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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Narrative and Self Construction

Self-awareness can be thought as the to the capacity to become the object of one’s own attention where the individual actively identifies, processes, and stores information about the self. It includes the end result of this processing and the recopilation of—self-knowledge. It involves attention paid to one’s own mental states (such as perceptions, sensations, attitudes, intentions and emotions) and public self-characteristics (which include behaviors and general physical appearance).

According to Jonathan Adler "one of the most important and least recognized features of the human mind is inner speech which is sometimes refered to as self-talk". In adults, self-talk is described as "thinking" or “reflection”. Self-talk is a continuous narrative feature of the mind. We often "think" things silently to ourselves - have the conscious experience of having a certain thought. We also silently "say" things to ourselves trough our inner speech.

Inner speech facilitates self-awarnes because it creates a psychological distance between the self and the mental events it experiences—which facilitates self-observation— it can act as a problem-solving devise where the self represents the problem and self-information the solution, and can label aspects of one’s inner life that would otherwise be difficult to objectively perceive.

"Self-talk (thought) begins in children learning language, connecting words to their experiences and actions. Language skills develop slowly in a predetermined sequence that requires daily practice. The meaning of words and sentences develops as sounds are linked to experiences in real time. Children will talk to themselves as they play and learn. Their monologues begin with repeating words and statements they copy and extend to problem-solving and creative narratives that expand the range of linguistic ability." - explained Stephen Gislason.

Researchers have found that the human brain has a natural affinity for narrative which is baed on inner speach. People tend to remember facts more accurately if they encounter them in a story rather than in a list. According to Harlene Anderson's the most influential/relevant component on the self is the narrative; The following propositions are based on her assumptions:

  • The self is formed, informed and reformed through story telling.
  • Therefore the self is a dynamic mosaic, a cloth woven of stories told - reader & writer of own lives.
  • An on-going self & other multi-faceted biography which is constructed, reconstructed through interaction & relationship (a being & becoming through language).
  • As humans we are interpretive beings.
  • We seek to make sense of daily experiences.
  • The stories we have about our lives are created by linking together certain events in a particular sequence across a certain time period and explain or make sense of them (plot).
  • Talk is action - “I” telling self and others who we are, where we come from and where we going.

75 comments:

ANNA-LYS said...

YES this thinking of "inner-speech" follows the path taken of Vygotsky and Luria - it makes great sense! The view on the agency is somewhat different ;-)

(sorry for this short note on the topic close to my heart - I will be back when I got the time)

<3

ArtSparker said...

I wonder...just thinking that a sometimes dangerous aspect of self-talk tends away from self-awareness, in that self- talk can be a way of reassuring oneself about one's narrow understanding of the world. The removal of being able - to a very limited extent- to see from a distance can give one the illusion of control frpm outside in circumstances in which one needs to be inside of the experience. Well, I am talking about a choice and you are talking about neurology, so I may be fuzzy here.

Joe Bloggs said...

Wind blows blades turn
Mind snows voices talk

/t. said...

i talk
to myself

therefore i am

crazy ;)

× × ×

/t.

J said...

Is it possible to read this blog, I wonder, without an inner voice reading it in my mind at at the same time?
Does everyone have an inner narrator?
I've never asked.
Who's voice does the readers voice sound like, internally, and at what point is the voice quiet?
You keep, making me ask basic questions Mariana.

Mariana Soffer said...

Annalysis
I am really glad you liked it, and I am even more happy that you perfectly understand what I am talking about and that you have some interesting theorical background (I really admire luria).
Excuse me but I must confess did not understand what you meant by agency, I am curious.

Do not worry for being short, your comment is great. Of course if you have some other idea feel free to colaborate.

Take care
M

Mariana Soffer said...

ArtSparker:
Touche, excelent thought, you are right inner thoughts can provoke excactelly the oposite, Indeed I think they often do, for example on neurotic people.

Well regarding of seing it from the inside or from the outisde, I am not tso sure I understand what you are saying, but let me tell you that regarding inner talk I do not think it exist the possibility of taking distance from the self, so It doe not worth thinking about you.
I do not think you where being fussy at all, it is just I can not imagine how, as I just mention, It could be placed at a ditance. Maybe you can give me a hint, or explain it to me, I would love that.

