Two girls from British Columbia, Krista and Tatiana Hogan, are anatomically complete, typical four-year-olds except for their heads being connected since birth in a manner called craniopagus. According to a story in the New York Times Magazine on May 29, 2011, they appear to be sharing each other’s stream of thoughts, feelings and sensory stimuli.
Psychologists and neuroscientists are rightfully fascinated. As an attorney, I foresee the need for a whole new body of law addressing individual freedom, contracts, dispute resolution, and criminal conduct.
Growing up will be a special experience, with a sister omnipresent and omniscient, but not necessarily a convivial alter ego. Krista and Tatiana should benefit from sharing the same grade-school education, collaborating on their respective SAT answers, and helping each other with undergraduate admissions essays. If each is admitted to a different college, they can select the best and then lobby to pay room, board and tuition for just one student. Employment will have to be the same hours at the same job, but there may be extra pay-for-performance based upon two sets of eyes and two pairs of hands. Dating and romantic cohabitation will bring new meaning to the concept of “blended family.” Marriage will not be polygamy because each husband can only be wedded to – and intimate with – a single one of them. They may need to take turns having children.
Imagining what it could be like for these siblings to do everything together is not difficult. Best friends and lovers do it to a lesser degree. There are many non-anatomical examples of symbiotic connectivity in the world around us:
In real estate, the duplex with common areas;
In computers, the dual core processor;
In geography, countries like the U.S. and Canada with a common border; and
In physics, the quantum superposition.