left biblioblography: THE ID GONE WILD – WE ALL HEAR VOICES

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

THE ID GONE WILD – WE ALL HEAR VOICES

Oh, my stars and garters – it took me long enough to figure this out.

This recent thread, a fairly nice fella (whom I encountered on the NGB) posted, I fisked the contents (somewhat), and of course, being an old guy and somewhat analytic (I flatter myself, I know), I began reminiscing and analyzing, and I had something of an epiphany (yeah, yeah, it’s a religious word, so what?).

Here’s the base of my response (his words are in bold, mine are underlined):
But if you won't believe the voice in your own mind, why would you believe the evidence of your senses, interpreted, as it must be by your own mind?
I think I covered this already. I’m pretty positive that was my subconscious, trying to fill the gap my ego was struggling to deal w/. We’re talking many, many hours of wrestling w/the issue. & we are all familiar w/humanity’s ability to rationalize anything. Besides which, if someone hears a voice in their head, & it’s named ‘Bob’, they get medication: they hear ‘god’, & it’s a free pass? I say it’s all right to listen to your right hemisphere: but we don’t let it dictate our lives to us 100%.
It's not hard for a lunatic to imagine that 1/3 of the world's population has vanished... And you already sort of think you're a lunatic - Imagining voices in your head in the night... You already doubt your own mind.

Ah, but the difference between the delusion & the reality – something like that, I would check against other interpretations (the populace vanishing). I maintain we’re all lunatics; there are just some of us a little more benign than others. For the record, I heard voices thru most of my early 20’s – as my substance abuse habits diminished, so did they. I’d sporadically hear them – when I lived alone, interesting, that – but once they became an irritant, rather than frightening, they diminished some more. Coupla times, nodding off, I’d hear my name shouted, right next to me: I’d roll my eyes, & turn over, ignore it.Been voice-free since 2004. Ever since I said NO to that one voice.

Sucking down my fifth cup o’ coffee (java junkie, guilty as charged), I came to this startling conclusion:

We all have voices in our heads.

Bear with me here: I’m not saying humanity is absolutely batshit in toto – if this is normal for the majority, how could we be? Let’s examine the meme. How many of you have encountered the phrase, “A little voice in her/his head” in literature? I’ve seen it far more than once. Or “Something told him/her” this that or the other thing? “I told myself” or “My gut told me so”, etc.? How about the old saw, where the devil is on one shoulder, the angel on another, each advising the character/person on how to deal with a moral dilemma? Or ‘I wrestled with my conscience?’ Or ‘wresting with his/her demons’?

This of course, is not an entirely new concept – Julian Jaynes, in his The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind posits that humanity, in the earlier civilizations, didn’t have the buffer that modern man does, and that in actuality our ancestors listened to these ‘voices’ that proceeded from the right hemisphere. An interesting theory, and I haven’t read the book (I encourage the reader to go to Amazon, and read ALL the reviews, good and bad), but I have ordered it (as of today). But in lieu of all these memories brought bubbling to the surface, it makes SO much more sense.

So here’s the skeleton – I will flesh it out, put skin and muscle on it - of the base concept: thanks to evolution and the adaptability factor that has made us the dominant species, our brains began evolving past the ‘social insect stage’ (most ancient civilizations can be classified as such), and as our interactions with each other became more complex, so too did our brains. You exercise a muscle (physical or mental); it gets bigger. It gets bigger, it gets more complex.

Thus far – brain as muscle. Now we get to the pack/herd mentality. It’s no secret to any of us that we are indeed a pack animal. So much so, that the worst punishment in prison is ‘solitary’ – complete isolation from the pack. As our interactions with one another grow more complex, so then does the language. The language is ‘voice’ – we require it at this (or any) stage of civilization. We all need someone to talk to, right? We require an ear to hear, someone to listen, no? Don’t we love the sound of our own voices, vocal or not?

I have spoken before on the need for the anthropic principle here, and so will not burden the reader again.

