Monday, December 10, 2007

Schizo Much?

Inside my head, I just said "That's a good point" to...myself. Does anyone else think in this manner? I find that I sometimes split my inner monologue into a dialogue.

Actually, when I was younger, this was sort of a secret problem of mine. I almost had something of an anti-conscience. It was very much like the cartoon concept of an angel and devil on my shoulder. Come to think of it, I wouldn't be surprised if the development of my conscience was greatly influenced by Bugs Bunny and the like.

Anyway, when I was little, I had what I considered a troubling dichotomy. There was a sense of self in my mind that I considered the Real Me, which I also tied to my physical self, and then there was this Other Me that was purely of the mind. The troubling part was this Other Me generally laid out bad or stupid suggestions for behavior and ideas and was often in conflict with the Real Me.

Am I making sense? In other words, when I was young, I felt I had a sort of Jiminy Cricket whispering in my ear, but he whispered bad advice! What's interesting is that he still served a useful purpose --I just learned to do and think in opposition to that little guy.

But it's weird to look back on this. Aside from stories of temper tantrums when I was very, very young, I don't recall being a troubled child. So it seems this Mean Jiminy was never really persuasive. And with time, I'd say around the end of middle school (and the onset of puberty?) that part of myself disappeared.

So has anyone else ever found their minds divided in this way? How do you think?


SuiginChou said...

I have something very similar to what you've described, and even more so similar to situations I've found in other friends.

In the briefest way I know possible, I would say, "I talk to myself." But to explain it more thoroughly, I would have to say ...
- I think things out (aloud, when in private), and the manner in which I think them out is like a dialogue between two parties
- I am the first person and use first person speech (I, me, etc.)
- the person I am addressing (who is still me, of course) is addressed in the 2nd person (you, you, etc.)

As an example, I may do something like this ...

"Okay, you really need to sign off now. [*] Come on. Let's sign off. [*]"

The [*]'s are the responses the 2nd-person Ryan (still me) provides to the dialogue, and these are never voiced outloud, ever. For example, in the above conversation, they might have been [1] "I know, I know." and [2] "Okay, fine."

The thing is, it's not split personality. There aren't "two Ryans." I don't argue with myself. I don't have conflicts of interests that result in me pulling out my hair or some shit. Rather, I simply think aloud and I voice my thoughts in the manner of a dialogue where I am both speaker and listener. The listener is always as knowledgeable of what's being discussed as the speaker, because they are the same person.

The best way I know how to put it is to use Uno as a metaphor for discourse of thoughts and ideas ...
- most people prefer not to play Uno by themselves (i.e. most people prefer to share their thoughts with others; there's no need to share your thoughts with your own self)
- I have to play Uno, whether it be by myself or with others (i.e. I feel the need to share my thoughts with myself as strongly as I do with others; and as I am always around myself and ready to listen to myself, this process occurs a lot)
- but nobody in his right mind would say of a child found playing Uno all by himself in his bedroom, "Wow, son! You must be schizo or somethin'! You must have split personalities! There must be, like, two minds inside of you playing Uno against each other!" No. I have played Uno against myself many times, as I'm sure many children have with chess, checkers, or even Uno; and there is nothing "split persona" about it. It's just you knowing every move P2 can make when it's your turn to be P1, and knowing every move P1 can make when it's your turn to be P2.

Does that make sense?

So my point is, I differ from you in that I don't have a perverse Angel/Devil complex (sorry, Jay :\) nor is my addressee the villain, the idiot, or any other variant of me. No. In my case, my addressee is me. I simply address myself. It is a true case of having a mental gemini, I suppose.

Jay Fuller said...

I was not divorced from this Other Me. I still knew it was me. In fact, it was very much like you're example.

To frame your example from my perspective, the Real Me would say, "Okay, you really need to sign off now" and the Other Me would say, "Eh, but come on, you got nothing else to do."

SuiginChou said...

I think it's normal. I've met a lot o of people over the years who don't have the "problem" as badly as I do, but who say they did have it and grew out of it, learned to modify their behavior, etc. etc. I really do think it may be something many infantile brains develop as a ... coping mechanism would be the wrong word, but I would say "a method for processing thoughts." When you think about it from a developmental standpoint, many of our earliest memories (when we were kids; not now, since you've probably forgotten a lot) where from when we were 2 or 3 at the youngest. Those are the same years where we're really developing our self-taught understanding of English. I think many infants (though not all) may "cross over" the neurons responsible for communication with those responsible for reflection ... in other words, our problem may be similar to people who "smell in colors."