Thanks a lot for your great word
M

Mariana Soffer said...

Joe Bloggs
Intereting, it has beauty in it. I liked a lot the second sentence. mind snow is a great image.

Mariana Soffer said...

t:
I wouldn t judge you for that, I do not know what is crazy or not any more. One think I am going to share with you.

And I'm talking to myself,
talking to myself,
talking to myself
I'm my own radio
my own radio
Miss Universe
Universal Radio.

Jope you like what I shown you.

Love

Mariana Soffer said...

J
I am glad I made you re-think basic stuff, that is one of my objectives, move the solid structure, loose them.

Well I think it i impossible to read anything without reading it to yourself with your inner voice, at least for people like us who are not deaf, If you check the mechanim that is used for reding, you can see exactelly how this work, if you want I can send you a link regarding specially about the phonological loop.

You also asked yourself a great person.

ines said...

Does the way we narrate our past live inside us by self-talking, vary according present situation? According to other factor? or are alway the same

ines said...

Does the way we narrate our past live inside us by self-talking, vary according present situation? According to other factor? or are alway the same

Mariana Soffer said...

Ines
Any life story is by definition a retrospective reconstruction, at least in part an outgrowth of native temperament. Yet the research so far suggests that people’s life stories are neither rigid nor wildly variable, but rather change gradually over time, in close tandem with meaningful life events.

guillermo said...

Since you where talking before about the benefits and problems that being close like inner talk and being distant somehow, I was wandering if there is a way to simulate this, and if so how does this distance influence in real life according to scientists.

Mariana Soffer said...

Guillermo:
Well one way of creating more or less distance is by refering to onself in our inner talk in third or in first person, being the last one the closet one.

An experiment was made dividing people in 2 groups the third person self refering and the first peron ones. Some questions where made to the different groups to check if there where significant differences.
It resulted that those who talked in third person rated themselves as having changed significantly since high school — much more so than the first-person group did. The third-person perspective allowed people to reflect on the meaning of their social miscues, the authors suggest, and thus to perceive more psychological growth.

Also that members of the third-person group were much more sociable than the others. “They were more likely to initiate a conversation, after having perceived themselves as more changed,”

J said...

Mariana,

I am not so sure it is impossible to read without inner voice, it depends on how absorbing the reading material is. Imaginative fiction will tend to create a dream state and as in many things the focus will fade away from the inner dialogue and back again, but that is not the same as simply reading without any inner feedback.
Is it possible to read in a zen sort of state with a clear mind?
I guess a zen master would be the one to ask for that. Sometimes conscious processes can become automatic and unconscious, I would have to look carefully to see if that is the case with my experience of reading.
Hmm. I will look up phonological loop.

Another related question is when did the inner narrative start, was there a first word heard in our ancestor's head in the distant past.
Before language evolved did our ancestors have a narrating inner self, did they represent their more animal noises to themselves instead of words and speech, or are language and memory so intertwined that an inner voice is impossible simply with instinctive animal noises?

I know there is a famous theory by Julian Jaynes that in ancient times people heard their inner voice as if it came from outside, and that characters in old classical literature where actually talking to themselves when they were talking to the gods, that the sound of their own mind was taken to be the voices of the gods. It's an interesting idea but I can't really believe it.

I'm realising there are big gaps in my education!

~otto~ said...

This makes much sense. It reminds me of something i read that said all therapy is is rewriting the story of self, the narrative of your life.

Mariana Soffer said...

J, I agree what you describe is not the same. Anyway it must be possible to do somehow, because deaf mute people can read, and they do not have that kind inner sounding dialogue we do.

Really interesting question the one about zen state, I would say no at first attempt, because I guess that state has nothing to do with an exclusive and uninterrupted anconnection with your rational mind. And that is what is needed for reading, among other things.

Well there are several theories regarding how language started, which is the base of narrative I belive, like:
1. The mama theory. Language began with the easiest syllables attached to the most significant objects.

2. The ta-ta theory. Sir Richard Paget, believed that body movement preceded language. Language began as an unconscious vocal imitation of these movements -- like the way a child’s mouth will move when they use scissors, or my tongue sticks out when I try to play the guitar. This evolved into the popular idea that language may have derived from gestures.

