Taking Tea in the Kasbah

To master all languages or all musical instruments, that is the question. Or rather that was the question in last week’s Would You Rather debate. It was almost a no-contest win again with the linguists far exceeding the musicians by a wide majority.

Personally, I knew my answer as soon as I typed the question last week. I have wanted to be a master of at least one other language than my own native tongue for quite a long time, but to be a master of all languages?


Sign. Me. Up.

For me, being a linguistic master would mean total freedom to travel anywhere and be able to communicate like local with the locals. I’m seriously giddy just thinking of the people I could meet and the deeply rich experiences I could have traveling abroad.

Being able to play any musical instrument would be an amazing gift to have and I’d give just about anything to be a master at the cello, which is, in my opinion, the most beautiful sounding of all instruments. Then again, if the question had been about a gorgeous and super awesome singing voice, I might have been more swayed to go the musical route. Nevertheless, being able to fluently speak all world languages would have still won out for me.

And now, on to this week’s question…

Would you rather

control the emotions of everyone around you

photo credit: Kevin Labianco via photopin cc

photo credit: Kevin Labianco via photopin cc

– OR –

control everyone’s thoughts?

photo credit: Renaud Camus via photopin cc

photo credit: Renaud Camus via photopin cc


Which will it be, fair readers? Would you prefer to be able to manipulate everyone’s emotions? Or are you more interested in total thought control? I’m more than a little curious to see what y’all choose. So please, pull up a cushion, have some tea, and share your thoughts. I promise to not control them. Also, I always love to hear from you.

18 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Would You Rather Question: Thoughts or Emotions?

  1. I guess I’d have to go with the ability to manipulate people’s emotions, but I’d like to think that I would use it very sparingly, and only with the recipient’s permission. I can think of times when it would be helpful to turn someone’s frown upside-down with the power of my mind πŸ™‚

    • What a thoughtful and kind way to use your superpowers, Mike. Major bonus points for you. πŸ™‚

  2. Of the two, I think the ability to control emotions would be the more powerful skill, so I think I’d choose controlling thoughts. Emotions are primal and influence thoughts – I mean, you can repeat any of the many Weight Watchers mantras as often as you like, but if you REALLY feel like eating cake, you’re going to, and likely will feel awful about it afterwards. Controlling people’s thoughts makes you more like a cheerleader than a demigod. Hand me my pompoms, please.

    • I hadn’t thought about it quite this way, but I see what you mean. Controlling a person’s thoughts is more like a nudge in a certain direction. Hmmm… you’ve given me cause to pause and think.

      Unless you’re controlling MY thoughts.

      If you are, I’d like to put in a request for some happier thoughts than the ones I’ve been carrying around today. I’ve got a few suggestions if you need ’em.

  3. I’m going with emotions for two reasons in this purely hypothetical debate:
    1) Influencing emotions is what I aspire to do as writer
    2) One of my main characters in the current WIP has the insane ability to influence emotions and it’s very handy!

    • Good point – as writers we strive to connect with our readers on an emotional level, don’t we? Having that as a superpower of sorts would be very handy, especially when we’re invited to do public readings of our work. πŸ˜‰

  4. This one hits close to home Tami. The Gloria-Richard-Adopt-a-Problem Agency has a horrid habit of taking responsibility for improving others moods, and finding the “AHA” solution for any problem that walks through its polished storefront. Pull out that Psych couch, because I also spent decades of my life feeling as if I “wasn’t good enough.” Can we all spell co-dependent?

    I am going with thoughts. Thoughts, IMHO, control emotions. If we think we can’t do something, it results in an emotion: defiance, regret, defeatism, fear, remorse, shame…

    On the extreme flip-side, if someone thinks they are all-that-jazz-and-more (as in, “better than”), they are likely to feel and express extreme superiority, disdain, narcissism, and (yes) fear…

    Had me the tissue box, Doc. πŸ˜‰

    • Feeling “not good enough”? Check. Feeling responsible for improving the moods of others? Check. I’ll add in “if you just tried harder, then XYZ wouldn’t have happened.”

      You may need to scooch over on the sofa in the therapist’s office. I’m right there with ya.

  5. Really, Tami, where do you dream up this… never mind. On with my answer. I’d rather go the emotions route. Is it because studies show emotions can be influenced, a depressed individual can be injected with positivity by coming in contact with a happy crowd (or vice versa)? Perhaps, but then that would suggest I’m realistic, and then what would I do with all the crazy I’ve stored over the years?
    I wouldn’t want thought control, because if I could control others’ thoughts, that would mean someone else may one day control mine (that bully in the schoolyard thing, someday he (or she) will meet a bigger bully) and I would not like to have my thoughts controlled especially since the person controlling my thoughts could control how I controlled the thoughts of others and what if my controller had it all wrong?
    In other words, do unto others…

    • And you’re wondering how I come up with stuff? πŸ˜‰

      Thought control does sound a bit scary when you put it that way. I’d certainly not want someone else controlling my thoughts which then, in turn, influences how I control another’s thoughts. This feels like it has the makings of a sci-fi movie in here somewhere.

  6. Emotions. Let them think what they will think, even if it is disapprobation. That would be especially FUNNY! Imagine, here is someone who is angry with me and I can make them feel giddy.
    Then they would realize how silly it was of them to be angry with ME and we could both laugh about it πŸ™‚

    • What an interesting spin on the question, Suzanne! My mind is suddenly filled with all kinds of scenarios where it would be hilarious to alter someone’s emotions…

  7. i wonder if you might find a gendered divide in answers to this question. US dominant culture does socialize girls and women (as if that is one side of a false binary) to focus on emotions, while we socialize (boys and men…the other side of the false binary) to focus on thinking and logic. all of this is just me pontificating about the deeply heteronormative gendering of US culture…but back to your question. the answer is thoughts. i already feel nearly unable to walk down a street without feeling the emotions of the people i pass…having responsibility for controlling them would be time consuming and it would wear me out. now…controlling thoughts…that is a less draining activity…something i have a bit more energy for at present.

    • You just raised the IQ factor in the kasbah with your super intelligent comment, pal. I feel smarter just having read it.

      I just perused the comments looking for a gendered divide, but sadly there is only one male commenter and he chose to control emotions. There also seems to be a mixed bag among the women commenters. I think I need a bigger sample. If only I were to get Freshly Pressed on WordPress…

      Controlling thoughts does seem less draining. And a little more clear-cut. You could tell them to think about smurfs and poof! They’d think of smurfs. But there are so many gray areas when considering emotions, like how the person was socialized to interpret them or how they have experienced them in the past.

  8. I’m going to abdicate on this one. I have enough trouble managing my own thoughts and feelings. I don’t have the energy or desire to want to manage anyone else’s. I leave that in the capable hands of y’all. πŸ˜‰

    • I hear ya. It would be rather energy draining and time consuming to manage another’s thoughts or emotions in addition to our own. Some days I wish I could simply turn off the thoughts in my head, or at least turn down the volume on them. πŸ˜‰

  9. on ,
    Marcia said:

    Since I am a therapist, I deal daily with people’s emotions….controlling them is off the grid for me but I’d still go with emotions than thoughts….

    • Yeah, that would be kinda weird to control someone’s emotions in a therapy session. It would like cheating, only creepier.

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