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Thread: Everyone's thoughts suddenly become public

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    Intergalactic Villainess Angry Floof's Avatar
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    Everyone's thoughts suddenly become public

    What if the entire world's thoughts suddenly became publicly readable? Every person's thoughts now on display for all the world to see. I've thought about this a lot. I'm fascinated by the idea.

    My first thought was, "Egads, no, I don't want my every thought to be public!" But then I realized that everyone would likely be too worried about their own nakedness to be interested in mine, and I don't have anything truly devastating going on in my head considering all we know about what can and does go on in some people's heads. Oh, I'd have plenty to be embarrassed about, but nothing like murder or depravity or anything that would make people stop focusing their own self consciousness to condemn me.

    I imagine a lot of people would not be able to handle it and just lose their grip on reality completely. I imagine a lot of people would commit suicide. Some people might attack or kill others whose thoughts inspired rage. It would be a painful, messy event for sure.

    We'd adapt eventually, though, but humanity would be a whole different animal with no one having the luxury of private thoughts. What would life be like? What would our relationships become? What would society be like without the ability to deceive? Without our social veneer? That part is harder to imagine.
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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    I agree with Douglas Adams; I think we would all want to spend as much time as possible listening to Disaster Area playing at full blast, like the Belcerebon people of Kakrafoon Kappa

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    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    I vaguely remember reading Sci Fi novel with that theme, I can't recall the title or authors name. It would be a monumental shock, but I guess there would be ways to adapt. Perhaps it would even become mundane over time....new generations knowing nothing different accepting their own reality without question, wondering what the old folk are moaning about.

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    It would be utter madness. Societies would be brought to a hault overnight. Damn near every encounter would trigger an argument. How depraved, twisted, and extreme things can be transmutating in the sea of inner fog would overwhelm the weak and strong alike. The notion of judging others by their actions instead of their thoughts goes out the window.

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Floof View Post
    What if the entire world's thoughts suddenly became publicly readable? Every person's thoughts now on display for all the world to see. I've thought about this a lot. I'm fascinated by the idea.

    My first thought was, "Egads, no, I don't want my every thought to be public!" But then I realized that everyone would likely be too worried about their own nakedness to be interested in mine, and I don't have anything truly devastating going on in my head considering all we know about what can and does go on in some people's heads. Oh, I'd have plenty to be embarrassed about, but nothing like murder or depravity or anything that would make people stop focusing their own self consciousness to condemn me.

    I imagine a lot of people would not be able to handle it and just lose their grip on reality completely. I imagine a lot of people would commit suicide. Some people might attack or kill others whose thoughts inspired rage. It would be a painful, messy event for sure.

    We'd adapt eventually, though, but humanity would be a whole different animal with no one having the luxury of private thoughts. What would life be like? What would our relationships become? What would society be like without the ability to deceive? Without our social veneer? That part is harder to imagine.
    It is as you say a truly fascinating idea.

    Most likely, as everyone is saying, it would cause pandemonium of all sorts, especially if it happened suddenly. One issue that hasn't so far come up is how to deal with the cacophony. Even if we assume that in such a scenario, thoughts, like voices, only have a certain range, if one were at a dinner party or in a crowded theatre, one would be bombarded with multiple thoughts almost all the time. Special headphones could hypothetically be invented, so that people could opt not to listen to other's thoughts at all, in a library for example.

    Things might go differently if it happened very gradually. For example, if certain people started to develop the capacity. All sorts of potential scenarios would then arise. Would such people increase in number because it was an evolutionary advantage, or not, or would there be some sort of natural limit?

    Another possibility would be that a technology could be developed which makes it possible. Then the potential scenarios would revolve around issues of who gets to use the technology, and in what circumstances. It would be useful instead of unreliable lie-detectors in court for instance, or at key moments in marriage guidance therapy sessions. Or maybe not that latter one.

    Finally, an alternative scenario could be imagined where people simply cannot lie. This was humorously dealt with in the film comedy, 'The Invention of Lying' starring Ricky Gervais.

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    It would be utter madness. Societies would be brought to a hault overnight. Damn near every encounter would trigger an argument. How depraved, twisted, and extreme things can be transmutating in the sea of inner fog would overwhelm the weak and strong alike. The notion of judging others by their actions instead of their thoughts goes out the window.
    Should there nonetheless at least be lesser penalties for thoughtcrime? It would seem to be fair.

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    Nobody would ever get anything done because they'd be too busy reading everyone else's thoughts. It would be chaotic to say the least. I really don't want to know what anyone else is thinking all day long. I really don't. No. Nope. Bad idea.

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    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Hell, if we just had a light on the forehead that blinked to indicate a sex thought, society woukd collapse.
    "Really? THAT turns you on?"
    "Honey, no, it just reminded me of a scene in a porno..."
    "You watch porn?!!?"
    "Twenty years ago, before i met you."
    "Why is it blinking NOW?"

    ----
    Or throw a word out during the Presidential debates, see who blinks, then the attack ads claim it was about X rather than Y...

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    Intergalactic Villainess Angry Floof's Avatar
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    I wonder what it would do to art and creative culture. If artists' thoughts and feelings were part of the collective consciousness before they pick up a paint brush, would there be a point to continuing? The individual artist might get some satisfaction from it, but would art as a subliminal influence in culture still be a thing?

    What makes subliminal or suggestive messaging so powerful is the social veneer between external and internal thoughts. The messages can move in under the radar because true thoughts and feelings are suppressed to some degree. In other words, you believe your image of yourself, leaving some of your authentic self unattended, where images and messages can access them without your permission.

    And part of what makes self delusion possible is the ability to keep internal things hidden from others. When nothing is hidden from anyone, you can't lie to yourself about it or pretend it's not there, at least not without some kind of fundamental break with reality.

    What would remain out of our conscious reach for art to speak to or draw out of us? Would art still have the ability to change us?
    The Authoritarians

    GOP and Trump supporters will not be able to say they didn't know. Vote in numbers too big to manipulate.

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith&Co. View Post
    Hell, if we just had a light on the forehead that blinked to indicate a sex thought, society woukd collapse.
    "Really? THAT turns you on?"
    "Honey, no, it just reminded me of a scene in a porno..."
    "You watch porn?!!?"
    "Twenty years ago, before i met you."
    "Why is it blinking NOW?"
    Gem.

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