The Utopia/Dystopia of Internal Dialogue

‘All of us have these streams of internal dialogues’

It appears uncanny when someone talks to him/her-self out loud, with a humming whisper or sometimes with a volume. The people around pass stares to such a spectacle. For them, the self-talker is of somewhat obtuse cognitive level. The talker, most likely already accustomed to such situations, keeps on uttering words and the sightseers move along after their wonder-session settles. The spectators gain nothing except a few moments of fascination and mocking conjectures that they produce, but the thought-pendulum of the self-talker certainly reaches a point of equilibrium that he/she hoped.

It does seem ludicrous when someone talks to him/her-self by actually uttering words with sound, but what about the endless internal dialogues that never cease till the very last moment when one rests one’s eyes at the end of the day? Amazingly those self-talks never bother anyone regardless of what their quality and nature might be. Perhaps because it lacks the element of discernible audibility. Or perhaps humans are just perceptive towards overt actions and don’t care unless those dialogues embody themselves in some more pragmatic way. Or maybe the phenomenon of internal dialogues has never carved its significance owing to its trivially incessant nature since the very beginning. Perhaps these are some reasons humans never reflect upon the importance of internal dialogues.

The internal dialogues -or self-talk if you may- too has its varying rhythms. It doesn’t always go the same, just like when one engages in a conversation with another being, the contained energy in the conversation session picks and drops its tempo which is a result of how much mind and interest is involved in the interaction. Similar is the case with the internal dialogues. It manifests itself as having crests and troughs. At times there is a resistance, a thought-hurdle that halts the dialogue to be driven the way the patron wants. The mind struggles to get rid of this unyielding resistance which most of the times gets even more fueled from the opposition. A dispute erupts in which the human mentally wrestles with him/her-self.

At times when we are left in an emotional turmoil, when a mayhem of rage deluges our mind, when someone deprives us of something and inflicts a mental distress in exchange, we tend to visualize the scenarios of how things could have gone or how things will go now. Imaginations are sketched, harshly intense dialogues are constructed in the mind where we are fully expressing ourselves, vocalizing what we couldn’t communicate before, venting all the stuffed anger through those internal dialogues that take place somewhere in our mind. At the end, though we successfully attain a little relieve for ourselves, but rarely do we reflect upon the activity we have just engaged ourselves in and the consequences of how it will shape our future or change our personality altogether, even if not immediately but over time.

All of us have these streams of internal dialogues and all of us possess some variation of this internal struggle, whether we like to acknowledge it or not. The pivotal point is whether we identify with it as who we are or not. If you have ever faced a confliction with your own self and were of two minds about it, you have experienced the internal dialogue first hand. Most of us simply pay it no mind and believe that “it is only our routine thoughts running through our mind”. However, not being aware of it or not realizing and understanding it does not stop the force it exerts over your life. It drives our lives. We are at the mercy of chance to see and understand the world we are attempting to negotiate. Our internal dialogue powerfully sculpts and programs our self-concept, it is the source of the cognizance of our own self. If we believe we are worthy and strong, we live up to that truth. It is roughly like Pygmalion effect –which refers that higher expectations lead to better results– when we are aware of our thinking patterns, ironically we consciously let our self surf on the high tides of this version of Pygmalion effect which takes us to a symbolical vantage point of our existence.

The probable reason most people never acknowledge their internal dialogue is because all our life we have lived accustomed to it since the very beginning. Our mind forms habits too, like a habit of internal chatter. We become so accustomed to that internal dialogue that often we don’t even notice it just like the constant hum of the refrigerator in our house or the ticks of the second-hand of the big clock in our living room. We adjust to these routine happenings, get used to it and eventually don’t even hear it. Same goes for the continuously on going internal dialogues. On the other hand, we are more conscious towards the actions. Perhaps because it is escorted by more immediately palpable results. But rarely do we endeavor to probe for the origin of these actions that fostered them in the first place.

How our opinions are formed? How do we come to decisions? How our biases are formed? What makes us like or dislike someone? How do we know what we aspire? And then how do we come up with plans to achieve those aspirations? The answer is “Internal dialogue”. “Thought” too is an internal dialogue. Our thought-process leads us to form opinions, to make decisions, to form biases and then tells us if we approve someone’s presence or not. It tells us what our biggest aspirations are and how can we climb the mountain to achieve those dreams. We inwardly sketch scenarios, populate them with required subjects, establish arguments, entertain alternatives and finally come up to decisions.

For most of beings it is an utter revelation the first time they discover that they have an internal dialogue, when they come to know that there is a whisper within. The inner conversation has comments, judgments and opinions about everything. One can notice that there is a narrator who takes the seat of the judge, critic and commentator alongside one’s thoughts. This is the internal dialogue that has been referred here. Monitor and listen to it. What does it say? Is its undertone positive or negative? What are its favorite subjects? What concerns it? Is it critical of you or someone else? Who is it critical of? What sets it off? What triggers it? Does it follow any particular pattern? This is something to think about. If one develops a habit of frequently stalking one’s internal dialogues then many aspects of one’s life can fall in place.

The mind’s constant discourse has a hypnotizing effect on us. Sometimes we become captive to our own imaginations, trapped in the self-created delusional chatter. The joint with real life weakens and we get pulled towards the fantasies contrived by the mind. However, while this illusion is not real in any absolute sense, our body experiences it energetically, as if it were real. If we are having an imaginary argument in our mind with someone, our body responds as if it were really happening, and we feel spiritually drained afterwards. Depending upon the nature of the dialogue, we may lose a lot of our ‘good’ in the process. We may also reinforce our opinions, beliefs and perspectives this way. If the negatively fueled internal dialogues are maintained for long, then fears might exaggerate themselves and find roots within and our personality might drastically be influenced by it, driven to a rather despicable version of itself. If we are not careful in the talk with our own self, we may make blind visionless choices in our life based solely on the content of the fantasies knitted by our internal dialogues.

Internally dialoguing with one’s own self and moreover being conscious of it is not always a self-wreckage or sabotage of one’s life purposely. In fact it is what turns the ordinary to the eminent and respected ones. Having a control over one’s internal dialogue and mastering it equally is required for a profound philosophical understanding of one’s own self, a path towards elevated perception, an ability to truly empathize, a capability to steer one’s life as rationally preferred, to develop an insight of one’s thought-process, an edification of one’s mind, an enlightenment of one’s soul and for true spiritual refinement. The great figures from the human race, comparative to the ordinary lot, were all more conscious and heedful of their self-talk – their internal dialogue. Those dialogues powered their ambitions, filled them with inspirations, whispered motivations in their minds, raised their spirituality and gave them the ability to reflect before every step. As Plato would say “Know Thyself”.

What do you think?

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