The collective consciousness is a telepathic connection of aliens. The aliens who have made the connection can telepathically communicate with the collective and gain or share information.
Young aliens go through a biological process called the akino, which typically requires making the connection to the collective consciousness or they will die. The initial connection can be made from a great distance using communication stones.
There is an organized rebellion against the collective consciousness. The rebels are against making the connection and want the collective consciousness destroyed.
The collective consciousness is made up of the collective minds and souls of all aliens, living or dead. When Max Evans first makes the connection, he encounters his long-deceased parents and the recently-deceased Ray Iburg. When Max connects to the consciousness, he can't usually draw out individuals to communicate, and it's more experiencing the collective as a single entity.
The collective can overpower an individual's agency and take control of them. When Max connects to the collective and sees DuPris, the collective is so angered at DuPris's betrayal that they empower and control Max in an attempt to kill DuPris, and Max barely prevents them from doing so. When Max is kissing Liz, the collective is curious and tries to join the experience, and Max has to forcefully push them away.
As Max connects to the collective consciousness more and more, he sinks deeper into the experience, completely zoning out at random moments. This happens abruptly and he can stay that way for a long time, once losing an hour just by listening to music with the collective.
The akino is a "life change ceremony." It refers to the biological imperative process that requires a young alien to make the connection to the collective consciousness. Max goes through his akino in his senior year of high school, and Isabel goes through hers shortly after.
Symptoms include being overwhelmed with colors and sounds to the point that the smallest sound or sight is painful. The individual becomes weaker and weaker the longer this continues. When Michael connects to Isabel to help her, her organs "were all about to disintegrate." Her breathing becomes more ragged "like it's going to stop any second." Trevor says these symptoms are normal.
Max nearly dies before he's finally able to make the connection with the communication stones. It appears that Isabel could die when she refuses to make the connection, but she makes it through her akino without connecting with help from a Stone of Midnight. Trevor suggests that it's a more difficult process for a human body.
First making the connection
Presumably, an alien could make the initial connection with their own powers while on their home planet.
To connect to the collective consciousness from Earth, Max needs to use communication stones. Without them, he's too far away to make the connection. The communication stones were aboard the alien ship that crashed in Roswell in 1947. Once Max holds the stones, he's able to make the connection.
After the initial connection, the communication stones are no longer needed, and the connection can be made at any time.
There is an organized rebellion against the collective consciousness. DePris is leader of the rebellion, and part of the reason that he stowed away on the ship that caused the crash in 1947 was to get access to the Stone of Midnight aboard the ship. Michael's parents assisted DuPris, although they died when he caused the ship to crash.
- Elsevan DuPris
- Michael's parents
- Kindred, a group of the rebellion who raised Trevor
By the end of the series, the main characters all assist in the rebellion.
In Roswell, New Mexico, the aliens do have a psychic connection with each other, but it does not include an akino or a direct sharing of information. Max, Michael, and Isobel can sense other aliens nearby when they are in pain.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Book 5, The Intruder, chapter 1: The collective consciousness. This time the words brought back a rush of memory. He was going through his akino, his life change ceremony. If he didn’t connect with the collective consciousness of his home planet, he would die. And he’d thought that was what was going to happen because he couldn’t make the connection without the communication crystals stored on his parents’ spaceship. The ship kept in a secret compound, surrounded by guards with machine guns.
- ↑ The Dark One.
- ↑ The Dark One, chapter 13.
- ↑ Roswell, New Mexico 1.12 Creep