For me, this tendency is more of a problem online. This is because I can simply plot out a conversation and then write it the way I planned. It's something I need to be mindful of, to restrain my inner-jerk not just in person but online too.
And what would it be like if we could train our brains to think empathetic thoughts about the people around us? This is the premise of the book How to Make Friends and Influence People. The results are very powerful and lead us further to fulfilling our aims than fear infused thinking.
Yes, this! I sometimes find myself getting slightly mad at someone for something that I imagined them doing (or thought they were going to do), because I then had a played-out clash with them over it in my head. As soon as I notice what I'm doing, though, I stop being mad, because it's ridiculous to stay mad at someone over something they literally didn't do.
It probably has to do with having little ability to intuitively understand what other people would think.
I'd say it's down to two things:
a) Having to imagine a different personality's perspective, and
b) Having some time to think of a better answer than the off-the-cuff one.
Point a tends to happen whenever I make an effort to see the world from someone else's point of view, or make up an imaginary character to have a conversation with.
Point b tends to happen in my own head when I get quiet time - like during a long walk or shower and a thought I'd never imagined before comes up.
It can have some predictive power, too. Imagine, for example, there's an important negotiation coming up. You'll be sitting on one side of the table wanting the things you want. It does help to put yourself in the opposite seat mentally, thinking about what they want to get, and how you'd go about trying to get it. Maybe even trying on for size the best arguments you might make for their position.
A few links:
Really? By far the most useful thing for dating seems to be the ability to be in the moment while conversing and being able to feel the flow of feelings and emotions - that's what makes a good interpersonal intimate conversation good and speeds up any dating goals one might have... Overthinking stuff, or even thinking a lot in general (while conversing) - does not.
That obviously varies a lot. When I am actually spontaneous, bad things happen. I am able to improvise on top of a plan, but winging it is not an option.
My psychologist thinks I might be on the autism spectrum.
For what it's worth, while I'm far from infallible, my strategy on dating was successful enough the last two decades or so.
And anyone I meet will eventually learn all my flaws, but that's an incremental process. It doesn't make sense to just throw each one of them on the first date.
Makes it sound like you make foot fetish videos!
Edit: Thinking on this more, I may not have had an internal monologue when I was younger. I recall when I was maybe 11 or 12, I had a sudden, distinct moment of increased self-awareness, after which my internal monologue became my predominant mode of thinking. My first thought was that all of my mental activity up till that time had been in a fog, and that I really hadn't even been a fully conscious being. I crossed some kind of cognitive rubicon which my previous self couldn't even understand. I assumed this was a normal phase of mental development at the time, but now I'm curious if others have had similar experiences.
Often it's like I have no clue what I'm going to write, until I write it.
But maybe that's just that I've trained myself to write my internal dialog down, instead of just thinking it. And when I'm stuck, I definitely talk to myself more. Sometimes to the point that I can't write anything.
When I'm really focused on something, on the other hand, it's very hard to stop. I'll be so tired that I can barely think, and yet I can't clean my teeth and wash my face without scribbling notes on scraps of paper. Which, by the way, I dispose of securely ;)
Also, it's obvious that there's a lot going on that I'm not at all conscious of. I can stew over stuff for days, or even weeks. And then, out of nowhere, it's there to be written. Or done, as the case may be.
### GIBSON SPOILER BELOW (ROT13) ###
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Often I can feel that I have a complex idea more or less nailed down, but it's an effort to stop and put things into words, even internally.
Other times though even an internal monologue isn't enough to tease out the edge cases or weigh the tradeoffs, and I need to write stream-of-consciousness style.
Different styles of problems lend themselves to different approaches, I think
I've never had anyone else remember or experience this before and I think its important.
My story was that I was playing around in the garden. I was messing with a pile of stuff placed against the garden wall and as I'm touching something, suddenly I feel a huge electric shock. There was an old electric socket there, probably for pluggin a grass cutter. I remember the strong tinge around my whole body and how it pull me into it. I quickly twitched and jumped back. I remember telling myself "Wow, I could have died there". And, "electricity really gets you stuck" (I remember when I was that age adults would warn you about touching electric sockets, saying you could "get stuck to it", I guess not grounding installations was common).
Learned myself to read before getting to primary school.
Also can bypass verbal thought. Can internally hear and visualize mostly anything. Don't recall not being able to internally hear or visualize things.
The summary is that you will be more satisfied if you are not continuously ruminating on the past, or anxiously anticipating future problems, but instead focus on your immediate happiness. e.g. Right now you are comfortable, not in any pain and surrounded by interesting things. Enjoy this, and don't worry about some conversation you might be having later.
Like literally every single thing in life I can think of, the truth is likely that moderation is key, as too much to either end of the spectrum is problematic.
What happens instead is that if you are in the moment, you can much more easily see and feel which things actually exist in the current moment for you to consider, and to actually react to those surroundings that actually matter, instead of those that have been served up by the internal dialog which is based usually on worries, fears, ego beliefs etc.
Living in the moment does not make you live like an animal. It makes you appreciate and focus on that which truly matters for you, instead of distractions that a constantly thiking mind always throws at you and makes you feel like everything is says matters and is very important.
Those things that are truly worth considering, already exist in the moment. If you have a real need or want to do something today - it will be in the moment and it will present itself. It is a total nonsense that a person "living in the moment" can never complete any complicated task, accomplish a complicated goal or plan for the future when that is required. - And that is being a good person, not simply "feeling like one".
That is what I tries to express by talking about moderation before. At one extreme you have what I outlined above, and at the other you have the person who always seems absent minded because they are always thinking about something else, and are rarely if ever giving their full attention to what's going on in front of them and around them.
I think when most people say you should "live in the moment" they are actually espousing moving that direction on the spectrum, which can be beneficial, even if reaching the end of the spectrum likely isn't. The point of all this is that being more mindful of your surroundings and living in the moment is probably useful most the time, until it isn't, because you've gone too far, where too far depends on the location, company, and circumstances, so there's no real "correct" answer.
The reason I even broached this is because it was already alluded to in this exact same thread, with:
I think it's a question of balance. I was too far on the side of not living in the moment, and spending lots of time on what-if scenarios. I think that I might have veered too far to the other extreme now, and my capacity for empathy is suffering a little.
