Social Question

zensky's avatar

•Would you want to be able to read minds?

Asked by zensky (13357points) May 6th, 2012

I don’t think I would.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

Trillian's avatar

Maybe if I could pick and choose. It might have made a lot of difference in certain choices I made.

Blueroses's avatar


I would not.

Plucky's avatar

I already can :p

I think most of us would be horrified what goes on in others’ minds.

Sunny2's avatar

Only if you could pick and choose which minds you’d read and be able to turn it on and off Otherwise there would be this cacophony of words and ideas bombarding your mind all the time. A full room of people could drive you crazy. If this really was a skill that people could study or learn, we’d have thought police to attempt to keep us safe from wrong doers. It would be intrusive at least.
I’ve sometimes wondered what someone was thinking, but actually being able to know without their knowing I know, would be a burden. I vote NO.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

No. I don’t even have to think about this one.

Jeruba's avatar

I can hardly even stand to hear the conversations that go on around me in waiting rooms and supermarket lines. Given the quantities of banal crap that come out of most people’s mouths, I would go mad if I had to listen to the things they don’t say. It would be more pleasant to sift through people’s garbage than to listen to the stream of consciousness of everyone in my vicinity. My own is bad enough.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t think so, beyond the initial novelty of it. It would probably be very distressing for me if I were privy to everyone’s private pain and suffering. Super empathy girl would likely never smile again.

ratboy's avatar

I knew you’d ask this question.

Nimis's avatar

No, people’s fleeting thoughts are often arbitrary and not necessarily representative of how they really feel or think.

I’d like to be able to read their intentions though.

lillycoyote's avatar

No. I have enough trouble keeping track of and managing my own mind without having other people’s minds to deal with.

SillyGirl's avatar

I don’t know… took me a month to identify hundreds of rose species by just looking at the canes and foliage. I can sense things in people, I know when someone is guilty. And I know who is evil and who is not by their words and actions. And never try hiding something I just know…..can one call that mind reading?...Maybe that is why I only have seven friends in this whole world I trust and one of them I married and the second one I trust I have never met she lives in America but I just know she is trustworthy and reminds me of a goddess the goddess Athena…...:D

marinelife's avatar

If I also had shields so that I couldn’t when I didn’t want to.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@marinelife I’d want a filter too. No way I want to do this 24/7.

abysmalbeauty's avatar

If I could focus in on one mind and one thought at a time… It’d be really cool if it worked like some kind of telepathy and my thoughts were muted for moments while this happened. It’d be interesting to actually not just hear but experience the thoughts of others. At the same time I feel that this would be extremely intrusive and just on my nature alone even if i had the power Id probably never use it out of respect for others.

If you think about it this capability would really be a huge detriment to social skills everywhere and even worse maybe. Most people use their mind and thoughts to keep a barrier between themselves and others, its the only true private place that you have. If that didn’t exist then you would have to stop thinking thoughts that you don’t want exposed. There would be a massive amount of brain function loss once people started creating thought preventing drugs which would undoubtedly happen.

Blackberry's avatar

Of course. Once you’re able to control your powers, you can know anyone’s intentions.

wundayatta's avatar

Depends what you mean by “reading minds.” If we’re talking about constant broadcasting of everything everyone thinks, then you’ve got an information overload that would be like living in the midst of very loud static all the time. I think not.

If I could selectively tune into a small part of someone’s mind—not necessarily the speech center, then I might consider it. But as it is, I would argue that I, and all of us, already do read minds. We have become extraordinarily sensitive to many different cues that people give off as to what they think.

Of course, some of us are better than others. That’s a matter of experience and training and skill, combined with a lack of handicaps. I think people with social anxiety disorder have a harder time reading minds than most people. So do those on the autism spectrum.

If you could actually dig into a person’s mind and somehow intercept thoughts as they happened, would you get any more truth than you get now? I’m not at all sure that you would. Minds are actually made up of many different parts, and they don’t all agree, and you might catch one thought that doesn’t actually end up being the consensus output of that person’s brain. Then where would you be?

gailcalled's avatar

Often, when my kids and step-kids were little, I could read exactly what thy were thinking and when they were lying. It was deafening.

Luckily, as adults they have gotten more devious and more opaque.

So, no thanks.

As @Jeruba said so eloquently, my own inner monologue is distracting enough.

OpryLeigh's avatar

No, I fear I would find out things that I am happier not knowing. A certain amount of ignorance really is bliss!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Only if I could flip a mental switch to turn it off and on, and only use it when I really wanted to.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Already do…..

Berserker's avatar

I’d rather not, that would probably get pretty depressing.

bewailknot's avatar

No, too much of a burden

Pol_is_aware's avatar

It would be impossible to adjust my life at this point

Blackberry's avatar

Why are so many saying no? This would be the most amazing ability. Wouldn’t you want to know what people were saying about you, so you could adjust your behavior accordingly? Wouldn’t you want to prevent yourself from being deceived?

wundayatta's avatar

No. I already have way more information than I need about what people think of me.

augustlan's avatar

Who was it that said, “What other people think of me is none of my business”, or something like that? ;)

Paradox25's avatar

No, and it is an ability that somewhat scares me. Regardless of what anybody says here, make no mistake about it, we would all go insane (and I mean literally) if we had that ability.

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