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Content Review: The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton - Reading Teen: Parental Book Reviews
Please leave this field empty. Skip to content One Thousand Mindreaders was a year-long collaborative artwork during which the artist Stuart Nolan trained one thousand new mindreaders. Groups of up any size can take part and no drawing skills are required. Participants require tables they can comfortably draw on.
Seeing that it was evidently their idea of etiquette to leave it to strangers to open conversation, I addressed them in English, but failed to elicit any response beyond deprecating smiles. I then accosted them successively in the French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese tongues, but with no better results. I began to be very much puzzled as to what could possibly be the nationality of a white and evidently civilized race to which no one of the tongues of the great seafaring nations was intelligible. The oddest thing of all was the unbroken silence with which they contemplated my efforts to open communication with them.
- The Mind Readers - Wikipedia.
- The Islands of the Mind-Readers.
It was as if they were agreed not to give me a clue to their language by even a whisper, for while they regarded one another with looks of smiling intelligence, they did not once open their lips. But if this behavior suggested that they were amusing themselves at my expense, that presumption was negatived by unmistakable friendliness and sympathy which their whole bearing expressed.
A most extraordinary conjecture occurred to me. Could it be that these strange people were dumb? Such a freak of nature as an entire race thus afflicted had never been heard of, but who could say what wonders the unexplored vasts of the Great Southern Ocean might thus far have hid from human ken?https://viptarif.ru/wp-content/torrent/350.php
The Mind Readers, Book 1
Now among the scraps of useless information which lumbered my mind was an acquaintance with the deaf-and-dumb alphabet, and forthwith I began to spell out with my fingers some of the phrases I had already uttered to so little effect. My resort to the sign language overcame the last remnant of gravity in the already profusely smiling group.
The small boys now rolled on the ground in convulsions of mirth, while the grave and reverend seniors, who had hitherto kept them in check, were fain momentarily to avert their faces, and I could see their bodies shaking with laughter. The greatest clown in the world never received a more flattering tribute to his powers to amuse than had been called forth by mine to make myself understood.
Naturally, however, I was not flattered, but, on the contrary, entirely discomfited. Angry I could not well be, for the deprecating manner in which all, excepting of course the boys, yielded to their perception of the ridiculous, and the distress they showed at their failure in self-control, made me seem the aggressor.
It was as if they were very sorry for me, and ready to put themselves wholly at my service if I would only refrain from reducing them to a state of disability by being so exquisitely absurd. Certainly this evidently amiable race had a very embarrassing way of receiving strangers. Just at this moment, when my bewilderment was fast verging on exasperation, relief came.
The circle opened, and a little elderly man, who had evidently come in haste, confronted me, and bowing very politely, addressed me in English. His voice was the most pitiable abortion of a voice I had ever heard. With some difficulty I was, however, able to follow him pretty nearly. I was sent for as soon as you were discovered, but being at some distance, I was unable to arrive until this moment. I regret this, as my presence would have saved you embarrassment. My countrymen desire me to intercede with you to pardon the wholly involuntary and uncontrollable mirth provoked by your attempts to communicate with them.
You see, they understood you perfectly well, but could not answer you.
Thousands remain trapped between life and death. Three scientists are working to free them.
Is it possible that you are the only man among them who has the power of speech? Again it appeared that, quite unintentionally, I had said something excruciatingly funny, for at my speech there arose a sound of gentle laughter from the group, now augmented to quite an assemblage, which drowned the plashing of the waves on the beach at our feet. Even the interpreter smiled.
You must know that these are the islands of the mind-readers.
The Mind Readers, Book 1
Such were the circumstances of my introduction to this extraordinary people. The official interpreter being charged by virtue of his office with the first entertainment of shipwrecked members of the talking nations, I became his guest, and passed a number of days under his roof before going out to any considerable extent among the people.
My first impression had been the somewhat oppressive one that the power to read the thoughts of others could only be possessed by beings of a superior order to man. It was the first effort of the interpreter to disabuse me of this notion. It appeared from his account that the experience of the mind-readers was a case simply of a slight acceleration from special causes of the course of universal human evolution, which in time was destined to lead to the disuse of speech and the substitution of direct mental vision on the part of all races. This rapid evolution of these islanders was accounted for by their peculiar origin and circumstances.