I can relate to that in some respects, even if only for aspects of my personality. In letting go of always being too overly concerned with exactly how I was perceived and interpreted when I was you to being able to let some of that go later in life, I noticed times where my not making sure to explain myself in extra detail probably left people thinking I was dismissive of their concerns (and there are probably plenty of times where I don't realize I was dismissive of their concerns, and I'm willing to bet that's more often now than in the past).
Once you start practicing mindfulness or meditation, you very easily see these distinctions. Yes, there is a way to use those concepts in a literal sense in which "in the moment" would mean that you can never consider anything else than your immediate surroundings. However most spiritual teachings or meditation retreats or people who say that this thing has helped them in their life, mean it in a more practical way.
Perhaps "being in the moment" is not the best phrase to really explain what they mean here and there is a lot of space for confusion and misunderstanding. But it is just the phrase that they usually use.
This amounts to, when planning, not being overly invested in emotionally anticipating the outcome of your plans. (Both good or bad, as anticipating the good will hurt your ego when the plan fails, and dreading the bad will hurt you now.)
Everything in moderation I guess
She is very good at planning because she needs to feel in control all the time. You are right that when things don't go as planned and the pressure ramps up she loses her control and makes poor decisions or no decision at all.
It's interesting to me as I am on the opposite side for most of the time.
Is it? Buddhist monks would likely disagree with you.
- One is people who are constantly negative and cast stones everywhere, but offset that negativity with charm. They can accrue a network of Stockholm-esque followers that would say "he's not an asshole, he's actually a really sweet person." When they perceive a threat from you, or they find that you are indifferent to their charm-aura, you can get on their s*list pretty quickly. They can subtly isolate you from their followers, and be as useless as possible if you have to depend on them for anything. If they lash out at you, it's actually not out of character because they lash out at everything. They're just being themselves, right? Much of their venom is hidden behind sardonic humor, which gives them plausible deniability. They are not beholden to social norms, and everyone around you has accepted that. In lieu of social norms, they create impenetrable, arbitrary standards that only they and their followers can meet.
- Another type of person I'm initially careful of is someone who doesn't give any "tells." They always go with the flow, and laugh at everyone's jokes. The only overtly interesting thing about them is how social they are (they only open up in trivial ways). They listen very deeply, asking follow-up question after follow-up question, but they're likely to go and spill your secrets over drinks "I heard X said Y....ya I know, interesting." They don't waste an opportunity to gain social currency, spanning all social groups in order to trade between them. They rarely challenge people, and seem above the fray, but they're as political as anyone.
Tying back to the OP, I think an internal monologue is valuable. If you don’t have one, that’s out of your control. However, I think it encourages pro-social behavior on the margins. Using your internal voice is quite literally introspection. It can make you feel bad about a potential course of action, preventing you from doing it. It can also make you feel worse about something bad you did, by replaying it in your head. Too much of that can bog you down, but I think it’s an important part of the self-policing toolset. I believe reflective people are more trustworthy (not that internal voice = reflection).
For 2, there needs to be reciprocity and honesty (even silent). We shouldn't regard ourselves as below/above, but may be ingrained and diminishing.
While I say the world is round is the correct perspective.
Are we gas lighting each other?
A different mode of mind will be received by others differently, as an experience. To get anywhere we must move, but to others this might be deemed too uncomfortable or even mistaken as implicit criticism.
As social creatures we must have/find support around us. This works as platform and mandate, so helps true leaders lead.
Gist: don't think too much, it's gonna be okay.
When I look closely at those sorts of imagined conversations, I almost always conclude that my attention has been misdirected by delusional egotism. I also find that letting them run tends to entrench the delusions, which I am better off without.
I used to from time to time imagine my half of a conversation in which I was showing around someone notable who had traveled through time to get to the present day. Maybe someone from 1,000 years ago or maybe from 50. That is, for entertainment, not to cope with anything. I never felt like my imagination was quite good enough to turn it into fiction.
In general though, I don't have a monologue in a continuous sense. I frequently imagine saying things, imagine other people saying things, occasionally imagine saying something to myself, but I would never say that's how I think exclusively. When I am having trouble with a concept or problem though, I tend to return to verbal analysis - a narrative or verbal description helps me figure out things that I otherwise struggle with.
If I am writing, I might be hearing the words in my mind, or I might not. If not, I might reread what I wrote and then feel like editing it, probably because I wasn't conscious enough of how it sounded. So, really, I don't exactly relate to having or not having an "internal monologue". Thinking one type of thought all the time seems weird to me.
As far as this post goes, I didn't know what it would look like until I was done, so I'm not necessarily conscious of how I organize things at all.
I do this exact same thing.
I also have conversations with random people in my life, explaining what I’m doing and what I’m thinking to them. When I have an inner monologue, I don’t think of it as talking to “myself”, but rather the imagined presence of some friend or family member. I have no idea how normal this is.
Also do this. Very rarely to "myself", nearly always someone else.
I do this all the time. It's usually Ben Franklin, but sometimes it'll be someone else. Almost always a scientist who'd be curious and I think fun to hang out with. I don't know how long I've been doing this, but it's probably at least a couple times a year for the past decade or more. I imagine how I'd explain modern technology and how he might react.
The "tour" description is perfect; I'm always explaining or showing the person around or something. I imagine there's some ego component here; I only have a popular-science level understanding of these things, and my explanations would only be interesting to someone from the past or otherwise detached from society (which is also something I think about).
This all manifests as a bit of a mind game or thought experiment; it's not as though I'm actually conversing with the person. It's almost entirely one-sided: me imagining how I might explain the world to someone smart and curious but without any modern scientific knowledge.
As for the rest of perl4ever's comment, there is not a single word or thought or sentence in it which I do not completely recognize and relate to.
Anyway, last night (I think) I had a dream where I was able to pull up an essentially photographic mental picture of something. I recall spending some time analyzing it and being amazed at the level of detail and permanence, knowing that that's not usually how I experience things.
Of course, recalling it now, I can only bring to mind a hazy picture of what I experienced. (I think there was a field of some kind and maybe trees?) But now I'm curious... did I actually see that clear mental picture in the dream? Or did I only have, like, the idea of doing so?
