|“||What is human? An ability to reason, to imagine, to love or grieve? If so, we are more human than any human ever will be.||”|
A Sensate is a person who maintains a telepathic and empathetic connection with other sensates in their cluster, or with those outside a cluster, through eye contact.
Although a sensate is essentially human, "one small genetic mutation" allows sensates to be emotionally and mentally linked. This connection allows them to share each other's knowledge and skills, among others. The members of a cluster, no matter the physical distance between them, are all born on the same day at the exact same moment. Jonas states that while a genetic birth transfers genes, a sensate birth transfers sense experience and memory. As the 8/8 cluster was birthed by Angelica Turing "parts of her consciousness echo in [them]".
Sensates have two birthdays; the first when they were physically born, and the second, when they were reborn as sensates. A cluster's connection is activated during this second birth; the cluster featured on Sense8 was borne by Angelica Turing. When the members of the cluster have been reborn they experience a severe migraine for an extended period of time.
From Yrsa's comments it can be presumed that children of a sensate can inherit the same sensate abilities as the parent. However, siblings of sensates have not been shown displaying these abilities, for example Daya Dandekar and Teagan Marks have not shown the same powers as their respective siblings. Nonetheless, it is possible that Daya and Teegan are simply sensates that are unborn.
The physics of the sensate connection involve a substance called psycellium, a "psychic nervous system".
When a cluster's link has been activated, three main abilities begin to manifest in its sensates. These are visiting, sharing, and their psychic link.
Psychic Link Edit
"You will start to feel strange things... You will feel snow in the middle of the summer, rain when there isn't a cloud in the sky. You'll feel anger and joy and pain... pleasure, without any reason." - Jonas, in I Am Also A We
Sensates within a cluster are mentally and emotionally connected. It starts out as sensory input, where one sensate hears or tastes (or uses any of the other five senses) something another sensate is hearing or tasting. Gradually, their link strengthens to the point where they feel each other's thoughts and emotions (at times even memories).
Main Article: Visiting
"Visiting is not calling or texting someone. It's not something you make happen. It is something you let happen." - Jonas, in What's Going On?
Visiting happens when sensates mentally communicate with each other. Sensates are seemingly mentally transported to each others' locations.
Visiting is done instinctively with the other members of one's cluster, but can also be done with other sensates outside of the cluster. This is only after firsthand, eye-to-eye contact has been made. For example, Jonas was only able to visit Will and Nomi after physically seeing the two and making eye contact, but Mr. Whispers was unable to visit Nomi despite seeing her through Niles Bolger's eyes.
Visiting often works hand-in-hand with a sensate's psychic link; utilizing both, sensates can access any of the five senses through a fellow sensate, allowing them to perceive the world around them through another sensate's eyes. This also includes physical contact, such as with one another. It is not possible to visit a sensate when they are heavily drugged or unconscious, but it appears visiting is possible when the sensate is asleep.
Main Article: Sharing
Sharing is when a sensate accesses the knowledge, language and skills of another sensate. Sharing is only done inside the cluster. In the case of skills, sharing allows a sensate to physically control a fellow sensate as they watch; this is seen when Wolfgang allowed Lito to lie for him, or when Will watched as Kala prepared an injection for Riley.
- Riley Blue
- Kala Dandekar
- Wolfgang Bogdanow
- Lito Rodriguez
- Capheus Onyango
- Sun Bak
- Will Gorski
- Nomi Marks
- Jonas Maliki
- Angelica Turing
- Mr Whispers
- Niles Bolger
- Sara Patrell