My husband and I had a telepathic experience the other night, the kind that couples frequently have. Something special was needed for dinner and the cupboard was bare. “Wait we could have…” he began. “We sure could,” I agreed. Dinner was prepared without either of us once mentioning the wonderful Nantucket Bay Scallops we’d frozen at Christmas. It was a warm, fuzzy mental exchange.
But do I really want to know everything he is thinking? Everything you are thinking? Worse yet, do I want you to know everything I am thinking? Recent discussions about privacy and national security have bought up the argument that those who have nothing to hide should not be alarmed when their innermost secrets become known. Deep inside, no one I know agrees with that.
I do very little if anything that is illegal or even unethical. But some times I do or think things that embarrass me. Or things I think can be hurtful. If I sneeze too hard I pee in my pants. I think you’re kind of cute. I called a person in another car a “fucking asshole” on the way to work today. Whatever. I’m not perfect and yet I care that I’m not and therefore I don’t want you examining every flaw of mine. I don’t even want you to have the opportunity to do so. And frankly I don’t want to examine your flaws either.
In the novel x0, telepathy is a gentle skill, usually conveying emotions and seldom conveying specific information. Telepaths are considerate, they mind their own business. And even the unaware can put up walls to protect themselves. It’s telepathy the way I’d want it to be. Not very invasive.
As to everyone’s increasing ability to use technology to follow my behavior, and even perhaps to misinterpret my actions or my intents? Sigh. ….. A world with telepaths is starting to look like it would be the least of my privacy issues.