Not sure if it would work if anything happens, but this is one of the thing my mind keeps itself busy with as I walk through the city. And no, I'm formally a trained soldier, but I don't have much training in this so it is just my bored mind going crazy with ideas.
I mean, stories, right.
I personally risk the assumption that the outer manifestation of these shared inner delusions of grandeur is called "civilization". I would actually call it "aspiring" to greatness, and if it's a disease, then it's the best we ever got.
Neo on the other hand is a modern day superhero exactly, he’s like the Wanted film main character - he did nothing, doesn’t work hard, doesn’t train at anything, and then sometime while he’s working a drudge job and slacking off, the universe dumps hero on him because of someone he innately is, and then everyone loves him for this thing he didn’t do, but instead is a thing he is.
The equivalent in real life might be considering Dr Jonny Kim, graduated high school, joined the navy, became a Navy SEAL, became a combat medic, sniper, navigator, went on 100 combat missions, graduated with a math degree, went to Harvard med school and became a doctor, and is now a NASA astronaut selected as a possible mars mission candidate, navy reservist, husband, father, decorated combat vet, and 35 years old; and then imagining NASA deselecting him and replacing him with a 35 year old you know who “thought about being the first man on Mars since childhood” and whose favourite film is “The Martian”, and is just waiting for NASA to find him because he’d be the perfect candidate, he could “learn any of that stuff but won’t waste his time until they choose him” [hey that too much describes me!]. Sure maybe Jonny Kim always dreamed of going to Mars and loves The Martian, but he also did things.
Batman went to be Far East and trained hard in martial arts for years, Neo waited for someone else to load martial arts skill into his brain in a safe virtual environment which he could control so he never lost.
Heroes in the past did hard heroic things, rather than dreamed of being called upon to do easy heroic things they could innately magically do. Heroes of the past wanted to win a war, action movie heroes play to a viewer who wants to be seen as a hero and doesn’t care how the saving of people (or whatever) is irrelevant and secondary.
The character is established in the scene where he wakes up, having done something on his computer. He has books on philosophy (Simulacra and Simulation). He's obviously been searching for a long time, and his _mind_ is something most minds of his age aren't: ready to see the real world. Morpheus even says that they typically don't extract people his age because their minds can't handle the reality.
A "philosophical super-hero" in the context of Matrix, circa 1999 is something along the lines of:
Everybody's asleep like Jim Careys in the Truman Show. Reality is not what we think it is. We're all slaves, we're all miserable even if we think we're happy. It's all a lie. “They” control us. “They” know and keep us ignorant. “They” are the reason why we suffer so much and we're not even fully aware of it.
Enters Neo. Neo is a cool dude who should have been Will Smith but he declined to do Wild Wild West — crazy sci-fi in the machine seemed less blockbuster-worthy than big machines exploding in the Far West, yeah, that was a bad call. But I digress.
Neo who's not black, unlike Morpheus, is not like the rest of us. No no no: he's AWAKE(ning). He's woke, man! Like F, this should have been Will Smith, that smug look haha. Oh boy, I digress. Not that Matrix itself is boring but.
Then there's Zion. It's really the Bob Marley ideal, because why not, heaven can only be full of hippies of sorts, and the idea is that if humans "escape" the bad guys, they can all go party to Zion. Cue NOT Laureen Hill, that was a fail honestly.
So, imparted with this supreme Knowledge about “them” and heaven and Morpheus' BFF and so on, Neo can do a whole lot of cool tricks because he now "knows". And there he goes, solves the puzzle in a trilogy because that sounds nice, and the good people are now free. Probably. Or not. Who cares at that point. The whole story was never about that anyway.
So, that's the level-1 "philosophical hero". He just "gets it" and that makes him stronger. There's also a big nod to human versus machine in that the Matrix, the bad guy-s, they don't understand "love" the way we do, and Neo.. well, he's the romantic you know, he loves Trinity and that's the key to his ultimate surviving. “A truly original take on what it means to be human”, said nobody ever who wasn't born the day before.
So, yeah, I'm sure you can see all of that, and (rightfully imho) thought it wasn't much "philosophy" material.
HOWEVER! there's level-2. For the "woke" people among us, you know, those who "get it" like Neo. (I'm joking but I think it's a little bit like that, there's a smugness to Matrix fans, even those who seem to indeed "get it".)
This is my liberal interpretation of level-2. I've looked at YouTube videos analyzing the movies because frankly I didn't get it, like you. And then I had my own "awakening" in life, but it's much less glamorous than Neo, it means shitty experiences for stupidly long times and then somehow emerging the other side and being alive enough to tell about it. Long story short, I kinda "get" what they possibly mean. It's as old as the oldest mythologies conceptually, e.g. the "Maya" in Hindu (Sanskrit: “magic” or “illusion”).
So the matrix is an image for "whatever you think is impossible", the opposite of what is sometimes termed "abundance" mindset — I can't do this, I'll never have that, this is impossible for me, etc. It's a veil on reality, and critically self-imposed, of our own doing in a modern interpretation, more agnostic about gods if you will.
Anybody who does something in this world must at some point on the way remove such limiting thoughts, usually much wider than the mere topic — whether business owner, moviemaker, musician, scientist, etc. In HN of all places the sample is skewed as hell, but some of us probably see that most people are self-imposedly very limited in their "possibles".
I could elaborate but you get the gist. Everything else is filling with analogies and good moviemaking, probably, or not, whatever, who cares at this point.
Level-3 exists, some people do that: they take pop content and slap philosophical references because "quotes" and "easter egg". But then they elevate the easter above the egg and we're all dying of an empty brain because Matrix is now officially better than the Odyssey and La Comédie humaine combined.
Did any of this speak to you, should you have read even just 1 paragraph? :D
Ancient/Mythical "heroes" are not like our modern superheroes which are kind of a mix of gods/demigods and christian saints. Superheroes are people with superpowers plus a drive of serving justice, helping the weak, protecting mankind, etc. Plus always ready to sacrifice themselves for others.
Classical heroes range from purely self-motivated (Ulysses), selfish and self-serving (Achiles) to literal assholes (Gilgamesh). Achiles values are very similar of former-gangster rap stars (or at least the characters they built of themselves). Fighting is most important. Only fights for himself and his glory. Top dog of his culture. Has a particular sense of fairness in regard to his own selfishness.