Some three centuries before Christ, one of the Parthian kings of Persia, of the dynasty of the Arsacidae, undertook a persecution of the soothsayers and magicians in his realms. These people were credited with supernatural powers by popular prejudice, but in fact were merely persons of especial gifts in the way of hypnotizing, mind-reading, thought-transference, and such arts, which they exercised for their own gain. Too much in awe of the soothsayers to do them outright violence, the king resolved to banish them, and to this end put them, with their families, on ships and sent them to Ceylon.
When, however, the fleet was in the neighborhood of that island, a great storm scattered it, and one of the ships, after being driven for many days before the tempest, was wrecked upon one of an archipelago of uninhabited islands far to the south where the survivors settled. Naturally the posterity of parents possessed of such peculiar gifts had developed extraordinary psychical powers. Having set before them the end of evolving a new and advanced order of humanity, they had aided the development of these powers by a rigid system of stirpiculture .
The result was that after a few centuries mind-reading became so general that language fell into disuse as a means of communicating ideas. For many generations the power of speech still remained voluntary, but gradually the vocal organs had become atrophied, and for several hundred years the power of articulation had been wholly lost. Infants for a few month after birth did, indeed, still emit inarticulate cries, but at an age when in less advanced races these cries began to be articulate, the children of the mind-readers developed the power of direct mental vision, and ceased to attempt to use the voice.
The fact that the existence of the mind-readers had never been found out by the rest of the world was explained by two considerations.
In the first place, the group of islands was small, and occupied a corner of the Indian Ocean quite out of the ordinary track of ships. In the second place, the approach to the islands was rendered so desperately perilous by terrible currents and the maze of outlying rocks and shoals that it was next to impossible for any ship to touch their shores save as a wreck.
Apart from motives of humanity, the mind-readers made strenuous efforts to rescue shipwrecked persons, for from them alone through the interpreters could they obtain information of the outside world. Little enough this proved when, as often happened, the sole survivor of a shipwreck was some ignorant sailor, who had no news to communicate beyond the latest varieties of forecastle blasphemy.
My hosts gratefully assured me that as a person of some little education they considered me a veritable godsend.
No less a task was mine than to relate to them the history of the world for the past two centuries, and often did I wish, for their sakes, that I had made a more exact study of it. It is solely for the purpose of communicating with shipwrecked strangers of the talking nations that the office of the interpreters exists.
Of course the partial atrophy of the vocal organs, from which even the best interpreters suffer, renders many of the sounds of language impossible for them. None, for instance, can pronounce v , f , or s , and as to the sound represented by th , it is five generations since the last interpreter lived who could utter it. But for the occasional intermarriage of shipwrecked strangers with the islanders it is probable that the supply of interpreters would have long ere this quite failed.
I imagine that the very unpleasant sensations which followed the realization that I was among people who, while inscrutable to me, knew my every thought, were very much what any one would have experienced in the same case. They were very comparable to the panic which accidental nudity causes a person among races whose custom it is to conceal the figure with drapery. I wanted to run away and hide myself.
If I analyzed my feeling, it did not seem to arise so much from the consciousness of any particularly heinous secrets, as from the knowledge of a swarm of fatuous, ill-natured, and unseemly thoughts and half-thoughts concerning those around me and concerning myself, which it was insufferable that any person should peruse in however benevolent a spirit. But while my chagrin and distress on this account were at first intense, they were also very short-lived, for almost immediately I discovered that the very knowledge that my mind was overlooked by others operated to check thoughts that might be painful to them, and that, too, without more effort of the will than a kindly person exerts to check the utterance of disagreeable remarks.
As a very few lessons in the elements of courtesy cures a decent person of inconsiderate speaking, so a brief experience among the mind-readers went far in my case to check inconsiderate thinking. It must not be supposed, however, that courtesy among the mind-readers prevents them from thinking pointedly and freely concerning one another upon serious occasions, any more than the finest courtesy among the talking races restrains them from speaking to one another with entire plainness when it is desirable to do so.
I may fitly mention here, though it was not till later that I fully understood why it must necessarily be so, that one need feel far less chagrin at the complete revelation of his weaknesses to a mind-reader than at the slightest betrayal of them to one of another race.