3. The bow-wow theory. Language began as imitations of natural sounds -- moo, choo-choo, crash, clang, buzz, bang, meow... This is more technically refered to as onomatopoeia or echoism.

4. The pooh-pooh theory. Language began with interjections, instinctive emotive cries such as oh! for surprise and ouch! for pain.

I think that language and memory are intertwined, but I am not sure they are imossible to separete, actually we can represent memories with images with no sound attached to it.

I like a lot the theory from this guy J J about the gods. But my favourite one was the one from the presocratic greeks that said that people did not have thoughts, that they where just visited by them for a while.

In my education there are big gaps also, that is one of the reaons this communication system is great. I think we are slowly filling the gaps.

Please let me know anything you got to learn regarding this, specially about the zen issues.

Thanks a lot J
Always a pleasure talking to you.

Harlequin said...

I cannot say enough good things about the critical and expressive power of narrative... really appreciated this post.
Vygotsky also has some lovely stuff to say about inner speech and outer speech.... he claims it is the task of a critical cultural agent to move from maximally compact inner speech( that is, the shorthand that is often used with insiders of a same " group" as defined ) to maximally elaborated outer speech... such being the joy and ( almost impossible ) achievement of language for communication.
thanks for a great post

Mariana Soffer said...

~otto~
Glad you liked it, you are right, it exists that theory, actually I read about it recentlly and is pretty interesting.

here is something: "Narrative Therapy" is the idea that people's lives and relationships are shaped by the stories that people tell and engage in to give meaning to their experiences. We construct certain habits and relationships that make up ways of life by staying true to these internalized stories. A "Narrative Therapist" assists persons to resolve problems by enabling them to deconstruct the meaning of the reality of their lives and relationships, and to show the difference between the reality and the internalized stories of self. The narrative therapist encourages clients to re-author their own lives according to alternative and preferred stories of self-identity, and according to preferred ways of life.
Rest:http://web.pdx.edu/~psu17799/eng595.htm

Thanks otto

Mariana Soffer said...

Harlequin:
thanks a lot for your kind words.
Thanks a lot for the really interesting thing VY.. he proposed, I still need to reflect a little more about it but it sounds pretty viable,

Perhaps Vygotsky's most important contribution (that we where talking before with J)concerns the inter-relationship of language development and thought. This concept, explored in Vygotsky's book Thought and Language, (alternative translation: Thinking and Speaking) establishes the explicit and profound connection between speech (both silent inner speech and oral language), and the development of mental concepts and cognitive awareness. It should be noted that Vygotsky described inner speech as being qualitatively different from normal (external) speech. Although Vygotsky believed inner speech developed from external speech via a gradual process of internalization, with younger children only really able to "think out loud," he claimed that in its mature form inner speech would be unintelligible to anyone except the thinker, and would not resemble spoken language as we know it (in particular, being greatly compressed). Hence, thought itself develops socially.

Take care, send you a hugh M

J said...

The only theory that I am familiar with is the mama theory, and it seems the most straightforward.
I really can't see that anything but a slow elaboration on animal noises is necessary as an explanation for language, gradually getting more complex as the brain and society develops. Humanity started off grunting, then got to grunting about those smart new flint axes, where the best berries are, did you hear the mammoths last night, could you help me pick some lice out of my hair, and such. Pretty soon everyone's grunting in all sorts of new ways and eventually there is language.

That is an interesting point about how the inner voice develops in people who cannot hear, something else I will have to look up, a little like the question of how blind physicists picture reality in their thinking. I have not seen much information on these two subjects.
Somebody born deaf must have a different experience of reading, and of personal narrative. This surely means no long upsetting inner dialogues about things that are troubling, no repetitive pieces of music in the head.
Does that leave space for other sorts of inner dialogue and recurrent memory, or does it lead to more peace of mind?
It does raise the question of whether we really need to hear ourselves as we read, or if it is just a habit. I have often felt it is just a habit.

Regarding the zen aspect, there are a lot of people who claim to have mastered their mind and achieved inner peace and quiet. But does this mean silent reading? No one seems to ask these questions, and I don't
know the answer.

Yet

Till later Mariana, thanks.

Mariana Soffer said...

