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10 Ways Mind Reading Would Ruin Your Life

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
It might have its advantages, but telepathy could cause a lot more problems than it solved. For this list, we’re contemplating what it would be like if everyone in the world had the power to read minds, and how such an ability would likely destroy your life. WatchMojo counts down the 10 Ways Mind Reading Would Ruin Your Life.

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Script written by Nick Spake

10 Ways Mind Reading Would Ruin Your Life

It might have its advantages, but telepathy could cause a lot more problems than it solved. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Ways MindReading Would Ruin Your Life.

For this list, we’re contemplating what it would be like if everyone in the world had the power to read minds, and how such an ability would likely destroy your life.

#10: Ethical & Legal Dilemmas

It’s estimated that between two to five percent of prisoners in the US are wrongfully convicted. That’s somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000 people! If reading a suspect’s mind were a practical option, irrefutable evidence would be but a brain scan away. Courtroom trials could quickly become a thing of the past, replaced by immediate on-the-spot sentences. However, ethical hurdles turn this idealistic reality into something much more morally complex. In the case of law enforcement, at what point would it be permissible to pry into someone innermost thoughts, and would it be possible to regulate telepathy at all? The innocent until proven guilty approach could completely disappear without the need to collect evidence or build a case.

#9: Fewer Jobs

If the truth were served to us on a silver platter, lawyers would essentially be unnecessary, and they aren’t the only ones who’d need a new career path. Rather than turning to private detectives, mindreaders could merely do their own sleuthing. Law enforcement in general would be greatly altered in a world where physical evidence was mostly irrelevant - meaning fewer police officers. Teaching positions could also dwindle, since students could just peer into their minds. Would we even need schools? Be prepared for all of your favorite quiz shows to be cancelled, putting the host and crews out of jobs. Oh, and those so-called “psychics” you always see at carnivals might as well throw out their crystal balls.

#8: Spoilers Everywhere

Whether it’s that book you’ve been meaning to read, or a TV show on your watch-list, falling behind on popular entertainment puts you at risk of having the big twist spoiled. Fortunately, we can typically avoid spoilers by staying off social media and covering our ears at the watercooler. Mind reading would make us all more susceptible, however. People may be able to keep their mouths shut, but it’s hard to resist thinking about what happened on last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones.” If a story is defined by its surprise ending, it’d be impossible to recommend it to a friend without giving everything away. Thus, films like “The Sixth Sense,” “Psycho,” and “Citizen Kane” would lose much of their impact.

#7: No More Lies . . . Even the Good Kind

Lying would be pointless in this alternate reality, which would probably be more of a curse than a blessing. Sometimes, honesty IS the best policy, but not always. If you want to throw a loved one a surprise party or catch them off-guard with a special gift on Christmas morning, the cat won’t stay in the bag for long. In more extreme conditions, lying can be necessary for survival. Had the Nazis been able to read minds for instance, they would likely have rounded up even more victims, with efforts to hide or flee the country using false documentation completely impossible.

#6: Brutal First Dates

People rarely put all of their cards on the table during a first date, but if we could read each other’s minds, we’d have to. One might argue that it’s be best to learn as much as possible about a potential partner upfront, in order to better avoid wasted time or heartbreak. Learning too much about someone too quickly however could doom a relationship before it was given a chance. Since virtually every relationship requires compromise and growth, the slow burn of getting to know a person is more likely to lead to a healthy bond. Even with telepathy, first impressions could only tell us so much.

#5: Relationship Problems

Let’s say that you did get past the first date, and eventually settled down with someone. No matter how well you two got along, it’s highly doubtful you’d be compatible 24/7. Couples are bound to have disagreements from time to time, which can lead to feelings of envy, disgust, and resentment. Often, it’s advisable to talk about these feelings rather than ignore them. Since some negative feelings can be fleeting, though, sometimes it’s better to just take a deep breath and move on. However, that could prove impossible in a relationship where both people can peer into the other’s psyche. Letting the little things go could prove exceedingly difficult, meaning petty disagreements could rumble on for weeks.

#4: Political Turmoil

In a world where we could read minds, every politician’s personal agenda and and plans would be instantly clear. While this would theoretically help us to select the most qualified and trustworthy candidates, knowing too much could ultimately backfire. Not only could we forget secret ballots come election day, we could also give up on national secrecy and security. There’d be no such thing as classified information. In the absence of confidentially, chaos would rule. Telepathy could also easily fuel tyranny the world over, as the mother of all methods to target political opponents and control the masses.

#3: No More Privacy

In our world of social media, smartphones, and state surveillance, privacy in general is already at risk. Telepathy would officially tear down whatever walls still remain, leaving us all extra vulnerable. Instead of just being judged for our words and actions, we’d be primarily judged for our thoughts, even the impulsive, irrational, or unpleasant ones. If somebody merely thought something construed as offensive, inappropriate, or unethical, it could change everyone else’s perception of them. There’s a fine line between thinking something and sharing it out loud, but that line would cease to exist in this new reality.

#2: We’d All Be Desensitized

Throughout history, sex, violence, and profanity have always sparked controversy. With censorship becoming less strict than it once was and the internet giving everyone a voice, however, you could argue that it’s become harder to shock people in this day and age. Perhaps a world without any filters whatsoever would cause us to become completely desensitized. In due course, people might be deprived of empathy and the ethical restraint that keeps keep society in check. While freedom of speech is important to preserve, it’s also vital to consider how our actions – and thoughts – can impact those around us.

#1: Misplaced Confidence

Just because somebody can read minds doesn’t necessarily mean they have all the answers. Due to language barriers, thoughts could still get lost in translation. Telepathy would also prove unreliable if someone were in denial of the truth, or suffering from a mental illness. People might even be able to purposely think false thoughts in order to throw others off-track. What seems like a foolproof way to get every fact could actually just lead to gross inaccuracies and misinformation. By placing all of our faith in telepathy, the world could ironically become a LESS trustworthy place.


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