Oh lordy. I'd like to agree on principle, but I think if we want other people to be honest with us, we'd first have to be honest with ourselves. And THAT is a really big pill to swallow.
I'll throw in a brief example. SEX. During sex does your mind ever wander? Not just to, oh, say, Brad Pitt's abs, but to "Crap, I forgot to start the dishwasher," or "I need to get back that that person at work..." Or god forbid something steamier about someone, real or imagined, not currently in the room. It happens. We don't mean it offensively and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with whoever we happen to be in bed with, it just happens. Minds wander. Focus is hard. But imagine how you'd feel seeing all that or having that seen. It would be a huge vulnerability and there would be no safe refuge for it because all of your thoughts would be known.
I try to be a really honest and non-manipulitive person. I say things as I see them and don't hide my opinions. And you know what? It really pisses people off.
I think, were telepathy the norm, we would have a completely different society and means of interaction. And, for what it's worth, I'm pretty fond of the current system.
I believe humans would adjust and have to stop taking so much offense. Imagine what it would do for people who struggle with words. Direct mind to mind communication is tempting for anyone who loves innovation and discover, so that kind of explains my disregard for the side-effects. Yes, it would be a disaster. I just believe it would be worth it once the disaster was over. It would further the human race overall in my opinion, so I'd opt in.
I don't think I care enough about other people to honestly want to know their thoughts. It's like bumper stickers... what makes people who have them think I care what sports their kids do or who they voted for? But that's probably just me.
The question was about the ability to read minds. Nothing said it would be stuck to on. If it only activated when we wanted it to, it would be awesome. You would use it less often, I would use it more. I'm very curious and interested in people. I think that is why I've missed my private journal.
It never occured to me that it might be voluntary.
I definitely see the value in your way of looking at it. What you said immediately brought to mind a friend of mine who probably doesn't go more than a five minute stretch without thinking someone, or many someones, are judging her negatively. I love her, but it does work my nerves; for me it's especially irritating that she presumes other people's choices and actions are an indictment of hers.
A good example: during the years I was a vegetarian, she would often say, "Well, I know you disapprove of my diet." For me being a vegetarian was about me, and what I felt like was healthy for me. There was no part of me that judged other people for choosing to eat meat. But, no matter how many times I explained, she clung to her belief. I could cite a gazillion other examples, both involving me and not at all related to me.
So it would probably be good for her to read people's minds. I doubt that she would discover anything worse than what she already imagines.
At the same time, though, I'm not so sure that the subtleties of communication don't have a deep value. There are definitely situations where dropping a hint is preferable to something blunt, or where framing a thought appropriately is preferable to people being bludgeoned by a thought with no context. It seems to me that mind reading could cause even more dischord.
On a practical level, I think the world would be a very noisy place if I was hearing everyone's thoughts!
If someone is convinced that everyone else holds a negative view of them, it makes me wonder what they really think of themselves. Propping up the ailing self esteem of another person is tiring, even if you love them. Partly because the work is never done. They will never be ok until they fix how they think of themselves. I wonder though, do they think so mean and judgmentally about others that they think that is the norm? Maybe it isn't low self-esteem. I think Dr. Phil said, "You'd worry less about what other people think of you if you knew how seldom they did." Being obsessed with how others view you is supposed to be a teenage thing, but any teenage thing has kind of permeated our culture, so now it seems normal in the "Desperate Housewives" and "Demi in her twitter bikini shots" era of not growing up.
That was one hell of a blabber. Anyhow, interesting stuff to consider.
There are definitely self esteem issues there, and you're right about it being tiring. It also sometimes destroys some modicum of my excitement or happiness about something. When she saw my engagement ring and I mentioned that it was important to us that the diamonds no be blood diamonds, she got very defensive. She said that she must be a horrible person, then, because it never even crossed her mind to be concerned about the origin of any gem stones she bought or was given. What started out as me sharing an exciting, happy moment turned into me trying to reassure her that it's unlikely anyone thought she was a bad person just because she didn't think of the blood diamond issue.
I actually don't think she's thinking as judgmentally about others. In her immediate and extended family there seems to be a lot of pressure to be perceieved in a certain way, and to never do the slightest thing that could possibly put a shadow on the family name. She has said that it's impossible for someone to understand without having grown up with those expectations, and she may be right, because to me the stress about it seems quite out of proportion. I certainly would never do anything on purpose that would bring shame to my mother or other family members- but I don't carry the responsibility around like an albatross on my neck, either.
You can call it blabber if you like, but I enjoyed reading it! :o)
2010-09-14 04:43 pm (UTC)
I think you're right about adjusting. I think that people would be forced to deal with their inner ugliness and would HAVE to understand things they try to ignore (like a right wing anti gay marriage person who is simply unexposed would see the pain their viewpoint causes and might see the err of their thinking). We'd HAVE to learn tolerance.
I think it'd be really disappointing to see how even people who love you really think. I consider myself an exceptionally kind, accepting person, but sometimes my thoughts appall me. Like, because I am in church or a work meeting, my mind will start thinking of The Worst Thing I Could Shout Right Now. Oh, that's a common game my brain plays.
I like the idea of voluntary. So if you have a misunderstanding with someone you truly love and want to resolve it with, if you had the nuts to sit together quietly and go through the rage and hurt, you'd come out the other side with healing.
I'm of 2 minds on this. Do I really want the person who turned so slowly in front of me that I had to sit through the next light to know that I thought "a$$hole" when the light changed? I'm sure the person was perfectly nice and was just driving in a safe manner, but my brain just thought that because I was delayed in getting to where I wanted to go. But imagine how it would feel to "read" the love someone has for you in their mind. And words would no longer unintentionally hurt. So if you could have a block and only allow people to read your mind when you were in the right mindframe, it would be good.