Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Problem with Mind-Reading

So Tom and I thought it'd be cool to have a series of posts about the pros and cons of super powers.
I know that a lot of people think mind-reading would be awesome, but I'm here to prove them wrong.
It's pros and cons time.
No one can lie to you. You can interrogate a super villain and find out where he's hiding his death ray and how to destroy it. You can ask the Russian spy who his contact was, and no matter his answer, you'll find out. You can discover the secret identity of your arch nemesis.
You wanna find something out? There are easy ways of manipulating thoughts. If I say "Don't think of an elephant." What do you think of?
An elephant.
Comes in handy, like I said, for interrogations.
That's about it.
There are two possible scenarios: Either you can turn it off or you can't.
If you can't, the problem is pretty self-explanatory: Thoughts are chaos, you hear what everybody's thinking at all times, it's a nightmare. It's like an overwhelming cacophony of uncensored thoughts, an deafening circus of judgments and non-sequiturs. Sooner or later, you'll go mad. You won't even be able to hear your own thoughts.
Second scenario:
You may think you can handle it, but truth is, you can't. You forget that we have emotions. More specifically, doubt. You'll tell yourself you can use your power for good, and not for your own needs.
But trust me, you cant.
One day, your friend will say something, you'll doubt him or her, and then, before you know it, you'll tap into their thoughts. You'll start using it over and over again, and you'll eventually stop trusting people. Ever.
You know the saying "Ignorance is bliss?" Yeah. It applies here.
Eventually, people will find out.
You: Hey, how was the concert?
Friend: What are you talking about?
You: Good enough to skip our plans?
Friend: How did you find out?
You: to yourself Crap... He never told me... Forgot about that.
That's when your status of "hero" turns to "stalker".
Let's face it, reading people's thoughts is invading their privacy. You will no longer be the dude (or dudette) who saves the day, but rather the creeper (or creeperette) who listens in to your thoughts.
No one will want to come near you, you'll end up alienated, isolated because your attempt to do good backfired. Kinda like in The Incredibles.
Okay, assuming you can turn it off, assuming you're not taken away by emotional conflicts and your cover's safe and you find out some kick-ass info about a super villain. Then what?
Let's face it, mind reading doesn't allow you to do much. You can just find stuff out (which, if you're a decent cop, you can also do). Mind-reading is a dead-end.
And by the way, Professor X's powers go beyond mind-reading, so he doesn't count.
Besides, what kind of a name could you find for a superhero who reads minds?

Yours truly,

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