By Robert Lynch
Ever wonder what colour-blind people actually see? I do all the time. I can sympathise, but I cannot empathise exactly, I’m not colour-blind. My eyes work the way most people’s do, but unlike most people, I was born thought-blind.
The telepathic region in my brain didn’t develop when I was a child. I cannot hear other’s thoughts, and they cannot hear me.
I know the statistics. Around 0.01% of people are born thought-blind. 1 in 10,000. Comparatively 1 in 12 men is colour-blind; I dodged that bullet, I guess. But if I were colour-blind, I would know a bunch of people who could empathise. On average, each person knows 150 other people “well” i.e. we personally connect with 150 people. 50-50 male-female split makes that number include 75 men (on average, of course) 6.25 of them who would be colour-blind. I imagine that I know some men who are colour-blind. For women, only 1 in 200 are colour-blind, so the average person would know 0.375 colour-blind women. Maybe I know a colour-blind woman, but that stats aren’t in favour of it.
But you can’t tell if someone’s colour-blind. Maybe you’d notice that they struggled to do a colour related task, but who is paying such good attention that you would pick up on that? No, if you know that someone is colour-blind they probably told you.
I don’t have to tell anyone that I’m thought-blind. Everyone around me can’t hear my thoughts. I stand out in a room and constantly get weird looks. People are trying to figure out what I’m thinking. As though they can hear my thoughts if only they stare hard enough at my forehead. It turns out staring doesn’t help. Sometimes people try to decipher my body language, or my iris response, or some other archaic method of reading intensions. Those systems are crude at best, and in a world where they have been obsolete for many generations of telepaths, no longer work. The body language that telepaths express is markedly different to my own. I know. I’ve been watching them all my life.
I make people nervous. Just to be around me. I am a reminder of the people that we once were.
Behind my back people call me a liar. Because I can lie and they can’t tell. That works both ways, I can’t tell if a telepath is being dishonest either. In my experience, that novelty drives many telepaths to lie to me. Not necessarily malicious lies. But they are quickly caught up in the thrill of being duplicitous. I might be called a liar, but I do my best not to lie. It’s one thing to be assumed to be a liar; when you confirm it people don’t forgive you. Our brains don’t always know when we are telling ourselves lies though. That happens with telepaths too; they can delude themselves just as much as anyone else. But their intent is known to all other telepaths. My intent can never be known, so it is always assumed to be for the worst of intentions.
I know they don’t mean to treat me like they do. They are not evil people; they just don’t understand.
I am going to leave this place and find others like me. Maybe I can fit in with others who have experienced life like me. Maybe they wonder about colour-blindness too.