Tempting as it is, I wouldn’t want to know! There’s a very good reason why we don’t share our every thought and feeling. If we were magically able to read each other’s minds, society would probably collapse. Imagine all the friendships and relationships destroyed. And it’s not that we’re all hypocrites whose perpetual lying alone keeps us together—there are simply too many thoughts and emotions (usually ephemeral and inconsequential) constantly passing through our heads that would not be to the liking of those close to us.

But who knows, maybe if we all became thus transparent, we’d relearn to live with each other, and we’d even find it liberating. We couldn’t accuse or resent anyone for things that had remained hidden before, because we ourselves would be equally “guilty”. That’s extremely unlikely, though: Evolution has shaped our nature to be too predisposed to act and react in certain ways to others, and that would be a strong impediment to our simply adapting to such a new reality as newly enlightened beings, as it were.

Perhaps we’d rapidly evolve a different nature, given the very different selection pressures that such a new environment would entail. Perhaps coalitions of trustworthy individuals would form that would dramatically increase their Darwinians fitness relative to the rest (deceitful and untrustworthy people would be unable to deceive anyone, and could easily be avoided), and after many generation we’d become a great species characterized by peaceful coexistence and altruism. Or perhaps, the better to deceive others, our capacity for self-deception would reach new heights, in which case human society would not be particularly pleasant…

Interested in natural selection, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, science in general, human nature, consciousness, philosophy and ethics.

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