J
You are describing an evolutionary model for the aparition of language. I tend to like a lot evolutionary models but in this case I think that there is a broken link, I think that mainly humans evolved in that aspect, but most animals, including mamals did not, due to their lack of vocal chords, mental capacity or others.

I can point you to some info towards inner voice in deaf people and blind people picturing reallity.

I agree that they function completelly different the people who were born completelly deaf of blind, but I still belive that for example deaf people still have a self narrative but with a different kind of representation (not auditory), maybe upsetting inner dialogues about things that are troubling, no repetitive pieces of music in the head. The fact that they have a different kind of representation does not imply that they do not hfunction the same way than we do which includes recurrent thoughts and a troubled mind.
The brain has different ways of learning things if you can’t see…same with if you can’t hear….same if you are dyslexic and your brain flips letters around….you still learn to read. Someone asked a question when we were talking about how children learn to read. Since most hearing children learn to read by using phonics (sounding words out) the class got into a debate about how if you can’t hear….how do you learn to read…that’s when the whole lecture turned to shapes of letters….children can recognize their names before they can read….they don’t “hear” their name when they see it. It is triggered as recognition from seeing it …not hearing it. Its just a different way of learning. Words have sounds to people because they “say” them in their head while reading. But it is a symbolic language we have put sound to…it doesn’t have to have sound to understand. Just like you don’t have to hear to have thoughts in your head. Its kind of an odd question …how do you think without hearing things in your head? It is almost like asking if a blind person can see their dreams….and if they can’t, how can they dream?

The question about reading is killer I do not know because maybe if you learned to talk and read that way you can not get rid of it because your neural circuits had been modified forever.

Excelent question to propose to a neuroscience researcher that specializes in meditation the one about zen and reading. you should contact someone or I can and we can propose that experiemnt or research.

Fantastic talk
Talk to you Later

Jon said...

nice post Mariana,

I was going to bring up Vygotsky, but it seems that Harlequin has beat me to it!

I've been reading his work alongside Freire as part of the expressive project I'm involved with... looking at the conversion of inner speech to outer and how this is related to alienation...

thanks for this post... thought provoking as always...

Mariana Soffer said...

Jon
thanks a lot, yeah it seemed that arlequin already bouth the guy to the post, do you work together (cause you seem to have things in common when you write).

What project are you working on? can I know? It sounds really interesting, can I colaborate also? or maybe comment on the blog post(need to know where is it)?

I have been reading the other blogs you colaborate with and I really really like them, well I read mostly your entries and I think they rock.

Take care Jon

/t. said...

mariana,

yes! thank you :)

you are universal mariana radio
broadcasting love & inspiration far & wide

× × ×

/t.

J said...

You are right of course, if the evolution of language was as simple as my idea then it should be possible for a lot of animals to develop language, yet humans are (supposedly) unique in the depth and complexity of language.
A lot of factors have to come into play, not least biological ones to do with the shape of the speaking organs and the brain, and environmental factors for the ancient humans.
I am not conversant with biology and evolution enough to know exactly how the brain grew, wether there is purely genetic selection or also epigenetic factors.
I would guess that the process is the same as for everything else, there is a mutation, and it is either adaptive or maladaptive.
Something that had not occured to me is that a mutation for language may not have the same implications as a mutation for, say, longer fingers or thicker bones because it is hard for me to think of an advantage to develop language abilities if you are the only one in your group to have the new ability.
If you were a hominid born with a slightly unusually shaped throat and you could now make sounds that the others in your group could not, would that be an advantage? Maybe it would prove useful, in a goup situation, but if your offspring had the mutation too then there is more of a possibility for development between them with their new wider range of sound.

I have a copy of Pinker's The Language Instinct which I should read soon to get some ideas.


It is a good point that you make that our internal reading voice may be a habit picked up when we are educated.
It is true that sometimes words are sounded out phonetically in the mind, but sometimes word recognition is wholistic and instant and we have the ability to recognise words as a whole even if the letters are jumbled up. This seems to mean that we have at least two ways of reading the same words.

But this is not the same as a narrative that defines the self, which is the subject of your post, because an inner narrative escribes your life exerience and emotions and so much mental activity.
In some way the act of reading may be replacing your self with another self, or extending it into further realms. In many ways that is what good writing is about, you experience somebody elses self, or lose yourself.


