[THE FOUNTAIN]The Dangers of Mind Reading

Home > Opinion > Columns

print dictionary print

[THE FOUNTAIN]The Dangers of Mind Reading

It is said that it is hard to fathom the real minds and intentions of men. This may be why people throughout the world have a deep interest in mind reading. In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a great 14th-century historical novel, Chu-ko Liang, one of the main characters, is able to read the mind of his enemies and control them as he wishes. In magic shows of the Western world, spectators are often intrigued by the feats of clairvoyants.

New Scientist, a renowned science magazine published in England, ran an article recently on mind reading research that included a report on the discovery of a group of brain cells that gives a person this mystical power. A research team of neurophysiologists at Parma University, Italy, discovered the existence of "mirror neurons," assemblies of sensory neurons that respond directly, reflecting other people's thoughts. The article says research on mirror neurons will be the key to revealing the secret behind mind reading. The article includes opinions from academia that speculate on the impact if it would one day be possible to unfold the mystery of mind reading, which has been studied by philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists.

This phenomenon has gained attention across a wide spectrum of society. The TV program "Taejo Wang Kon," about the founder of the Koryo Dynasty, is very popular. Children mimic Kungye, the main character, who is the leader of the state of Later Koguryo, established in north-central Korea. He controls his liege men by telling them that he knows what a person is thinking, so they should do their best to carry out his wishes. This theme has sprung up it the political community, where expressions such as "what does the President have on his mind" is often heard among lawmakers. President Kim Dae-jung has said, "I am paying close attention to everyone's behavior," prompting the opposition to comment that he sounded like Kyungye, the mind reader.

Could it be that Kyungyes are taking over government? Recently, President Kim casually mentioned that smoking is harmful to health. His observation on the obvious spawned political efforts to raise the price of cigarettes again, just four weeks after a price hike. Cigarette lovers are not impressed. They shrugged off the earlier price increase and will likely do so again because they are willing to pay more for their hobby. Still, they are subject to the whims of the mind readers in government who raise cigarette prices and take antismoking measures that treat smokers as criminals at a few words of the president. The administration, guided by efforts to read the ruler's mind, is in danger of becoming riddled with corruption, as is in Taejo Wang Kon, because mind readers, whether they are the rulers or the liege, have no incentive to listen, especially to the governed.

by Lee Kyeung-chul

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now