I Think, Therefore I am…. in Trouble

Thinking is defined as, “the process of using one’s mind to consider or reason about something.” The definition brings to mind Rodin’s sculpture of a nude male figure sitting on a rock with his chin resting on one hand while supposedly meditating about some lofty philosophical idea. Some say it was originally intended to depict Dante at the gates of Hades contemplating his celebrated poem. That may be the case, but I suspect he is just trying to remember who he partied with the night before and where the hell he left his clothes.

Raise your hand if you remember where he left his clothes last night.

Women probably find it odd that “The Thinker” statute is male. They tend to believe that men don’t think that often or that deeply. This is not true. Men are always thinking. It’s just that we aren’t always thinking about what we are doing. Or we aren’t mulling over the consequences of our actions, such as when we attach our tongues to frozen objects to see if it will get stuck or when we touch the plate which the waitress has just told us not to touch because it is very hot (all men do this, we consider it a dare). Few of us are in the same league as Aristotle but we do think. We just don’t talk much.

And why do we speak so little? It’s because we don’t want people to know what’s really going on inside our heads. Duh! During the day our thoughts turn (in no particular order) to: work, family, sex, beer, sports, sex, cheeseburgers and sex, sex, sex. Note, we have a lot of impure thoughts.  We don’t want others to know about these thoughts so we don’t talk about them. They say that males think about sex 8,000 times a day which leaves little time for talking anyway.

Men survive by holding their tongues and hiding their emotions. We can control what we say, what we e-mail and what we tweet (well not all of us). But we can’t control our thoughts.

The French philosopher, Rene Descartes, wrote, “I think, therefore I am” which meant that, since he could contemplate things, he must exist. He wrote this in the 17th century before television and the internet when there wasn’t much else to do except meditate about weird philosophical stuff. Thinking may prove we exist but someday just thinking could be problematic.

In the future technology may encroach on our musings. Facebook is developing a computer to brain interface that would allow people to type 100 words per minute just using their thoughts. It is supposed to make us more efficient. I have my doubts. Here is what a memo from Joe in accounting will probably look like using such an interface:

“Income from continuing operations was $1.33 per share. Wow, that new girl in marketing is really hot. The company also recorded the cumulative effect of a, I shouldn’t have had that last cup of coffee, now I have to pee like a racehorse, change in an accounting principle of $.27 per share. My boss is such a douchebag, resulting in, what did my wife ask me to pick up on the way home? Was it milk or beer? I think it was beer, net income of $1.06 per share.”

The typing may be faster but the editing will be a nightmare.

My Boss

I don’t like where Facebook is going with this but the futurist, Elon Musk, really worries me. He has developed Tesla, the electric car, the Hyperloop high speed transportation system, and the SpaceX rocket with which he hopes to colonize Mars. These are amazing inventions (I find his achievements remarkable since I can’t even make my toilet stop running).

However, the mission of his latest enterprise, Neuralink, a human-computer brain interface company, scares the bejesus out of me. The company plans to turn cloud-based artificial intelligence into an extension of our brains. I know where this is headed…. human to human telepathy. Could this be the next step in the evolution of mankind? Men would seldom care what other people are thinking, although it would come in pretty handy during poker games. However, this is a weapon that wives/girlfriends could use with devastating effect.

Imagine walking on the beach with your wife and seeing a beautiful young woman in a skimpy bikini walking toward you. You can try to think about baseball all you want. It isn’t going to work. You are going to get slapped….twice.

Nothing to see here. Just shuffle along.

Fortunately, there are a few anti-telepathy measures that men may be able to employ in the future to keep their minds from being read. Probably the most effective protection would be to wear an aluminum foil hat (aluminum yarmulke if you’re Jewish). It is widely believed that this will shield your brain from mind readers. Only do this after mind reading becomes a real thing, otherwise you will look like an idiot. An alternative defense is to learn and think in an obscure language. I recommend Lemerig which is spoken by only two people in Vanuatu. Learn it and then avoid those two people. Another telepathic barrier you could use is to continually play songs by The Carpenters in your head. This will ensure that no one reads your mind for very long, although you will drive yourself crazy. And finally, you could do what most politicians have done which is to stop thinking entirely.

Hey, Venautu doesn’t look too bad.

Maybe humans will never achieve the power of telepathy but people, especially men, need to be prepared in case we do, or our thoughts could get us into big trouble.

John Wade, a frequent contributor to Unhinged Magazine, is a retired Chief Financial Officer who lives in Wildwood, Missouri.

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published with permission of the author