Is sharing thoughts really better than speaking? Some Betazed officials are starting to disagree.
Many of us have come to the realisation that sensing and listening to what others think and feel is a far easier way to communicate ideas rather than having to compress them into sentences and sounds–a language for children and off-worlders. But like any complex thing, there are disadvantages to telepathy as well.
Quite frequently, telepathic communication will seem to “leave people out” of conversations, a resulting desolate and confused feeling emanating from whoever isn’t as skilled as the rest of us. This can sometimes leave the conversation more bitter than one would hope. Sometimes these controlled private conversations can be a good thing, such as during the dreadful time of Betazed’s occupation by the Dominion. However, most of those who end up feeling disregarded in this way are our wonderful Betazoid youth who are still gaining their telepathic abilities and learning how the universe works. At times we want to protect them, leave out the messy details, but some consider this to be as bad as lying. By no means should we teach a daughter or son of Betazed, even subconsciously, that this action is okay.
On the other hand, there are clear advantages to telepathic communication. It is just far more simple to share our thoughts rather than put them into words. We can describe something such as a rose and its thorns with far more simplicity, and explain those feelings that are so complex there aren’t words for them in Federation Standard. We use telepathy when we won’t hear a shout, and in times when one may be busy eating or breathing. Not only is telepathy simple, it’s also convenient.
So why are we reconsidering if there are so many good things about our “special powers”? Betazed nobility is also torn on the subject. Daughter Deexila Etraax of the Second House heavily prefers telepathy over verbal communication and uses such whenever possible. She stated (telepathically), “How I or others commune is none of your business. One may use their voice whenever they deem fit.”
Other Daughters are speaking to each other verbally despite the ability to telepathically communicate. They say this is to make Betazed more welcoming to Tourism and to become more active members of the Federation. Perhaps they are right, and that converting our thoughts into soundwaves is the way of the future. In our society of “Naked Truth,” there should be no reason to keep information from someone. So why are we so hesitant to place our thoughts – however edited they might be – into the world for those around to hear?
As published in Rogue magazine, Issue SD239809