Wanting to know

Wanting to know

Today someone told me about a story in which the main character had a mind-reading superpower.

I have always thought that reading other people’s minds is a bad idea. What you’re thinking at any given moment is not necessarily reflective of how you actually feel, or what you care about, or what you will end up thinking after some time. I would rather pay attention to what people say and do, and not worry about what they think.

This reminded me of a conversation I once had with a friend. I think about this often.

We started out talking about affairs. I said if it was a one-time thing, I would not want to know. She said she absolutely would want to know. Then we started asking each other about all sorts of scenarios. Would you want to know the sex of your baby? What if you could know what people really think of you? What if you could see into the future? Know whether you would have children and how many? Know who you would marry and how it would end up? Know how and when you would die? For each one, I answered that I would not want to know, and she answered that she would.

All of which made me think that maybe wanting-to-know is a character trait, and you either have it or you don’t.

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