On Disastrous Effects of Reading Minds of Others

December 2, 2014

A few days ago, Robert again “read my mind”.  At this point, I will write without quotation marks and state plainly, “Robert read my mind.” He was supposed to answer a simple”yes and no” question.  Very simple.  I am sure he was capable of providing correct “yes” response.  I was so sure, that I dared to THINK  “NO”, believing that THIS TIME my thinking would not affect Robert’s reasoning.

But Robert answered “NO” .

We read one or two sentences prior to the question.  They were SOOOO simple. The question was simple and the answer was obvious.

Still, I KEPT THINKING, “NO” and Robert followed with “NO”.

I asked again, covering my mouth.  I knew that all too often Robert gets clue from watching my face.  I kept thinking “No” and Robert followed with “NO”.

I let some time pass before returning to the same question again.  Meantime I asked similar question while Robert and I were busy folding laundry.  Robert answered correctly.

We returned to the worksheet.  I asked again.  I covered my face again, leaving only eyes uncovered.  I kept thinking, “NO”.  I felt the confusion growing on Robert’s face.  Still, he felt compelled to follow my thinking.  He said. “NO”.

I am not gloating about Robert’s ability to read my mind.  I am deeply disturbed by that skill.  I have been trying for almost 20 years now, to extinguish that “talent”.  Almost 20 years ago, I discovered that Robert was answering correctly the questions he didn’t know answer to. He knew, however, what I knew.  I wrote about this phenomenon in two previous posts:  Teaching as Dismantling and ” Unclear on Yes and No, Following Body Language. When he was three, he deduced from unnoticeable to me movements of my arms what was the correct response.  My mind was talking to Robert through my arms.  I noticed that and redesigned the format of asking any questions from that point on.  Then I noticed, that my mind speaks to Robert through the way my mouth is silently shaping itself to produce the sound of the first letter. I kept covering my mouth when asking questions.  But Robert keeps reading my mind in ways, I am not able to even name.

And that is why he is not learning.  The more skillful he becomes in reading my mind, the less motivation he has to rely on his own brain.

He doesn’t use it, he doesn’t trust it at least in the context of our one on one teaching/learning.

“Reading my mind” is not a good skill, it is a barrier to learning and to some degree functioning efficiently in the world.

It is a problem.


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