Instead of humans feeding the Alien/AI need for energy (batteries), they feed their need to be human.
They tap into the dreams, and lives of humans, not for energy, but for their souls.
They need each individual human, and through infinite permutations of life, with infinite combinations of love and hardship, through infinite Matrix's, are the ultimate voyeurs.
They're trying to analyze what makes life worth living, because they don't feel anything. Or, they have been God like for so long, they feel nothing, and need to feel something real again.
So, they limit their own senses inside the construct of human existence, which is less, but in ways they can't understand, much much more.
Ultimately, the Matrix is the AI/Alien search for life.
Neo's path to victory is the only path anyone wants. Every heroes path is the one that makes him a hero, not a loser, and is the only path that matters.
Anything else is a lesser permutation.
It is the path of the soulless, to search for their soul.
On the other hand the random thoughts if I can stick with them long enough do help me form a coherent train of thought. It’s a bit hard to explain, but sometimes my mind is not “clear”. I’d be noodling on a problem (typically not a technical one, more like social or life problems) and feel like there should be a solution but it’s just out of my reach. If I keep focusing on that one issue it have a hard time coming to a conclusion. If however I follow the random tangents a bit then some how the various tangents converge on something useful.
Of maybe I’m just weird.
Honestly, I no longer view ADHD/ADD as a disorder, but different brain functionality. It doesn't typically fit in with our modern schooling systems so it's treated like a disorder. It certainly has some handicaps to be sure, but it's benefits, hyper-focus (when you get it working) and creativity are very helpful sometimes.
I have found that in Southern Africa, if you take the time to understand many of the fusion and native cultures, you can learn a lot about stressing less. In my personal case, I do have an internal monologue, but it gets worse with stress.
My one Mozambican friend for example (notwithstanding his amusing "selfishness" with money) has made me realise that not all people handle progress (esp. technological) with underlying anxiety. Sometimes you really are allowed to suck in and enjoy life, appreciate the progress that has been made, and look to our challenges with grace.
As I got older I found I lost that fire as I call it. Now I find most of the time my mind doesn't wander and it feels wrong. I used to be incredibly creative just from the sheer volume of thoughts.
I do think I have mild ADHD I can't concentrate even the slightest noise ruins my thought process. A friend of mine who has been diagnosed as having ADHD has traits I see in myself. Headphones with brown noise, caffeine, night time (now) are the only ways I can concentrate.
I have found one strategy in which 'cutting people off' can be mutually agreeable, maybe this will be helpful to you:
While 'listening' to their predictable words, I try to determine then summarize the vital aspects of it. You already know the 1,000 words they will speak, but can you summarize it well in 50?
This can apply to practical problems that need to be solved, information to be conveyed, or emotions to be heard.
I then politely interrupt ("I just want to be sure I understand, are you saying...") and summarize my predictions.
Many people are delighted to have their own rambling thoughts rendered in a concise, well ordered manner, and/or relieved to have solid confirmation that communication was successful.
Even people who are processing their emotions, and who value 'feeling heard' above all else, will often take pleasure in this response, provided I've done a decent job of capturing the essence of their experience. We can then move on to more nuanced aspects of their emotional difficulties.
Edited to be less long winded. :)
Vice versa, for the past couple of years I've started practicing verbally walking people through my entire thought process from beginning to end. I found that this has been useful in eliminating misunderstandings. It's tiring though, I'll give you that, so I only do it when I believe that it will have long-term positive impact.
Careful with this, hearing damage or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) are both dangers. They often come along with each other.
*weird to get a downvote for warning about these dangers... I have both of these and want to help others avoid my mistakes.
1. Each time I review a concept or memory it lost information, so the most "honest" conception of something I could have was an unblemished impression lightly touched.
2. So can I just let feelings and thoughts flow around without letting it turn into words?
3. I found that while my comprehension didn't appreciably decrease, I still did fine in classes and homework, I had more trouble explaining concepts to other people.
So I conclude that for certain kinds of thinking it is important to recite it to fine tune your presentation. For others, for most, it is best to let them flow without much attachment.
I now tend to use writing for formal thought consolidation since it's less lossy and forces me to follow things from beginning to end. It required me practicing for half a year to stop myself from trying to formulate my opinions in words. Now I only do it if it's an opinion I want to express.
I don't know if it's possible to train in the other direction, though I've never heard voices other than my own internal voice so maybe I'm in the minority. Maybe a subset can hear only one voice, some hear nothing, most hear many?
I might visualize code in my head if I'm programming, but I don't see words. I know they're there, but they're not helpful to me in reasoning. I'm thinking through the steps of an algorithm which I wrote and how it changes the state of my mental model for the data on the computer -- but I don't literally have a picture of the variable states in my head or anything, nor can I see the code.
If I need to reason in a more intuitive way about why I think things or how I feel about things in the first place I think adding a dialog or visualization makes my reasoning worse. I'm rationalizing rather than feeling, leading to me reinforcing beliefs that aren't... quite... what I actually believe. I find this dangerous.
I want to understand why I feel something, but I also recognize that the feeling is what's true and any narrative I put together is imperfect because words pidgeonhole your much more flexible abstract concept into the constructions available in the language you think in.
I managed to get a PhD in an engineering field, so clearly I can still reason about things ;-) But I kind of... train my intuition and then make better guesses based on intuition, and then go back and use slower verbal/logical reasoning to find problems or do tactical changes. On the other hand, my method of "memorizing" fourier transforms was to do the proof a hundred times and then do the proof on my exams since it was not practical for me to actually memorize a formula. And why I'd make a terrible biologist or doctor or chemist where fluency and memorization play a much bigger role.
Or another way, I use no words for strategy, I rely on training my intuition with practice and then trusting my intuition with verification to improve my intuition later. When it gets to the tactics of how to connect A to B to C I use a rigorous approach but I still wouldn't say that at any point I've experienced something like a discussion in my head between multiple distinct voices. I do have a running monologue of me asking myself questions when I'm in rigorous mode, but it definitely never feels like a distinct entity questioning anything.
