"Testing, testing, how, now, brown, cow. One, two, three, four."
Ed Norton, from TV's Honeymooners
Back The testing and implementation of Phrenicea was anything but smooth.

The complexity of amassing human brains in an artificial "braincomb" environment was daunting.

It all began early in the twenty-first century with the explosion in brain research, led initially by the world's pharmaceutical companies,RealityCheck!   in pursuit of new drugs to ameliorate or cure brain disorders, particularly Alzheimer's and the like.

It was the beginning of a heady (sorry!) quest for enormous profits that eventually ensnared tech (search engine companies and chip manufacturers), biotech, nanotech and even entertainment companies; and ultimately just about any entity with enough resources to pursue conquering the final (practically
Problems included epidemics of déjà vu, inundating "oceans" of consciousness and paralyzing phobias.
speaking) frontier — the workings of the human brain. The optimism was contagious, as was the belief that the secrets of the human mind were at last going to be unveiled.

But even with the vast financial and technical resources expended, at first competitively and then cooperatively as a consortium (coined Phrenicea!), the brain's inner machinations proved too elusive to elucidate.

What was successfully developed however was a working interface with the human brain. This soon was followed by the ability of individuals — triggered by mere thought — to connect and communicate with ("engage") a complex of interlinked brains that were "donated" by gullibles seeking eternal consciousness. These in vitro brains were kept alive artificially within hexagonal-shaped capsules — each becoming a contributing member (knowledge, experience, perspective, etc.) in a gigantic beehive-like chamber fittingly called the "braincomb."

Initial "engagements" by volunteers were fraught with epidemics of:

  • déjà vu;
  • inundating "oceans" of consciousness;
  • out-of-body experiences;
  • adolescent-like crushes with specific brains deemed "attractive";
  • marijuana highs caused by endogenous cannabinoids;
  • the blending of senses or synethesia (hearing colors or tasting shapes);
  • false limbs;
  • personality "leakage";
  • dissociative amnesia caused by a gradual "adoption" of braincomb brain content to ultimately supplant original memories and behavior — and the converse:
  • fugue — the sudden loss of personal memories to an acquisitive braincomb;
  • co-consciousness — living and observing experiences simultaneously;
  • "alien hand" phenomenon where limbs seemed to act on their own;
  • paralyzing phobias originating from the donor brains.
Once these problems were solved, what emerged next were observed Darwinian-like struggles such as internal braincomb "mind games" manifested as seizures instigated by the more insecure brains within the braincomb, a "brains in love" syndrome caused by dopamine migration between braincomb chambers — and a real threat of perhaps the largest headache ever!

Memetics experts were on hand to monitor the proliferation of unwanted viral-like memes that might erode the diversity of thought amongst the passel of brains. A distinct concern too was intoxication from a massive infusion of synthetic mind-altering compounds by protestors, which deemed Phrenicea a threat to humankind.

The Future — It's All In Your Head! ®

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