No more mind games

By Lauren Vincent

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According to scientists at University of California at Berkley, mind-reading may not be just a plot point in a Mel Gibson chick flick, but an actual possibility. For those of you worried that the crazy sex fantasies you’re conjuring during a boring class will soon become visible to your fellow students, fear not. Provided this kind of technology isn’t hijacked by evil geniuses, mind-reading will be a power used for the greater good.

Courtesy biausa.org

The study, according to Emily Sohn of Discovery.com, looked at electrical activity in subjects’ brains, and figured out the words the subject was listening to. While it’s not exactly the kind of invasion of thoughts we’ve seen in fictional depictions, this is still a very cool thing. With some progress, knowing what people are thinking can really be beneficial, especially those who cannot communicate verbally.

Obviously, this is where the need for such technology lies, and that’s where the science is aimed. But in a few decades, will this science take us even further and lead us to a world where our thoughts are audible to others? Sure, this could lead to chaos and a completely changed and altered existence, but it could bring us benefits that we could never imagine today.

For example, imagine never having to go through the nervous process of telling a crush how you feel about them. Instead, they could read your mind and know you are having mental butterflies; that you are imagining you two sharing a wedding cake. Sure, they may be totally creeped out and never talk to you again. But then again, they may be having the same thoughts, and – guess what? – they don’t even have to tell you because you’re reading their mind as well and you two are already sharing a passionate kiss.

And yes, it’d be rough if their thoughts don’t mesh with your beautiful fantasy. But since you’d know that, you wouldn’t have to waste time sitting around wondering if they liked you. And since they are probably suffering from some embarrassing thoughts themselves, just give those thoughts a listen for the consolation that they are total weirdoes as well, and move on.

This kind of thing would also give us deeper empathy for our fellow human beings. Instead of judging someone harshly, we’d know their situations. We could get a five-second walk in their shoes, and we would be a lot more compassionate and nicer toward each other.

I’m a believer in the “there is good inside everyone” mantra. If we could hone in on that good, we would be less likely to be bad to others. It could create a world full of better and more humane people. Though there would be a risk of hearing nasty thoughts about yourself, there would be less nasty thoughts to hear if everyone knew each other deeply enough to care about each other.

And if there are those people that you really can’t find the good in, well, at least you don’t have to waste time pretending to be friendly. No one really likes that kind of behavior anyway, so we could cut the silliness of acting like best friends when it’s the last thing we want from someone. And sure, it would suck to find out if another person thinks you’re a total moron when you thought you two were tight, but you’ll get over it and find real friends. You might even find out that you’re doing something totally unappealing that you didn’t realize before and adjust yourself accordingly.

Obviously the world would be far more honest; lying wouldn’t exactly be an option. Though sometimes the truth does more harm than good, I see that as a potentially rare occurrence, and perhaps we could develop ways to guard those truly important things. But lies are a thing I’d be willing to let go of, and a more honest world is not something I’d turn down.

Our existence would be totally different. It might have its pitfalls, but a world with free and open thoughts could be truly eye opening. Just as getting to know someone better often makes your relationship with them stronger, knowing the whole world better could make your relationship with the human race a lot stronger.

Lauren Vincent is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]