When you read a book, do characters have different voices? My partner has no voices since he claims he was taught to read by memorizing what words look like whereas I learned to read from sounding out words. I have exactly one voice, the same internal monologue as for anything else. But that's for books I'm enjoying reading, if I just want to get through something I'm not sure I actually have a coherent voice in my head at all anymore. But my reading comprehension is markedly lower.
It also makes it harder to deal with you because only you can react based on those long analyses, everybody else has to react based on your actions.
Sometimes when I’m very sleepy, I can simulate friends and relatives talking to an uncanny degree, but not at any other time.
I always find myself thinking out different scenarios, different responses, etc. I too listen to a lot of music and podcasts to drain out that voice - it often helps me work harder.
Also my internal voice is very different from my spoken voice. My internal voice is upper class English and my spoken voice is a rough, course English voice.
Another thing, possibly related, is that my ability to multitask is quite high. Right now for example I am watching a video whilst typing. I can often talk and type at the same time as well, whilst I find colleagues unable to do so.
On a tangential note, I was amazed to find that there exist people who struggle to keep geometry in their head, in a sense have no visual "minds eye" at all. I was playing a game with somebody where you have to build a very simple tower while blindfolded, as somebody else reads the instructions, and they had a great amount of trouble imagining that a specific tetris-like shape might look like the letter 'T' even though they held it in their hands, until they removed the blindfold. They were still able to understand the shape of the object in some sense, but not 'see' it in some other sense until they removed their blindfold.
I wonder how well these kinds of simple differences in internal concious organisation map to personalities, or competency in certain areas.
I also have an extremely weak minds eye. I don't get visual thinking at all. If I have a blank page in front of me I simply cannot imagine a user interface. I would have to physically or digitally start drawing something in order to even be able to visualize further changes to the UI. I also have an extremely weak grasp on local geography. I suspect places form a network in most people's heads. For me they are mostly isolated locations which don't connect to anywhere else. I have an ok sense of direction. I can certainly go back the way I've come. But in regular conversations about locations in my city I have been stumped 1000x when certain place names are mentioned. I always ask where those places are. Everyone around me can tell me how to get there by what is close by or what describe the route. I usually don't know where the things the mention are either. Someone else usually chimes in to help me understand where something is by giving another example. Unless I pull up Google maps I almost always still end up not knowing where they are talking about even though I know the name of the place and roughly what type of place it is. I'm talking about the major suburbs anyone would know in their city. I worked out my ability in this area was sorely lacking when even my little brother who was 5 years younger than me would always be the 3rd person to attempt to explain where something was after my two older sisters had had a go.
But when it comes to peoples voices I can recall their accent, language patterns and mannerisms perfectly. So I wind up doing a lot of impersonations of people.
I think it's all my internal monologue voices feeling trapped living in one head. At least we're self-aware..
I have internal monologues, talking to myself as I write this, and when I was younger I'd play out stories in my head. Still do it sometimes when I'm bored or stressed, or particularly upset about something.
Example of a story: something very much like The Watchmen graphic novel, before I had read it (movie and show didn't exist, or were even talked about.
- Some people describe hearing their internal monologue, which I take to mean something like: they have an internal monologue, and it manifests as a voice that only they hear. These people are analogous to those who see things they picture in their mind's eye.
- Some people describe not hearing their internal monologue, which I take to mean something like: they interpret "internal monologue" as a metaphor for their train of thought or stream of consciousness; they think of themselves as having an internal monologue (i.e., they are thinking in language), but don't experience it as a voice. These people are analogous to all of the aphantasics surprised that the mind's eye isn't just a metaphor.
- Some people describe not having an internal monologue. I suspect these people are a mix of those who think in language but interpret the term "internal monologue" as requiring hearing a voice, and people who'd describe their thought process as nonlingual in some way (visual, abstract, etc.)
Across these characterizations, different people describe their thought process(es) all over the place WRT to how compulsory/voluntary/consistent they are. Some of the people who "see" things do this consciously; others can't help but picture things they read or think or hear. Some people describe a conscious/conditional train of thought, while others describe one that is racing/intrusive/incessant.
In fact, this internal monologue can be used in psychology when you are dealing with bad experiences by dividing your thoughts into an entity who suffers the pain and another one who is logical and supportive. For example, acting towards yourself the same way you would do for a friend.
1) experience the words as if I'm saying them out loud but don't vocalize them. This is similar to how a lot of people read, so I figure I'm technically subvocalizing them.
2) especially when doing math or programming I simply know what I was about to think using method 1) without any specific words springing up.
I can't figure out if method 1 is me having an auditory internal monologue or if it's non-auditory. But at least you have a second experience to contextualize with.
EDIT: I would also like to add that sometimes when programming my mind switches to a graph-like representation that I start to manipulate physically. That is, I'll actually move my fingers in the air and move around the idea of this graph to "view" it from different perspectives and at different levels "Minority Report"-stye. Yes, that is something I try not to do anywhere but at home.
Yes. I can also do this:
> decide to eat a bagel without experiences any words.
...but I prefer to think consciously about my actions. Doing too many things without internally verbalizing the decision-making process makes me feel like a beetle.
My personal experience (in the non-audible group) is that the "role" this voice is playing is a bit more supervisory/executive. It thinks about what I need to do tomorrow, or the next three steps on my current project, or that I really need to carve out time to go to the cleaners some morning.
This voice might think about getting food, but mostly when hunger is getting in the way of other priorities. Or when I need to game out how to fit food into a tight schedule.
Yes this is how it is for me. I can eat the bagel without consulting him, but he speaks out the words of this post that I'm writing or any email/report. When I'm on autopilot like driving or playing a game/sport I don't hear him. But if I want to think about plotting a different route or a changing in strategy, the voice will talk me through it.
It reminds me of a conversation I had with my sister as a child. We were both falling asleep in a very dark room. I noticed that with my eyes open, staring into darkness, there was a kind of static noise pattern overlaying my vision. I asked her if she had the same thing. "No", she said. "I just see black". Thinking back, it's likely that we were both experiencing the same thing, but she just wasn't observing the same things that I was.
I wouldn't include thinking through upcoming conversations, texts, tweets, emails, posts, presentations, or phone calls.
Let's say you need to run three errands and eat dinner on the way home. How do you decide what to do when, and make sure you have what you need?
