Professor X's telepathic powers enable him to hear the thoughts of everyone around them. The poor bastard.

Professor X's internal monologue: Shut up, shut up, shut up, ohmygodshutup.


In its most basic form, telepathy is the ability to read people's minds. In the real world, the main factions that believe they are capable of telepathy are the crazy and the Japanese:

But in the world of comics and movies, many respectable characters posses varying degrees of telepathic powers. In these stories, telepathy is a superpower usually reserved for only the most powerful alien / mutant / vampire / martial artist in the story, and is only used when the person whose mind is being read happens to be incredibly focused on their crime / life goals / location of something / who they love / something else important to the story.

This all sounds well and good for writers looking for an easy way to advance plot the superhero, but one has to wonder, what thoughts does the telepathic superhero read when those around them have nothing profound on their mind? There has to have been a few thoughts that the mind-reader wishes the thinker would have kept for themselves right?

The Downside to Telepathy

In our favorite comic books and movies, the superhero with telepathy is always reading thoughts that pertain exactly to their current situation. When the bad guy has the good guy's buddies chained up in his lair that no one knows the location of, the telepathic superhero will read the bad guy's thoughts that just happen to be dwelling on a visual of the captured person with a distinguishing landmark visible through a window or something. Problem solved. Prisoner found. Good guys win.

While this ability can obviously prove very helpful in the right situations, in everyday life--where thoughts tend to rarely focus on anything pertaining to matters anyone else might actually want to know about--it seems like the mind-reader would quickly go insane. Instead of focused thoughts, one would be subjected to an endless stream of monotonous tasks, bizarre fantasies, aimless daydreams and various other boring aspects of existence with only the occasional thought of something that another person might find interesting or helpful.

So while in stories the one with the telepathic ability tends to wield the most power, we will gladly pass on the ability to know what everyone masturbates to and take some super strength, super vision, extra arms or cool animal characteristics. Hell, even just an ability to pee really far would be preferable to telepathy.

Psylocke is jealous of this guy's powers.