This idiom, an innocuous way of enticing one to reveal his/her thoughts is about to lose its age-old charm in a way impossible to apprehend, appraise or avert. This is happening at a time when we are subjected to Phishing, Hacking, Hijacking and Morphing, and are tracked through Smartphone cams without warning.
'Cutting edge technologies' have always been double-edged swords. The 'Speech-to-Text' feature in Smartphones, for example, added a new dimension to the way we communicate. Now, close on its heels, comes a 'Thought-to-Text' programme with the noble intention of helping speech-impaired paralytic patients convey their thoughts. Akin to a 'Thinking Cap', this wearable gadget automatically converts into readable text, any thought that normally precedes our utterances. A marketable version may still be years away because of the difficulty in accessing thoughts without surgical implants. But it is only a matter of time, before we fall directly on the second edge of this technological sword!
What is grave, is the concept's all-pervasive ability to 'eavesdrop', and its potential to rip off the last and most sacred fig-leaf of our personal privacy. Research studies put the number of thoughts occurring in a normal human brain at around 6000 in a day. (Now, don't start counting! You might end up like those jokers in Akbar's court who asked Birbal “how many stars are there in the sky?”, and were told “as many as the hair on your heads!”).
For the sake of sanity, decency, respect and relevance, we have so far been able to decide what to talk and what not to. Credit it to our judgement, discretion or wisdom. It has helped us preserve and promote our personal attributes and equations.
Imagine the consequences, if every wanted and unwanted thought is laid threadbare for others to read!
"Our thoughts are private to protect others not ourselves because people don't have the ability to handle what you really think about them."
- Morena Baloyi