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world wide therapy

Riki's picture

It was interesting to watch our dialogue with Chorost because we didn’t read the whole book so it seemed like we were taking away a message he didn’t intend. We seemed to be focused on the idea of putting the internet in our brains and how potentially damaging that constant access might be. Though I haven’t read the whole book, I suspect he was proposing the idea of connecting minds to each other, not to the internet. So humanity would grow closer because people would literally be sharing their thoughts and emotions as they experience them. The saying “to walk a mile in your shoes” would become obsolete. With this in mind, I was wondering if a connection of minds would be effective for talk therapy. I think part of the therapeutic power/process is for someone to verbalize their perceptions of their world and themselves, so wouldn’t a direct mental connection between therapist and client damage that part of the process? Another issue is that sometimes a client is not ready to talk about or even think about a particularly distressing event, and so a connection between minds could push the client to address their past events too quickly and actually worsen their psychological distress. However, Chorost did say that people would be able to control how much they would share… but I wonder if people would have to sign a release for therapy, saying that they grant their therapist full access to their minds. Would this therapy be more effective?




aybala50's picture

Interesting thought

Riki, I never made the connection you made with Chorost's ideas and therapy. Personally, though he said that we would be able to control what we wanted to share etc., the connection itself would create the possibility of someone hacking into my brain, wouldn't it? At the moment, whether I am seeing a therapist, talking to a friend, or just having thoughts, I can keep what is in my mind, in my thoughts to myself. You pose great questions about the effect of this mental connection to others on therapy, however, my mind is still stuck on the possibility of it being hacked. I agree that often people are just not READY to share something and speeding up this process can be damaging. So, we have control over what we share. I don't agree with this. I think that I have control over what I share now, but if this connection between minds were made into reality, just as someone figured out how to hack the internet, the same thing would eventually be possible with minds. I am terrified by the thought of my mind being hacked and my thoughts, feelings, fears and everything I ever even imagine or dream being available to the world.  

vgaffney's picture

"Reading" another's mind

 I had a similar thought following our conversation with Chorost.  I was very intrigued by the enhanced interaction and interconnection that seemed to be the goal of such a technological innovation (giving human brains constant access to the internet). Overall, I very much enjoyed listening to the aspects of the conversation revolving around the notion of communication. Admittedly, when I first read the sections of the book I was a bit wary of such close interconnection between minds. However, after hearing the advantages of modern technological innovations—email, instant messaging, facebook etc—I became more acclimated to the idea. Many people, mostly the older generation, are still adverse to these new practices of communication. However, this resistance of the new and unknown is understandable and, as Chorost pointed out, consistent with humans’ history with technological advancement. As he pointed out, each new technological advancement has always been met with opposition and resistance, but in time individuals have learned to adapt.  I’m still a bit unclear, however, on where exactly the line is drawn for this potential method of communication. It’s clear that the communication which Chorost suggests is aimed at bringing humans even closer together, bridging the current gaps in communication. However, he also mentioned in the book that humans will never be able to read each others’ minds: “It will never be possible to experience the world exactly the way another brain does” (13).  I still have some lingering confusion and don’t know exactly how to reconcile the notion of having access to another’s emotions and thoughts with this statement that reading minds will never be possible.  Is the suggestion implicit here that we would have access to others’ thoughts and emotions objectively—almost like a data stream—but would not glean the sensation of the subjective experience itself? I guess I’m still having trouble understanding what exactly such access to others’ thoughts and emotions would mean and what the implications or consequences might be.  Having access to another’s thoughts and emotions still seems to me awfully close to “reading” another’s private thoughts and emotions, even if it is only an objective account. 

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