The Little Voices

Consider also The Lord Chancellor's Song from Iolanthe:

When I went to the Bar as a very young man,
(Said I to myself — said I),
I'll work on a new and original plan,
(Said I to myself — said I),
I'll never assume that a rogue or a thief
Is a gentleman worthy implicit belief,
Because his attorney has sent me a brief,
(Said I to myself —said I).

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To come at it from a different angle, consider at least a few seconds of

Ma's out there switchin' in the kitchen
And Dad's in the living room grousin' and a-bitchin'
And I'm out here
Kicking the gong for euphoria

Euphoria, when your mind starts reelin' and a-rockin'
Your inside voices start squealin' and a-squawkin'
Floating around on a belladonna cloud
Singing euphoria

(I make no excuses for my delight in The Holy Modal Rounders)
(IF you need to know more, watch Bound To Lose)
(but BE WARNED! Beyond Nutso...)

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So here's the Question:

Do you have a Little Voice with which you are in conversation?
(and as Toni sometimes says, Who is Noticing or doing the talking?)

* * * * *

Back in early March my old buddy Serendipity brought aphantasia to my attention: "...the inability to call images to the mind's eye... the inability to visualize..." (see a Wired video). A search of email informs me that John-the-son had mentioned aphantasia back in 2021 (...Basically, it means that the person in question, when asked to visualize something, draws a blank. They literally cannot picture something "in their mind's eye" - they have no mind's eye...), but I next ran across the subject in a New Scientist article on aphantasia, and did some more hunting.

And then a few days ago there was an article on Medium by Vincent Carchidi that introduced me to anauralia (sometimes 'andauralia'): The Internal Monologue and Mastery of the World [it might be paywalled] which asks Are those with and without "inner speech" — a voice in one's head — as different as they appear?

The internal monologue, or "inner speech" — a voice that one hears within their mind, either reflexively shooting out fragments of thoughts or deliberately controlled in moments of one's conscious life — is a rich presence in my life. Indeed, my internal monologue is a relentless presence in my life, loud, vibrant, and often disrespectful of my desire to fall asleep at night. What my inner monologue lacks in etiquette, however, it makes up for in mental productivity....

If you do not have inner speech, how do you mull over an activity you have planned, analytic or otherwise? Do you "see" things in your mind, but simply without words accompanying the images? Do you "use" or "hear" language in your dreams? These are the sorts of questions for which I would love to hear some answers!

Both of these are quite recent terms (aphantasia coined by Zeman in 2015, anauralia by Hinwar and Lambert in 2021), though the phenomenon of absent mental imagery was first described by Francis Galton in 1880.

Now, my experience is of what I'd characterize as hyperphantasia and hyperauralia, in that I visualize easily and incessantly ("...imagine a blue horse..." and "...imagine a face in that rock..."), and enjoy an unceasing colloquy with an internal voice (especially when I'm writing, but also in quotidian woolgathering). I'm inclined to see this proclivity as Imagination, and to identify its products as the truest emanations of MYSELF. Or MY SELF.

So I intend to spend the next week or so attending to the Voice (or perhaps it's Voices...) and trying to parse the Mystery of Who. Or Whom. This is territory of Neurodiversity, and of how differently our minds (Minds, perhaps) work, and it's on the bleeding edge of Neuroscience.

A couple of jump-start videos to get you thinking:

Friends: Inner Thoughts

Some people have NO voice in their head!

and some useful texts:

What is Anauralia?

Is It Normal to Not Have an Internal Monologue?

Only 30-50% of People Have an Internal Monologue.
Is It Really Possible for People to Not Have an Internal Monologue?
Emily Alexandra at Medium

The Enigma of the Inner Monologue: Why Some People Don't Have One? Azhar at Medium

(there are lots of anauralia videos, some of which I've gathered here)

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more resources, to be organized and annotated:

(from here down it gets more fragmented, needs context and sequencing)
(and is collected as part of the "Show Your Work" component of my own gnawings on these bones)

* * * * *

I can think of several models to attach to the Inner Voice, which aren't necessarily alternatives (might combine and complement one another). Each may take a while to flesh out, so I'll just note the list as I now have it in mind, and pursue the variants as I'm inspired/diverted: