Monday, May 3, 2010

Shields Down

Since my good friend Tim Shannon dropped dead on April 6th, my inhibitions have not been inhibiting me. To borrow a phrase from Star Trek, my "shields are down". I am likely to "let out" just about anything, i.e. to say or do anything, without nervousness or embarassment, my normal social restraints temporarily lifted. But the flip side is also true; I "let in" almost anything these days. I find that I am much more empathetic to others, the flow of emotions passing freely from others into myself upon any physical contact. This invisible flow feels like a flow of free electrons from one body into another. I feel part Betazoid, like the Starship Enterprise's Ship Counselor, Deanna Troi, who is an "empath".

However, my ability to "read" other people's thoughts and ulterior motives is no better than it ever was, which I admit is poor at best. Suffice it to say that I am generally naieve and slow to pick up on social cues that appear crystal clear to others. It is as if I am colorblind, seeing only shades of gray in the colorful world of social cues apparant to everyone else.

On the other hand, when my shields are down, I seem to be more susceptible to feelings of paranoia. With my shields down, and my ability to pick up on the feelings of others heightened, are my feelings of paranoia justified? Or am I being unreasonably paranoid?

As Deanna Troi said to Lieutenant Data on tonight's episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation": "Sometimes a cake is just a cake."

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