Love and telepathy

I’ve been thinking about what love might be like in a society of telepaths.

Our ability to show love for each other, at least in this Universe, is connected with our ability to choose to make choices that benefit the person we love. The person we love cannot see our thoughts directly — they can only see what we choose to say and do.

If we had the ability to read each others’ minds, would we still be able to show love for one another in this way? In some sense, it is this hidden staging area, this part of ourselves that only we know, which allows us to make these choices at all.

I am trying to envision what it would be like to care for another person in a world in which they know all of our thoughts as soon as we think those thoughts.

On the other hand, it could be that we are psychologically incapable of envisioning such a world. After all, our social development as individuals is entirely predicated on this ability to mediate between thought and action within a zone of absolute privacy.

If we were to encounter a truly telepathic race of people, perhaps our respective societies — and the way people relate to each other within those societies — might be a source of complete mutual bewilderment and incomprehension.

2 Responses to “Love and telepathy”

  1. Sharon says:

    Makes you wonder if people would still say “its the thought that counts.” Or if they would need to “say” anything. :-)

    More seriously, it is hard to imagine what it would be like to be with another person, no less love them, in a world in which we each know all of each others thoughts as soon as we think them. It can be hard enough to accept and love yourself in the face of all the unflattering, judgemental chatter that runs through our brains uninvited. I can’t imagine having to deal with everyone else’s too. OTOH, if this were the norm, maybe compassion would come more easily because we’d know early on that everyone is more like us than not.

  2. Phil H says:

    One thing I would add to this is that we seem to interpret our own past actions by largely guessing what our motivations were, even though we make decisions in the present in the knowledge of our motivations (most of the time).

    So firstly, given your description, can we love ourselves? Secondly, do we love our past self in the same way, or perceive its love for us that way?

    I would point out that love and trust are intertwined, and that knowledge without uncertainty obviates trust. I think most of us learn that lesson when we first form adult relationships – we have to learn to trust the other person because not trusting them and testing them is not good enough.

    I think you’ll run into the divide between selfless action and emotional attachment here; the first is as you describe, the second is the part of love we rarely face properly – even without trust we can feel love for someone.

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