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Old April 22 2010, 10:06 PM   #1
Mr. Laser Beam
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Is there privacy on Betazed?

Think about it. In a world populated by telepaths, how could you ever be certain that your thoughts aren't constantly being read? Would you willingly set foot on such a world, knowing that?

Has there ever been any indication (onscreen or in print) that this danger wouldn't be real? One would think - hope - that Betazoids would never read someone's mind without their consent, but has this been confirmed?

I mean, look at Lwaxana Troi for example. She is friendly enough (maybe too much ) but I seem to remember a few times where she poked into people's minds unprovoked. Just ask Picard.

I'm just guessing here that a native Betazoid can tell if another is reading their mind, but there's no indication that any other race (like a human) could. If one of us sets foot on that planet, a Betazoid could read your mind and you'd never know it.
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Old April 22 2010, 10:16 PM   #2
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Is there privacy on Betazed?

Hmm, I suspect Betazoids commonly scan each other from time to time, maybe on reflex, or pick up surface thoughts, etc, and so they probably have no sense of "privacy" in regards to everyday casual thinking. Their telepathy is apparently natural to the species, so they'd have developed comfort with it. To a Betazoid, I guess basic thoughts along the lines of "I'm hungry, where's that oskoid?", "that's a nice dress, I want one" and "you're an asshole" are public domain, and no-one blinks an eye, even at the last one. But Betazoids clearly have private areas of their minds that aren't open to others- in "Dark Page", the Cairn don't understand the concept, but Deanna says it's normal and healthy for Betazoids to have areas "locked off". If someone were to try and "break in", push too far and start rummaging around in really private matters, other Betazoids would pick up on it or the victim's sense of violation, and act accordingly. It might well be a crime, and certainly a taboo, to go that deep.

So, I'd say they have privacy, but it's not like human concepts of privacy. A human might well be uncomfortable on Betazed- and might make Betazoids uncomfortable with his/her constant "oh my god, did they sense that?!" angst and the radiation of shame and embarassment all the time.
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Old April 22 2010, 10:24 PM   #3
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Is there privacy on Betazed?

I doubt that a highly telepathic culture would have recognizable concepts of privacy *with each other* but you'd think that they would make allowances for visitors. It would be unthinkable otherwise. Other species would never set foot on Betazed unless they thought that the natives (who, if Lwaxana is any indication, seem friendly enough) would respect their 'personal space'.

So I guess that since Betazed apparently enjoys peaceful relationships with its neighbors and is frequently visited by outsiders, then they logically MUST respect the privacy of those around them (those who aren't Betazoids anyway), because they couldn't function if this was not the case.
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Old April 22 2010, 10:29 PM   #4
Pauln6
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Re: Is there privacy on Betazed?

Betazoids believe in honesty and openess so they struggle with the concept of privacy. I hate betazoids.

Telepathy in B5 was limited and interesting. Betazoid telepathy just gets in the way of the plot unless you ingore it. Why couldn't Nero have had a grudge against Betazed? Whyyyyyyy?
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Old April 22 2010, 10:31 PM   #5
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Is there privacy on Betazed?

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I doubt that a highly telepathic culture would have recognizable concepts of privacy *with each other* but you'd think that they would make allowances for visitors. It would be unthinkable otherwise. Other species would never set foot on Betazed unless they thought that the natives (who, if Lwaxana is any indication, seem friendly enough) would respect their 'personal space'.

So I guess that since Betazed apparently enjoys peaceful relationships with its neighbors and is frequently visited by outsiders, then they logically MUST respect the privacy of those around them (those who aren't Betazoids anyway), because they couldn't function if this was not the case.
Good points. Yes, you're right; the willingness of outsiders to trust Betazoids is interesting, no matter how pleasant the Betazoids are. In fact, Betazed hosts a regular trade conference, apparently; we saw humans, Zakdorn, Bolians, Klingons, Selay, Algolians and others all gathered there. The Betazoids would have a massive advantage over anyone they're negotiating with, yet everyone seems comfortable- I don't know, maybe the Betazoids are serving a role similar to the commercial telepaths in "Babylon Five"? And their honesty would be a virtue there, so rather than fearing or mistrusting their openness, other cultures value it? Sure, they might be fearful of "leaking" important personal or business-related information, but if Betazoids have such a reputation for honesty, maybe they see it as a minor risk?
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Old April 22 2010, 10:57 PM   #6
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Re: Is there privacy on Betazed?

I don't think one would expect Betazoids to be able to read my thoughts, unless they were also fluent in English. Sure, they'd be able to tell if I were tired or angry or hungry or horny, but 1)telepathy is a minor advantage in this regard and 2)it's not detailed information that I can only bring up and think about as linguistic objects.

This is probably why Lwaxana is such an albatross, because she is fluent in English.

I do sort of agree that they never really seemed to want to explore telepathy as a concept instead of as a plot device, which is much less interesting.
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Old April 22 2010, 11:11 PM   #7
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Re: Is there privacy on Betazed?

Couldn't a Betazoid learn to lie in their minds just as effectively as Earthlings do in words?

I wonder if they have Theater on Betazed, with Actors who can make an audience of telepaths believe in the thoughts and feelings of a character, even though it's just acting.
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Old April 22 2010, 11:43 PM   #8
Volvic
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Re: Is there privacy on Betazed?

I imagine that some privacy does exist on Betazed although not a whole lot when it comes to the native population in general. Maybe Betazoids are more mindful when it comes to visitors and if someone feels uncomfortable then they don't read their mind.

I've got nothing to back it up, but I always got the impression that other races think of Betazed as a planet of harmless, well-meaning hippies. Unless their name is Suder or they're sociopathic in general , I reckon that most Betazoids would be a bit more careful when dealing with off-worlders.

Hmmm. This thread makes me wish the shows had gone into more detail about Betazed's culture and how Betazoids' empathic/telepathic powers actually work.

I still say they would have made superb villains.
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Old April 23 2010, 12:16 AM   #9
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Is there privacy on Betazed?

I agree about the Betazoids as villains. Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable around one at all unless I had the mental shielding techniques we've seen at least one Cardassian use. (Dukat was able to deflect a mind-meld, so I would think Betazoid scans would be nothing in comparison.)
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