As such, when we hear a voice, we associate it with another person. We need to associate it with someone else. And if there’s no one about to associate that voice with? Either you give it a name and a reason, or you turn yourself in (or get turned in) to a medical facility. Or you wander about the streets aimlessly, having discussions with unseen creatures. There are nuances, of course. From Son of Sam to Pat Robertson to Billy Graham, it can go from ridiculously destructive to the ridiculous to the benignly ludicrous.

I am firmly convinced that all that little ‘voice’ we hear, whether religious or no, is simply the id, the subconscious if you would prefer, mistranslating the needs of the ego and superego in a simplistic manner (there’s that dratted number three again, go figure!).

At some point, whether it’s the five-year phase Freud stipulated, or some time in the future (far or near), some kind of damage is done to that filter. If it’s a minor trauma, minor damage, ergo a minor religious bent, or just neurosis (or both). Again, as in all things, there are nuances. The higher the scale of trauma, the wider the gap of disassociation – from schizophrenia to DID (those two get associated with one another, how ironic, ey?) all the way up to psychopathy. All contingent on the damage done to that filter. And hey, to quote Harlan Ellison: “None of us walk through the fire unscathed.”

So whether it’s a result of childhood abuse, self-abuse (drugs, escapism), pain visited upon us from the external world (the small or large accident, violent interaction, etc.), somewhere, somehow, the filter gets bent out of true. Our internal dialogue is thrown off its cadence (that term, by the way, I learned from the charlatan Carlos Castaneda, long before that quack Dr. Phil started using it, back in the late 70’s – early 80’s), the vocabulary becomes more abstract, and context is rendered allegorically askew.

So that’s my theory in a nutshell. You hear a voice in your head?It’s just you, don’t worry about it.

Till the next post, then.

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9 comments:

Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

I was trying to read your post but the voice in my head keeps interrupting my train of thought.

I'll try another time, when the voice is asleep.

Krystalline Apostate said...

BEAJ:
I was trying to read your post but the voice in my head keeps interrupting my train of thought
ROTFLMAO!
A touch, a veritable sting, forsooth!
Thanks, that brightened my evening quite a bit.

Stardust1954 said...

off topic...I hope you don't mind but I have "tagged" you to participate in the meme of "What Have You Been Reading?" I was tagged by someone else and it's kind of interesting to see what people we know in the blogosphere have been reading.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Stardust:
Wow, tag, I'm it? I'll give it a go, thanks doll.

karen said...

Sometimes, my voices drive me crazy; other times, they are my saving grace. ;)

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen:
Hey, darlin', where you been? Missed havin' you about.
If I may be so bold - how many? You don't have to answer, if you don't want to.
Love ya doll, do come by more often.

say no to christ said...

KA

You hit the nail on the head with this statement! "It’s no secret to any of us that we are indeed a pack animal. So much so, that the worst punishment in prison is ‘solitary’ – complete isolation from the pack."

That is why I get dogs! I knew the minute I picked up a set of clippers (when I was 10) that the reason humans connect so well with dogs is because WE are both social pack animals.

And that was a little voice in my head that told me that. ;)

Krystalline Apostate said...

SNTC:
I knew the minute I picked up a set of clippers (when I was 10) that the reason humans connect so well with dogs is because WE are both social pack animals.
That's about the only similarity we share.
Oh, that, & most men & dogs share some attributes. Like running away, causing ruckuses, screwing everything that moves, etc.

say no to christ said...

Ka said:"That's about the only similarity we share.
Oh, that, & most men & dogs share some attributes. Like running away, causing ruckuses, screwing everything that moves, etc."

Lmao! Very true if you dont show them who the boss is. And I hate to say this, but dogs are easier to set straight then men. I have worked with dogs with extreme behavior problems and with a little effort they can be the perfect pet. Like humans, dogs mimic and feed off of our energies. If you are a nevous person chances are your dog will be a nervous dog. The more balanced the owner is the more balanced the dog will be. Also when dogs are showing bad behaviors people tend to feed it with some kind of affection that always makes the behavior worse. Rules boundries and disipline(NEVER hitting and abuse!), then affection, love and food. I know it works for kids and my husband ;), but I'm not sure about all men.