The piece of crap computer I am tapping this out from has no opinion about my intelligence.
Even if sometimes I imagine that it’s doing everything in its power to piss me off and stop me from writing to you.
This is relevant because today’s story compares how humans think to how a computer works (or is supposed to work) and this is a good metaphor because our brains, especially those worn by children and uncertain adults, accept input like computers without regard to message integrity or veracity.
From birth to adolescence, our ideas travel a one-way street in that they are provided to us and the average person spends very little time contemplating idea provider motives or determining whether these concepts are in our best interest.
Until, that is, we begin to talk to ourselves on purpose.
All Not Power Drunk Captains To The Bridge
Even some folks who talk in their outside voice to themselves don’t realize they are doing it but whether its our outside or inside voice – both originate as whispers inside our cranium. And even our inside conversations range from audible words to thought hints or hunches that create gut feelings or instincts we sometimes act upon.
However it manifests itself, it is this ongoing personal dialogue that author Dr. Shad Helmsetter labelled self talk.
Self Talk is a simple and powerful phrase made popular by the good doctor Helmstetter in his book and audio series of the same name in which he informs ordinary folks how to pay attention to and even alter what their inner voice is saying to them on a regular basis.
It was only after understanding Shad’s point a few years ago myself that I was able to curtail my own constantly whining inner voice which replayed the same off-putting phrase: “I’ll be happy when (insert fantasy here)…” This single powerful promise uttered constantly by moi ensured my happiness would be wholly dependent on the chips falling a certain way sometime in the future.
And every day I voluntarily sailed across Discontentment Bay.
At about the same time as I became aware of my own self defeating thoughts I noticed that my wife also needed to join the purposeful self talk parade so she would stop referring to herself as “stupid and forgetful.” (that’s uh, a husband’s job…)
These were only a couple of the simple and devastating examples of powerful degrading self talk loops in which we had trapped ourselves through habit and it was great to be able to almost immediately stop these negative prayers and swap them for more productive mantras.
As in: “I’m eagerly looking forward to…” or “Now what did that woman forget?!” 😎
Nope, it didn’t take much learning from Shad for my life partner and I to get the drift – our lives become what we constantly think and talk about.
With this new knowledge soon regurgitating habitually it became imperative for us to control everything we listened to – whether it originated from ourselves or others – because we now understood that how we thought and talked about ourselves was influencing us big time, all the time.
After all, that’s exactly how marketing works and also why the beggars have to keep reinforcing the same stories over and over and over in many connected ways. They’re playing with our brain building blocks!
The point here is that we simply MUST be cautious and mindful to whom, what and for how long we listen to anything.
Imagine A Small Us ON TOP Our Head (we’d be taller)
Every one of us came into existence as small sacks of life and now look at us…
Big sacks of life!
Its like that with our brains, too.
Each clump of head gray matter started out as a smaller, reptilian brain that now mostly ensures our lungs keep breathing and hearts keep beating and evolution piled up layer upon layer until we wound up with the sausage loaf we wear now. And still our brain continues to evolve, changing the way it deciphers and transmits perceptions through its multilayer system.
It had to.
We have so many more things to transmit ideas about today and it’s these evolutionary demands that necessitate our brain’s need to describe and understand concepts and reality in a deeper way.
That same need to understand our place in reality caused a young thinker by the name of Julian Jaynes to develop a theory that humankind’s brains had evolved from comprehending and describing ideas and reality as something that occurred apart from ourselves to the current average thought process of people including themselves in the picture.
They could put themselves in their own shoes.
The way Jaynes saw it, people a couple of thousand years ago would think: “A voice told me to climb this mountain” but modern humans about to climb the same height might say: “conquering mountains is a part of me, it’s how I express myself.”
The simple difference is dramatic – one story is told as a narrative with us responding to external directives while the second reality revolves around our existence. Yep, there’s no doubt about the fact that these days more of us are getting into our own act.
Talk To Whomever Talks To You
Many people get upset about taking so long to find their inner voice but isn’t that just more bad self talk?
Especially since now we know that:
1. Our brains communicate with us and in some people this conversation feels like it originates from “out there” somewhere.
2. The mode we use to communicate with our brains is called self talk, the vast majority which is unconscious.
3. As soon as we become conscious of our self talk we can direct the conversation.
No one in their right mind agrees with mindless acceptance of reality.
This mechanistic way of life is unfit for the average human and we should pity the poor sap who is unable or unwilling to engage themselves beyond their current experience.
And as soon as we figure out that we can extrapolate circumstances and situations through contemplation and imagination we must throw our freedom of choice voice into the scene so we can direct this movie to the ending we want.
At least, that’s what a little voice told me.
Thank you, friend.