Well, if things are radiating 'energy' - can senient beings direct the specific kind of energy?
Serendipitously, I was Googling Ptolemy (for my son's homework assignment) the other day, when I came across an interesting statement:
The ancients believed that the world around them was a projection from their eyes, and the sentiment is still evident in the evil eye.
Severe paraphrasing here, because I can't find the page again anywhere. (Don't you hate when that happens?) I had to find a new source for you, and it turns out this is even better.
"In ancient Greece, early in the fifth century BC, members of the Pythagorean School proposed an early version of extramission theory, suggesting that a visual current was projected outwards from the eye. Also, the philosopher Empedocles(c. 492–432 BC) proposed that the eyes sent out their own rays; they were like lanterns with their own internal light. Sight proceeded from the eyes to the object seen. (Zajonc, 1993)"
"The Sense of Being Stared At Part 2: Its Implications for Theories of Vision". Sheldrake, Rupert)
The sense of being stared at? Whatever do you mean? *looks over shoulder*
Then there's the intromission theory camp - where things gives off rays called simulacra, which your eyes capture. Simulacra are something like auras, because the rays are made up of actual particles.
Sheldrake's paper goes on and on, but here's another pertinent section:
"In his study of children’s intellectual development, Piaget (1973) found that children under the age of 10 or 11 thought vision involved an outward-moving influence from the eyes. Gerald Winer and his colleagues have confirmed Piaget’s finding in a recent series of surveys in Ohio. Eighty per cent of the children in Grade 3 (aged 8–9) agreed that vision involved both the inward and outward movement of ‘rays, energy or something else’ (Cottrell and Winer, 1994).In the same age group, 75% said they could feel the stares of other people and 38% said they could feel an animal stare. There was a significant correlation between people’s belief in the ability to feel stares and their belief that something goes out of the eyes when people are looking. (Cottrell et al)
Winer and his colleagues were ‘surprised — indeed shocked’ by these findings(Winer and Cottrell, 1996, p. 138). They were especially surprised to find that belief in the ability to feel the looks of unseen others increased with age, with 92% of older children and adults answering ‘yes’ to the question ‘Do you ever feel that someone is staring at you without actually seeing them look at you?’(Cottrell et al,1996). They commented, ‘the belief in the ability to feel stares, which occurs at a high level among children as well as adults, seems, if anything, to increase with age, as if irrationality were increasing rather than declining between childhood and adulthood!’ (Winer and Cottrell, 1996, p. 139)."
It's an interesting thought - projecting versus receiving - and one I'm exploring in my sci-fi manuscript. It never occured to me that the ancients were so deep into the idea though, and it kind of validates my use of archeaological sites as fodder too, don't you think?
Ancient sci-fi. Who knew?