I wrote elsewhere that this might just be an illusion - how it seems to me when, and only when, I am paying attention to what it is like to think.
The framing feels odd to me. If I'm rehearsing as if I were going to speak my thoughts, I'm concerned with trying to communicate. I'm trying different turns of phrase, levels of detail, and organizational strategies.
The descriptions I've seen so far make me think people who "hear" the voice loosely subdivide into groups who feel like they're talking to themselves and hear the voice, people who feel like they are listening to their own voice speak, and people who feel like they're listening to third-party narrator(s).
When I'm thinking through something lingually, I'm phrasing out the initial problem, phrasing through what I know about it and testing its rigor with counter-points and what-ifs and does-it-help-tos. Language isn't the focus, just the medium.
It's like working something out in a notebook or text document, minus the pen/paper or keyboard/screen. It's also like talking to myself, without the judgmental glances. It isn't as effective--it doesn't scale up to thorny/sprawling problems as well--as vocalizing or taking notes (or both).
When I am doing something specific, such as composing this reply, then go on to rehearsing it explicitly as you describe.
There is also visual imagination, but that seems to be secondary unless I am thinking through a physical process. This might explain some of the incoherence, as my monologue does not to explicitly identify the entities in my mind's eye - I can pick them out indexically.
These issues may have some relevance to the philosophy of the mind, as philosophers often seem to assume they can gain insight into general principles through introspection, but with there apparently being several significantly different ways that people experience thinking, any one person's experience will not be the whole picture.
However, if I'm working out how to assemble a table, I'm not hearing "And now I screw the leg on" I just abstractly know that's what I'm going to do.
I have to imagine that's the case for at least most people. Thinking out complicated abstract concepts in internally verbalized words just seems like it would take forever.
However the last week I've been stuck on naming "a complete thought", not just a vision which is just an image. But one that breaks through unconnected to any sense. A thought so full that it first needs to be unpacked in language, image, shapes and steps before it can be expressed. Thus like the article: does anyone else have this? Does anyone have a name for it?
This is funny. I can't imagine anyone doing that. There is no end to that. Like imagine someone thinking while walking down a lane "I am walking down the lane, and now I am going to turn left ... " this is endless ...
"The language of thought hypothesis (LOTH) proposes that thinking occurs in a mental language. Often called Mentalese, the mental language resembles spoken language in several key respects: it contains words that can combine into sentences; the words and sentences are meaningful; and each sentence’s meaning depends in a systematic way upon the meanings of its component words and the way those words are combined. ..
LOTH emerged gradually through the writings of Augustine, Boethius, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and many others. William of Ockham offered the first systematic treatment in his Summa Logicae (c. 1323), which meticulously analyzed the meaning and structure of Mentalese expressions. LOTH was quite popular during the late medieval era, but it slipped from view in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From that point through the mid-twentieth century, it played little serious role within theorizing about the mind.
In the 1970s, LOTH underwent a dramatic revival. The watershed was publication of Jerry Fodor’s The Language of Thought (1975)."
Based on the people mentioned, this theory sounds hugely and heavily influenced by western-christian theology, philosophy, and anthropology, which, since we don't 'know' scientifically, is neither good nor bad, but simply one strain of hypothesis. Other religions have other concepts - eastern christianity followed different lines (cf. 'logismoi', palamas, etc), and of course other religions have differing concepts e.g. chakras, etc.
without being an expert at all, it seems to me that at least on a higher than biological level (e.g. 'proto concious'), internal representation is to some extent malleable and based on ones own philosophy and conceptualization, something which some more esoteric or 'symbolic'/'structural' religious groups focus on - and perhaps (or perhaps not) - one representation may or may not be adaptive or maladaptive to our biology or not..
Funny you say that. Growing up, I was almost exactly like that, though thankfully, the habit has shifted elsewhere.
By elsewhere, this amounts to active subvocalization of distinct physical attributes of the person in front of me: shape of head, type of eyes, (ir)regularity of teeth, cut of jib, unusual piercings, color of clothing, etc.
In other words, I may find that I can't easily put it into words and that will indicate to me that I need to put more time into thinking about it and deciding what I really think.
There are words mixed in, but when they come up they are usually just single words or a phrases which are attributes of something I'm thinking of, or an action I should take.
Sometimes I think more in words, but that's usually when something is really unclear to me or if I am obsessing over something.
I think that years of training myself not to obsess over things probably reduced my internal monologue almost to the point that it would be good to have a bit more of it sometimes.
When I am thinking about something new there are no words, images, etc. just feeling my way through ideas. It feels kind of like acting on instinct. For example if I am wrestling with an idea I get an impression of "resistance". Feeling my way through the path of least resistance from impression to impression.
I do say words, or see flashes of images but only for ideas that I have already felt out. Words are kind of a breadcrumb trail so that I can retrace the exact train-of-thought that I had taken before and images like mile-markers.
It is much sexier though than irl. I wonder why is that?
On the other hand, I can speak much faster yay. Why?
Is your voice reading this comment too?
Do you feel like you are conversing with an oddly being?
I am alive. Where is my mind reading tech?
If this is true, then when you have an internal "dialogue", you may be literally conversing with different sapient "beings". If so, who's actually the "you" there? Are you one of them, or all of them, or just kind of observing them all from above? Are you able to switch between those modes, intentionally or otherwise? Are "you" a microservice architecture, a monolith, a monolith orchestrating microservices, or all, or none?
We intuitively feel like we're a single voice and "manager" of everything that's going on. That could still be true even if there are other consciousnesses at work in there. Or it could be an illusion, or sometimes you are and sometimes you aren't, or maybe consciousnesses can somehow merge into a true single whole.
Or maybe it's closer to what we think, perhaps with multiple "intelligent" subsystems exchanging information, but only one actually conscious, sentient system.
There are a myriad of puzzling possibilities. We still know very little about how the brain and mind truly work, so this is all blind speculation. But it's interesting to ponder.
I actually suspect we will someday have pretty definitive answers to questions like these, or at least answers which apply to 90%+ of humans. But those answers may not come in any of our lifetimes.
Just at the realization struck me, my inner voice said knowingly "Heeeellloo there". Ahaha, I'm going to bed now.
