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If I could read your mind
I used to think that it was unfortunate that humans couldn't communicate telepathically. What a time saver, just think of what you would like to say, and it's been said. Nothing lost in translation as the thought travels from the brain, through the nervous system, vocal cords, then the tongue and mouth. Then there's the even slower movement or written thought. But in recent months, I've experienced what I think might be one of the downfalls that telepathic thought would bring to the Human race. I think we require that filter that makes us take just a little more time to think things through before we present them to the recipient.
Just think about it, how many times during a somewhat heated discussion have you slowed yourself down, and struggled for different words than you were actually thinking in order to maintain civility in the conversation. For instance, in a difficult discussion with your boss you may be thinking "you S.O.B.! You haven't given me a **$%^%*## raise in over a year! Your wife is ugly, and your breath stinks too!" But what you actually end up saying is more like "I think I've shown my value to the company, and I think it's time that you consider giving me a raise." Then maybe the boss slowly ponders the suggestion while nodding a bit, as you reach into your pocket for a Tic-Tac. "Would you like one?" you ask him as you hand him the Tic-Tac box. "By the way, how's your wife and family?" I think if the boss could read your mind, and you could read his, civility would be out the window, along with your raise, your job, and maybe you.
How many times have you written an angry letter to someone only to discover you were out of stamps. Then, after your mad dash to the Post Office, you calm down a bit and write a different letter, or maybe even discard the letter all together.
Recently, I signed on to an online service, and started reading news groups (or bulletin boards) and sending e-mail. E-mail is like typing a letter that you can send for immediate delivery to someone else electronically with no stamp.
A news group is kind of like a bulletin board that people post messages to on certain topics. One can set up their computer to automatically display all of the messages posted to a certain news group. For instance, if you're interested in horses, you could 'subscribe' to a news group where people post messages about horse stuff. You could also post a message of your own on the news group to be read by all who subscribe. It's not exactly like a bulletin board though, let me explain.
A cork bulletin board has informational messages usually formatted to communicate to a broad base of people in a non-offensive manner. There are many people posting to the board, but the format is fairly similar for each posting, and usually regulated by the business or building management that hung the board. Things for sale, events happening, lost pets, apartments for rent, looking for Mr. right, etc....
On a news group however, there are several types of participants with several types of agendas. One must be careful to not make a fool of one's self.
The Information Type
The Gossip Session
The Bomb Thrower
The Powder Keg
I think a 'gossip' has to be a gossip at heart, and a 'bomb thrower' has to be a person driven by conflict, but I think we all are potential 'information types' and, unfortunately, 'powder kegs'.
Lern frum my eckspeeriens
My fingers were flying, as I cranked out a masterpiece of words and wisdom! "Now this.... yes.... I think so..... YES! This will definitely be the definitive word on the subject" I thought to myself, "how could ANYONE argue with kind of logic and understanding?" My keyboard was ON FIRE! I was sure, as I typed on, that my posting would end this discussion for good.
Once finished, I yanked the mouse across the desk, pointed at 'send message' and smacked the clicker down hard, as if to say "read it and weep ........ SUCKERS!"
Then there it was, at the end of the list of postings, was my masterpiece. I thought to myself, "now I'll read what that other fool wrote, and then read my tasty gem." I noticed that on the second read, 'that other fools' posting didn't make me quite as mad as the first time I read it......and maybe, just maybe, I had emphasized a few things that maybe didn't require quite as much 'punch'. But I was still quite satisfied that my posting was 99.9% on track, and couldn't wait to double click it next.
"Here it goes, my big debut in Cyberspace" .......... 'Click' 'Click'
"Your a stupid lunkhed! Ive hear smarter things com e out of monkies but!!!!" etc...
Unfortunately, the rest of my posting didn't reflect quite the same tact and eloquence as these first 2 lines.... not to mention the fact that spelling, grammar, and punctuation kind of went downhill from there. "Gee, this isn't good" I thought, as I cringed and turned red with embarrassment at the thought someone might actually read this festering carbuncle. "No problem, I'll just edit it. Let's see, where's the edit icon". Unfortunately, there was no 'edit' icon. There were also no 'remove message', 'delete message', or 'get rid of that piece of crap that I just sent' icons either. My 'tasty gem' was really a stinking rotten bag of burning doody left on my own doorstep by no one other than myself.
Well, I never returned to that bulletin board to see what the other participants thought of my prose, and I never will. But I did learn some very, very important things. Never respond to a bomb thrower, either positive or negative. Always type a message in your word processor, spell check it, and let it really sink in before you post your immortal, un-editable first impression for everyone to read.