Telepathy and the Seeds of Truth

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I watched a lot of black-and-white and 1960s television shows growing up in the 80s(1), with Twilight Zone and the original Batman and Superman being two of my favorites. Thus, every once in a while something contemporary reminds me of an episode that I saw. A headline from The Atlantic declares Mark Zuckerberg and the End of Language. Ah, what a lovely headline… Well, this article is really about wearing technology that gives us the ability to communicate telepathically.

The episode this article reminded me of was “Seer Gilligan” from Gilligan’s Island (1966). In it, Gilligan eats irradiated seeds and he has the power to read minds. It ends, like all things do on this show, in comedic-gilded chaos. The point, however, was that you don’t really want to know what anybody else is thinking, because nobody can handle that brutal truth. The idea that technology will “remove a social veneer” might be where we’re headed, but I don’t see a benefit to removing the faces we wear when interacting with other people–other than for retailers, but I’ll get to that later. However, I can see how the tech might have some fantastic uses for accessibility. That, truly, would open worlds to facilitate medical advances, and I do hope it goes down that road.

Often, I feel that science fiction teaches us how human nature doesn’t change just because we have shiny new tools to play with. Human nature is human nature, and this is a recurring theme in my work as well. Technology isn’t good or bad; it’s what we do with it that counts. And yet, I don’t necessarily see the point of wearing something that reads my thoughts and shows my desires on a screen or to another person. Having “tailored advertising” based on what my subconscious wants, or having it instantly be adding to my shopping cart… These things may sound great to a retailer, but for my bank account? Eh, I think I’ll pass. For a total stranger? I’ll definitely pass. Both new and existing technology doesn’t necessarily account for uses by people with a public profile, or any other nuanced needs for that matter. If it did, I’m sure there wouldn’t be new technology, but regardless…I’m not terribly excited about connecting to a total stranger in such an intimate fashion, let alone a friend.

Damn. I think my inner introvert is showing.

(1) A product of an ultra-conservative household. My childhood was like being on the set of The Sound of Music while battling Gremlins with a stack of books/songbooks in one hand and colored pencils in the other.

    Mood: Truth in the smallest things.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Balanced with water! I think…
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Ick. A walk.
    In My Ears: Doctor Whoooooooooooooo?
    Game Last Played: Kingdom Rush. Mega-battle. Seriously. Got to level 68.
    Book Last Read: Saints and Shadows by Christopher Golden
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: The Others
    Latest Artistic Project: Black cat on a white fence with a moon. It’s a cross-stitch thing.
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Gods, Memes, and Monsters
    Latest Game Release: Dread Names, Red List for Vampire: the Masquerade and Ghosts in the Black for the Firefly RPG.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update and My Departure from the Conan RPG.

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

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