Weekend!

A while back, I realized that other people might have internal monologues completely different than my own. Then it occurred to me that some people might not even *HAVE* internal monologues.

So I thought that I might put together a bit of a quiz. What is your internal monologue like?

A: I talk to myself in the first person.
B: You should put an option on there if you talk to yourself in the 2nd person
C: We talk to ourselves when we talk to ourselves
D: No internal monologue here

I find myself to be a B. “You need to do this.” “You shouldn’t have done that.” “You really ought to do this other thing.”

Occasionally, however, I am an A when the B stuff is done. “You need to do this.” (does this) “Okay. I did this.”

When I think of myself as a unit (that is, a “we”), I usually only think of one of the members of “we” as particularly sentient in any important way. “Me and my body.” Martin Luther referred to his body as “Brother Ass” and that made so much sense to me. The dualism found in such cartoons as Disney’s “Reason and Emotion” where not only was there tension between the Caveman in one’s head as well as a Businessman in there, but both of them were depicted as driving the car that was the body. (Presumably, in Martin Luther’s day, the cartoon would be of two folks trying to drive a donkey around.)

The wacky thing about climbing, for me, is what has changed in the whole “we” formula. Instead of thinking of myself as me and my body (or me working against my body), my body and I are pretty much in concert. The main thing that I’m fighting against, when I’m fighting against something, is my brain. My brain has a problem with heights or my brain has a problem with figuring out how to climb this particular route. Sure, I run out of gas… but *I* run out of gas. I’m not thinking that my body runs out of gas.

Which makes me wonder… if I see my body as being distinct, and my brain as being distinct… who the heck am *I*?

Anyway, I will be taking this weekend to do chores, run the errands that we didn’t get to last weekend, and maybe see a movie or something if I can carve out 2-3 hours in one of the evenings.

So… do you have an inner monologue? What terms do you use? Are you an A, B, C, or D? (Or, jeez, did I miss one?)

(Image is “Play” by Clare Briggs. Used with permission of the Briggs estate.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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21 thoughts on “Weekend!

  1. My internal monologue is always talking to someone else. Sometimes a specific someone else but often as not just a generalized audience. Never really to myself.

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  2. I’m probably mostly a B, but a B implies an A because if I’m talking to a “you,” “I” eventually enter the picture to distinguish myself from “you.”

    And…..a good deal of what said. Although not “always, I very often carry on internal monologues with interlocutors who I’ve known or sometimes imagine. One thing I do on my way to work (I usually walk) is to engage in internal “conversations” about how I’d explain my view on certain topics should that interlocutor/those interlocutors be willing to hear me out. So…..in that sense, it’s not an internal “monologue” at all, but something like an “internal dialogue.”

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    • Ah, the tulpa.

      Yeah, I have a handful of internal interlocutors that are based on Real Life (or, at least, Internet) versions of people that I know and I can have conversations with them about important topics.

      Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to have real conversations with them on the exact same topics.

      This provides an opportunity to calibrate my tulpa of them and do a better job when I have a conversation with their tulpa next time.

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      • Yeah, I have a handful of internal interlocutors that are based on Real Life (or, at least, Internet) versions of people that I know and I can have conversations with them about important topics.

        You just keep thinking the internet voices aren’t real, say we.

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  3. I wish my inner monologue would shut up some times.

    It’s mostly a running list of what I need to do next, or what I’m not doing quite well enough, or things I need to remember, or sometimes it goes OH SQUIRREL! when I’m reading something and my attention gets caught by some minor thing in what I’m reading and I think I want to look up more about that thing…

    I think of my inner monologue as several different voices – an “inner cheerleader” who keeps me going, an “inner critic” (who is usually too active), the little demon that does stuff like says “that person you care about? you haven’t heard from them in a couple days. WHAT IF THEY’RE LYING DEAD IN A DITCH SOMEWHERE?,” an inner detached narrator who looks for ways to turn stuff I’m experiencing into a funny story…

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  4. Half a B type, and half an… E, I guess. A lot of “you need to this” type stuff, mixed with a higher level sort of dialog, where I pick a person I have known for years but generally disagree with on the subject at hand, my high school friend Trav or my friend Jen, and hone my discourse with them.

    My wife wonders why I am smirking so much and have odd little half laughs.

    Not much going on this weekend, prepping for a visit from my mother, maybe the fair in the next county up.

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  5. My internal monologue suffers from the observer effect: As soon as you asked the question and I looked at my internal monologue, it became this nebulous ephemeral thing that I couldn’t quite nail down. Having said that, I beleive my internal monologue is almost always in first person, except for when it addresses me as a collective “we,” or when I screw up and the internal NCO rushes out to tell me what a damn soup sandwich I am in decidedly third person.

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    • My son’s name is similar to mine but not exactly the same. At some point fairly early on in his childhood, this thing started where whenever I yelled at myself (either in my head or even out loud), I would accidentally use his name instead of mine and then have to correct myself. He’s an adult now, but I still have this confusion — I feel a little bad in retrospect that I voiced my frustration with him often enough to have programmed this association into my brain.

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  6. If I’m following your taxonomy, I’m a “B.” I address myself in the second person, and when I address myself, I’m typically adopting the superego persona, because it’s about duties and goals and optimums and correctives and self-punishments: “You need to finish the TPS report. You should bottle the beer today. Why didn’t you clean the floors yesterday like you wanted to?”

    My id has no need of such explicit modes of address. It’s much more subtle, and generally much more persuasive.

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  7. The snappy and literally true answer is that at least 60 percent of the time when I talk to myself, it’s in the form of playing music to myself. This happens without conscious thought and it’s not like having an earworm, this is lovely and more like a radio station. When I was in college a friend of mine (who now works in radio sound engineering), christened it KMRB and would ask me what was playing a lot.

    I have a significant dissociative disorder stemming from complex/childhood-induced PTSD. Actually, I function well enough most of the time that the word “disorder” seems unfair… but it definitely does make a lot of extra work for me … but probably a lot less work than do most of the other coping mechanisms kids develop to deal with childhood experiences similar to my own. In any case, because of that, there’s not just a monologue in here, there’re enough fragments to people a small village.

    Though the vast majority of the time I’m around other people, the village stays condensed down to a Greek chorus, somewhere between 2-6 interactors…. or at least we long ago developed a nice thick metaphorical 1-way-soundproofed wall to slide between the currently active 2-6 aspects of myself and the rest of them; that’s what allows me to function as an average joe.

    Or by your letters: A, B, C, occasionally (when totally shut down) D, often E, and some things that very few people experience that are hard to describe in a short comment.

    As for the weekend, the most significant thing on my list appears to be a tie between “going to Dman’s wife’s house for Star Trek on Sunday” and “attempting to go to Whole Foods with Jaybird instead of him having to go alone, if I have the energy”…. which after my first full week of work in the last 7, sounds about perfect.

    Then again I’m feeling better this week than I have in literally 6 years, so who knows what I might get up to.

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