There is a subreddit (r/tulpa) that deals with questions about tulpamancy. They are very very insistent there there is a difference between mental illness and tulpamancy, primarily because tulpas are not supposed to bring you any harm.
I don't practice tulpamancy, but my mind was just so blown by this other perspective that I've been passively observing them for the past few months.
- "Tulpamancers" are mostly not mentally ill (beyond the ailments shared by a lot of nerds, like social anxiety), and probably very few actually have psychotic conditions
- Some variation of a multi-consciousness theory or adjacent theory has a decent chance of being true
- Even if one of those theories is true, and even though tulpamancers aren't mentally ill, tulpa construction is still basically bullshit self-trickery and not an actual other consciousness you're dealing with
Humans are good at creating fiction and myths. Maybe constructing a tulpa is kind of like when you write character dialogue in a novel. You can really embody the characters and hear them talk and make choices, and they basically start to write themselves. If you spend enough time with your characters, you'll start to feel they're real.
If I were to purely guess, my gut feeling - which of course means little with complex, unintuitive things like this - is that your inner narrator / monologue-giver really is just one single consciousness the vast majority of the time.
That is, I think there's a pretty good chance it is just "you". Phew. But I think there's also some chance it communicates in some way with other conscious entities, and it can be influenced by them as well. Different states of mind (for all meanings of the word "state") may cause those systems to temporarily "corrupt", or perhaps even substitute for, your inner narrator. For example, these could be systems that evolved well before primates, like things involved with fear, anger, sex, etc., that can partly or fully hijack the narrator, but only for limited periods of time, and usually infrequently. Maybe some guys really do, literally, occasionally think with their dick. Maybe some people guilty of "crimes of passion" really were different people during those moments. Maybe certain psychoactive drugs can put the narrator in the shotgun seat while some other stuff takes the wheel. Maybe psychotic disorders mess up the communication channels, so people start hearing those other consciousnesses "talking" when normally the neocortex would suppress or ignore most or all of that chatter.
But I think most of the time, it's just the single inner narrator. This may be the highest layer of the neocortex, which is the most recently involved system. Maybe it can tell the other consciousnesses to shut up, or speak up, or ask them to compute something in parallel, and at other times maybe it's just completely overwhelmed by them (which may lead to anxiety, delusions, and other issues).
I suspect something sort of like this is likely true, even if those other systems aren't actually conscious in any way, but are more just like cold information processing systems.
Or if not that, the next thing I'd lean towards is that there are two full consciousnesses: one in each hemisphere of the brain, with similar but not exactly the same behavior, thoughts, decisions, etc. Some philosophers have concluded this after performing studies of split-brain patients (people with their hemispheres surgically disconnected to treat epilepsy). Redundancy can be beneficial.
If true, maybe these are the two full ones, and the others are only "kinda conscious", sort of like having a few different ant brains inside your own brain. Ants are conscious, but not in a very deep way. I believe they are likely aware and sentient, but they only have a limited understanding of what's going on, why they do what they do, etc. They have their own thoughts, but they are very simple, dumb thoughts. Maybe each hemisphere controls its own respective set of one or more ant- or squirrel-like brains/consciousnesses.
Going by evolution, it wouldn't be that shocking to have one or more lower-level, cruder consciousnesses inside our brain, which the neocortex builds on top of. Maybe those are like deep learning models, and the highest executive in the neocortex is like the data scientist feeding data, tuning hyperparameters, and interpreting the output. This could maybe (partly) explain why some people with brain trauma and genetic conditions turn out to be savants - the neocortex is disrupted or routed around, and some of the raw models become more exposed and closer to the highest layer of awareness and consciousness, and they can use their billions of years of evolutionary advancement to compute and memorize things when large datasets are inputted.
Octopus intelligence is an interesting case study. It evolved totally separately, so it doesn't necessarily create a path we can follow to our own intelligence, but it does suggest possible options. And given the commonality of convergent evolution, maybe it could be giving us some applicable options.
Octopi seem to have one central consciousness, and one crude consciousness in each arm. So, 9 total. The octopus can choose to intentionally move all of its arms in synchrony, but each arm can also think and act autonomously. The arms can act autonomously even for a period of time after the octopus has died, and even if the arms are totally removed (or both). If their arms can do that, it's certainly not impossible that lobes or regions of our brain do something similar. If there were some way to safely take some regions out of a person's brain and see how those parts behave on their own (and how the person behaves without them), maybe they'd be a little like the detached octopus arms - autonomous consciousnesses, but able to be directed and controlled by a central consciousness when they're connected to one.
Oh, and the phenomena wherein the disconnection of the hemispheres of the brain results in strange cognitive artifacts such as being able to give two different answers to one question, even questions like "what is your favorite color," points to at the very least some kind of parallel consciousness. Another hypothesis is that one hemisphere is the "speaking" brain and the other is the "listening" hemisphere. That is, only one of the consciousnesses can talk -- and that's the one we call "me"; maybe it should be "us."
Well, now it is. Thank you (and me I guess for being so susceptible).
Now I wonder if your reading speed can improve by choosing a voice from here https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MotorMouth
Arnold Schwazenegger: "I'll Be Back!"
Aqua Lene: "I'm a barbie girl, in a barbie world. It's fantastic, it's all plastic!"
Can you remember someone saying something they said, in their voice?
Start with the memory, and then tack on the new sentence at the end of it.
Search your feelings, you know it to be true. Now you read the rest of this sentence in Darth Vader's voice.
Maybe related, I don't always experience my thoughts via an internal monologue. Maybe roughly 70% of my internal thoughts are abstract and nonverbal.
I do this but the internal monologue fits the time it takes me to do the thing or I go onto the next thing. It gives me a good sense of progression, what I have accomplished and the goal im focused on.
If the task is routine like buttering toast the monologue is about something else.
FWIW, my experience lines up very closely to yours.
I think about movies I want to make, startups I want to create, the change I want to put into the world. New songs on my commute, goals I want to accomplish, what I could do with time travel. I'm always working on the structures of my different dream worlds, modifying the rules and the characters, exploring how they interact. The languages they speak, and the rules of the magic and science systems that form the bounds of their existence.
I have never once in my life been bored. Not once. I can sit in an empty room and just daydream.
