mean does it really seem so implausible that humans could have built such tech long ago, and it destroyed their society?”
“No it doesn't, at least not to me. If our civilization fell apart today, very little would be left even a thousand years from now.”
“What if some of their machines continued to survive through the biology of some people? The memories of how these survivors came to have certain abilities would have long since passed. Would it be too far fetched to imagine that if we today could imagine such machines, some distant version of us could have imagined it, too?”
“Sounds about as implausible as some story that we are descended from humans who once lived on Mars when it was habitable and escaped to Earth when the Mars ecosystem started falling apart. I don't know that I buy it, but it seems possible.”
“The technology was right there before our eyes! Didn't you see?”
“I don't want to be the spoil sport, but doesn't it make more sense that this is more recent tech?”
“How do you mean?”
“You know as well as I do that those on the fringes of tech are usually at least 70 years ahead of the rest of us. How do you know this isn't tech from the last 100 years or so? The patient complained the musical tones she heard were just that, tones. Not full symphonies. Even the comments about enhanced perception were simply a feeling, not full-on experiences outside her body.”
“I see what you are saying, but what if we find advanced nanotechnology on the other patients that do hear and experience in that way?”
“It'll be difficult to know until we figure out how to peer into the nano machines themselves. Right now I think our priority ought to be designing a noninvasive detector that can pick up signals from the circuitry of this tech. If this is first generation stuff we've discovered, then we are just opening the can of nano-worms. With the connectedness of the wireless world we're living in today, you can bet what ever exists now is online and communicating, if not controlling its host, 24/7.”
“Certainly would explain recent incidents.”
“It would also explain the use of religious and patriotic songs.”
“You're thinking this is a product of the State?”
“I'm just saying it might explain more about some forms of inexplicable behavior than we could have imagined otherwise.”
“Sigmund Freud’s gonna roll over in his grave with this news.”
“Let's hope that's the least of what happens if I am right.”
“What's the most that could happen?”
“If You're right and this tech has been in existence for tens of thousands of years, archaeology will never be the same.”
“If I'm right, nothing will be the same, ever again.”