My latest speech (March, 2012) follows the theme of mental programs I started with Buttons. Once again, this a topic that cannot be adequately addressed in 8-10 minutes, the recommended time for an after dinner talk (The Entertaining Speaker, project 5).
In this speech I reference an editorial from Toastmaster magazine, in which the author implies that a person can put feelings of offense in other people through his actions. The most highly educational part of this speech was going back and researching that article and rereading it. It turns out that my recollection of that article was highly flawed. I had synthesized a memory of that article based on a fusion of several articles and news reports at the time. I was attributing to an article something that was never said! (I won't link to the other articles, as they will definitely push buttons for many people.) The lessons? Never trust your memory, and do your research.
(hands to temples...close eyes) Seriously? None? Let me try again. How many telepaths do we have here today? (hands to temples...close eyes) OK, just one. Thank you for being honest.
By now some of you are probably scared. A telepath in our midst? Be afraid, be very afraid.
Let’s face it. There are plenty of people who fear telepaths. Many of these people believe themselves to be victims of telepaths. These people are convinced that somebody is poking around inside their heads and making them do things, think thoughts and feel emotions. They might not admit that a telepath did it, but essentially that’s what they are claiming; somebody is putting strange thoughts and feelings into their heads.
I have a friend who recently had a fight with his girlfriend. I even heard fragments of the argument. There were issues about not showing up on time, lack of commitment and overly controlling people, among others. Later he told me his girlfriend made him angry. Apparently this telepathic girlfriend managed to implant thoughts of anger into his mind. I had to wonder why she would do this. Why would a telepath put thoughts of anger into my friends mind? What’s her motive? I could not think of one. On the other hand, I had another friend who said his girlfriend made him very happy. Aha! Perhaps there is a motive for inserting thoughts of happiness. Perhaps she’s buttering him up for something, like an engagement ring. This makes much more sense, at least on the surface.
I also had a friend who said his new 65” TV made him happy. I haven’t figured that one out yet at all.
Readers of Toastmasters Magazine might remember an editorial several years ago about how to apologize like a celebrity. The editorial came on the heels of the revelations of the marital problems of a famous golf pro. Apparently, if you extrapolate from the article, celebrities are the greatest telepaths of all! If you follow the rest of the news media, you would discover that after this golf pro's extra-marital dalliances became public, he made the whole world offended. Wow! Celebrities can insert thoughts of offense into everybody! Who would have thought a famous golf pro was a telepath?
Well, not everybody. When I learned that this golf pro was playing the field, my thoughts were a little different. I thought, “here’s a man who worked hard to be at the top of his profession and he’s leveraging his fame and fortune to be a playboy. Woohoo! Go Tiger!” (This might be why I’m not married.)
With all these telepaths running rampant, surely havoc will be wreaked upon us. At the very least, we would have no secrets. Our bank accounts would be raided with the knowledge of our passwords and PINs. Our most intimate details of our lives would be public. Remember that embarrassing thing that happened to you in high school after gym class? Or how the hottest girl in high school laughed at you? All public knowledge. (Now that I think about it, Facebook, Twitter and youTube make all this information public anyway, so I guess these are bad examples.)
At the very worst, telepaths would be planting ideas in our minds; we would follow subtle commands surreptitiously added to our subconscious. We might end up walking down the street and suddenly have the uncontrollable urge to vote Republican. Perhaps even regimes would rise and fall. Maybe petty South American dictators would get telepathically induced cancer. If you watch B-grade sci-fi movies you might even suspect worse. Have you seen Scanners, where telepaths seek to rule the world? Or Firestarter, where Drew Barrymore can start fires with her mind? It seems pretty obvious that telepaths are to be reviled and feared.
I'm here to explain that nothing could be further from the truth. Read our minds? Steal our secrets? There's another side to the story. Telepaths know the real you.
They know your fears, like how my friend is deathly afraid of jelly, or any substance that wiggles, for no apparent reason. (Telepaths know the reason too.)
They know your insecurities, like worrying that your spouse will leave you because you put on a few pounds, or your desperate need for approval.
They know your pain, like how you felt when your first dog died under a car.
They know your loves; they know your motivations; they know your yearnings.
A telepath knows that when you're being annoying, you're responding to events and insecurities that shaped your life. They know that when you snap at somebody it's because you interpreted a poorly phrased comment as an insult. They know that when you come home from work in a bad mood every night it's because you hate your job, not because you hate your wife. They know everything you think or do has a very good reason, at least for you.
If anybody knew you that well, they would never judge you, let alone want to hurt you. Telepaths are really good people for the very reason that they just know you.
I think a lot of people would love to have somebody else know them that well. We’d love to know somebody that deeply and have an ongoing relationship with them. What would you do to have that relationship with your significant other?
A telepath would be so touched by the humanity of, well, all humanity, that the telepath would be incapable of acting against you. I think there’s nothing to fear from telepaths.
Make no mistake. There are lots of people trying to put ideas into your heads. We call them marketers and politicians, but not telepaths. I can’t speak for their level of evil though. And of course, there are the people who are convinced they know exactly what you’re thinking, without a shred of telepathic ability. I call them the telepath wannabes. These people are downright annoying and evil in their own way; they deserve their own speech.
Let’s go back to the people who appeared to be victims of telepaths…how do we explain those thoughts being put into their minds?
Wouldn’t it make more sense for the telepathic girlfriends to just implant the ideas “we’re breaking up” or “spend all your money on me”? For that matter, it makes a lot more sense for a telepathic Tiger Woods to plant ideas like “Go Tiger!” in everybody’s minds, not just mine.
Did a golf pro plant thoughts of offense in the collective minds of the public? Were the girls telepathic? I doubt it. I don’t think my friends, or the sports world, were victims of telepaths at all, they just acted as if they were.
Perhaps they’ve missed an essential point. I think they came up with the thoughts and feelings themselves.
Perhaps in reality these people were running programs in their minds; programs that were ingrained in them as they grew from a child. A psychologist might call this conditioning. One program said “when fighting with girlfriend, the correct response is anger”. Another said, “when girlfriend hugs me, switch on happy thoughts”. Yet another said, “when public figure goes against my personal morality, switch on feelings of disgust and indignation and criticize the public figure." My friends, and all the people supposedly offended by Tiger Woods, were creating thoughts based on programs in their minds! What a concept! A person generates his or her own thoughts and feelings based on mental programming and conditioning! Nobody else is responsible for the thoughts, not even the media, and especially not an inanimate TV. I can control my own thoughts, if I can control my own programming and overcome my conditioning.
We’re all conscious, self-aware entities, and with a little practice, we can overcome our programming. Let’s install a new program for ourselves, an overriding executive program. 1) We will not assume other people give us our thoughts; 2) we will be aware of own thoughts and our programming; 3) we will be personally responsible for how we think and feel; and 4) we will pass $100 bills over to my seat.