Previous - this entry written on October 24, 2007 at 4:21 am - Next
An episode of Torchwood got me thinking about humanity, humans as a species, etc. This particular episode involved a pendant that allowed one of the members of Torchwood to hear peoples' thoughts - that's all I'll say about it as more details would likely be considered spoilers - and toward the end that character was somewhat upset because she'd seen the unpleasantness that lurks in the minds of most humans. She was jollied out of her depression somewhat and for pretty good reasons, but there was one major reason that was completely left out and that I think is worth putting into words.
Our thoughts can be horrible. Cruel, vicious, petty, vindictive, rude, and embarassing, things we would be ashamed to have others know, so many thoughts each day that would cause anger and unpleasantness if we spoke them aloud. Everyone has these thoughts, everyone, every day, even more often than we consciously realize. Our thoughts Just Aren't Nice.
The thing is, we don't speak them. We recognize that they are inappropriate, unpleasant, bad, aweful, and so we are silent. It's been said that animals are more honest than people, that they don't lie, and yes, animals do tend to show what they're thinking all the time rather than hiding any of it. Sometimes that's a good thing, but sometimes it's not. One of the reasons humans are worthwhile is simply because we have the ability to make other peoples' days better simply by keeping quiet. We understand that our instinctive reactions and our uncontrolled emotions can hurt those around us even if we don't intend to hurt them, and so we take care to think before we speak.
If uber-advanced aliens ever do come to Earth and look for reasons to help us rather than wipe us out, I think this is a big one. Humans can be very empathic, sensing the weaknesses in others, the things they wouldn't want pointed out, the things that would hurt them to hear... and we not only CAN but we DO try not to say those things, to exploit those weaknesses. Sure, not everyone is nice, and we're not nice all the time, but we try, we know HOW to be nice. It's a characteristic that is as important to our evolution and development as a species as our opposable thumbs and willingness to kill.
It's also what scares us when the idea of telepathy is brought up. If someone was capable of reading our minds... *shudder* ...it's aweful to even imagine. If you get the chance, read "Catspaw" by Joan D Vinge sometime. It talks about this in greater depth and with better words than I've found so far.
I don't even know why I felt this was important to say, it just... ehh. It felt important, is all there is.
Gonna go sleep now, got to get up in three hours to get a root canal.
*waves at the also-sleeping Torian*
Hehe... and puppy, I hope you're enjoying the girl you brought over. I'm enjoying the thought of it; not as much as I'm enjoying the thought of the times it's been a boy you brought over, of course. *wink*
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