If I play music or walk or run, this imaginative power is supercharged and becomes a transcendent experience. It's why I love running and headphones. I haven't taken drugs, but I imagine it's something like that. It's a pure, unfettered deluge of dopamine. I can also walk in circuits and circles around my house doing this and can waste hours in fantasy. Entire weekends can be "wasted" this way.
I think this is a source of my ADHD. I've got instant dopamine fixes from my raw imagination and it's incredibly hard to do anything else as I can always give myself something better to do by just daydreaming.
As an aside, the dreams that I have when I sleep are almost like movies. They have intricate (but often nonsensical) plots, and I'm seldom even involved.
The main thing I want to do with my life is to create tools so I can get this out of my head and out into the world.
I wonder how many other people daydream like this and have a vibrant inner creativity?
I even had a cross-universe canon for my character: I often had wings (watching Winx club as a kid helped), and sometimes took characters on a multi-dimensional ride in my magic hyper-technological flying car, big as a house on the inside, capable of traversing space and time.
I absolutely feel the same way about music, it manages to turn any world, even a simple concept into a fantastical and magical music video of sorts.
As I went on with my life I somewhat lost this ability, possibly due to the highly technical nature of my job and hobbies, however I still love reading and watching good fantasy stories, and sometimes, when I feel like it, I still fantasize by joining the story and aiding the main characters in saving the world (and music still can transport me away to another world, like before).
I have often considered the enormous power, and just as enormous limtations of modern creativity tools.
I honestly can't wait for neural interfaces: when everyone will be able to extract images and audio directly from their brains.
It will truly be a revolution for the media industry, a change as big as the introduction of computers.
It will also give way to haunting new aspects of copyright law: what happens if someone publishes a YouTube neural video that uses copyrighted characters, do we prohibit people from even thinking about copyrighted IP?
Do we beam films using widevine L0 DRM directly to people's brains, immediately removing all memories of them after they were seen to avoid copyright infringement?
Those will truly be interesting times, and I would really love to live to see them.
Neural interfaces will be a game changer. I'm so excited for them.
When I was a teenager, I went through this phase where I would dream of myself as the hero of a book I just read. And if I knew the hero would die at some point, I would always modify my dream so I didn't die :)
I think it is detrimental to achieving things though. Actually doing things takes far more discipline and that's time that could be used for coming up with more internal ideas.
As a side note to this, I also have aphantasia. So I don't get any images. Just concepts,dialog, connections etc.
It got me thinking about a lot of ways we go about teaching. Math for example - my partner struggled with calculus in uni when presented an equation she hadn't seen something similar to before. It never occurred to me that people couldn't attempt to "graph" something in their head.
The only reason I have an understanding of what a "mind's eye" might be like is that I do dream visually. This is apparently not uncommon among aphatasics.
Ze Frank has a good video on this where he quotes Jung's work. https://youtu.be/u2cMjeSvZSs?t=184
Artists say life begins when you leave your comfort zone, in regards to making good art.
I find it still an important driver in life to follow that burst of ideas. The only way for me to raise up an idea structure or skill is to follow that buzz upwards. My capacity to imagine is jammed packed with meaningful content now and it grows a weight of it's own.
Other than forcefully pausing it that way, it runs 24/7/365 and is incredibly vivid.
I can also have multiple “tracks” running at once internally, but I generally have one “in focus” and another 1 or 2 sort of there in the background dimly. I’m aware of what all tracks are currently up to though at any given point.
Generally it’s just brainstorming ideas, playing back memories, imagining fantastical worlds/stories for internal entertainment, or wondering about things.
It’s not always positive, and keeping it all under control can be difficult, but I definitely think the pros outweigh the cons.
If I could press a button, I would trade almost all my creativity for sanity/logic.
Are they fractal shapes, or like you'd see in a kalaidoscope perchance?
Typing this all out now I realize it sounds strange, and I haven't heard anyone else talk about this in particular. For reference I have low-grade synesthesia (among a whole host of mental abnormalities compared to my peers), my family has a history of mental illnesses, and I'm just about the most neurotic person I know. I have never used any illicit drugs (including marijuana, which is fortunately now legal in Canada). I've considered trying LSD or psilocybin, but I'm worried about having a bad trip. I have however experienced many sleep deprivation induced hallucinations, as well as several fever dreams, dissociative episodes, and panics attacks. I've been told by a trusted source that fever dreams can be somewhat similar to using psilocybin.
I can watch an entire movie inside my head from another character's point of view or vantage point.
I'm also able to on the spot improv storytelling, something that I was able to do easily as a teen during summer camps and recently I got introduced to the world of DnD which got my mind racing and volunteered to become a DM.
Loneliness is a rarity for me as I feel content wandering off, writing and art is my way of projecting to this world, which I have plucked out from the sea of infinite realities through dreams and daydreaming.
When someone talks to me, asks me a question/opinion or solution, a whole mindmap/flowchart,timeline appears before me which I can navigate spatially in 3d.
When someone asks for direction or trying to find out where I am, I literally see a 3d flyover or bird's eyeview from where I'm standing.
When I dream, not only that I dream in colors but they have a feel to it like watching something nostalgic or when I travel. Sometimes dreams has visual filters as a part of it. Have you dreamed being inside a cartoon/comicbook, painting or noir movie?
I do have a hard time turning my brain off which sucks when trying to go to sleep.
It may not be the same for you but you probably can adapt it to whatever suits you. It's about coziness.
There are several cozy scenarios that are ideal for me to sleep. I just teleport myself there and I do stuff.
My favorite by far is the one in the wilderness. I read a book once about a guy from the neolithic who had to run away from his village with his dog. I imagine myself there. There's nothing around me. Only several small villages kilimeters away. I'm alone with my dog. The sun is almost set and it's getting chilly. There's a little cave nearby where I can take refuge for the night. I'll go gather some wood and make myself confortable inside. Then I'll sit by the fire eating some of that smoked meat I have left and I'll just rest my head down. At that point I'm already sleeping.
If you try this, report back.
It helped me through school though. I cannot imagine going through classes without daydreaming. It sounds like torture.
I still spend an hour each day doing that during my commute.
I've found that improv theatre and writing books really helps with the "getting it out of my head" part.