Regarding the question "do zen masters have an internal dialogue when they read?", I ask on the assumption that a zen master is suposed to have stopped his mind from wandering, but there are quite a few peope who say they are enlightened but the mind is still active.
It would depend on the definition of enlightenment. The sense of self for meditators I think changes in a different way in addition to any mental quiet, and there are many subtley different states of mind that many people call mastery or enlightenment, it seems.
Another thing to consider is that a lot of people will claim anything to make themselves look enlightened.

I was thinking maybe email this place to see if anyone has any insight into the matter.

http://www.umassmed.edu/Content.aspx?id=42430

till later Mariana

aditya said...

Heyy Mariana

I do get lost sometimes. Yes I do get switched off, unconsciously too.

Aditya.

Tom Bailey said...

Excellent post! So much to talk about:

Starting with being clear on a definition of "self" is even interesting.


"People tend to remember facts more accurately if they encounter them in a story rather than in a list." -


That is likely because people are story making machines... when someone shares something they are adding tons of other things to the facts (stories)... so it is not a surprise that is the case.

Tyko Brae (exgen. NB) said...

The self does not exist.
;-)
Sing yourself a lullaby!

christopher said...

If man is the story teller, then we know why history as we try to understand the facts these days was so late in coming on the scene. The story was and remains more important than any truth that may be contained within the story.

We instinctively know this, and yet our survival in an ever more complex world requires the story to take a back seat. Perhaps we will all die of our stories.

The rise of science is to retell the story more than it is to void the story. This because science is about the details far more than it is the grand sweep. Story tellers prefer the grand sweep over the details and seek ways to keep the story in place no matter the details. We need a discipline of fantasy far more than a new technology.

Jukka said...

I think about my self always. I work woth other the help them but my self awareness is not lessen. How should I do to get less.

I am a large ego.

Val said...

I liked this post very much mariana. Our inner dialogue is the only place where our feelings mingle freely with our detached rational self, to create a whole human being prepared for the intense experience that is living. Everything you have said is completely true, at least to me. I have often thought it is our grounding exercise to keep our experience on this planet healthy. Of course, when this goes awry for a variety of reasons, mental illness is the result. This inner dialogue is also how we access our 'psychic self', or soul as well as the souls of others both living and passed. Once again mariana, you initiate such meaningful outer dialogue! Love you to bits sweetie

Mariana Soffer said...

t
you are a radio broadcasting
a sweet and cheerful jazz song
from the fourties sang by a great singer.

Thanks a lot!!

Mariana Soffer said...

J
Actually I think that therea are many doubts about how evolution works and what it is, even the most prominent science people have big gap in their theories, so do not worry because you do not know, I think that it is interesting to think about from the perspective of not knowing it and discuss it also.
I am not sure either, but I think that almost always things are a results for several factors that interact with each other.
You are right that mutation in language would not work in only one individual, but remember there is also crossover, which
is the new combination that results from mating, which did not exist before. This also relates when you talk about the
offspring having that new combination.

Good the pinker think, just read the parts you care and understand I would not try to read it so thoroughly.

I like that idea that reading might have to do about replacing your self with another self, I really like that.

I also like your disgression about enlightment, you are right, thinks aintt that clear and easy, I see you understand that
which makes me feel good and more at ease.

Do email there is nothing to loose

Always a pleasure

Mariana Soffer said...

aditya
I am sorry that you get lost, to tell you the truth that happens to me myself, cause
I do not master this subjects therefore I am not a great explainer of them.
But it makes me happpy that you write and that you try to get it. Feel freee to ask

Mariana Soffer said...

Tom Bailey
Thanks a lot for your lovely compliments.
You are right about why storytelling works, I would also add that the narrative adds contexts to memories that might be isolated, and this contexts also makes them easier to remember, gives them a sense, a feeling.

Mariana Soffer said...

Tyko Brae (exgen. NB)
I think I also agree with you, well indeed I do many times, just think about the people who had epilepsy and had the two parts of their brain separated, they become 2 different thinking beings, I am not sure we have a unity.

otin said...

Some times I have an outer voice that speaks to me. Like when I am walking through the dark house and I hit my toe on the leg of a chair. My outer voice will say out loud, "OWWWW! Damnit, that hurts"! :))

Mariana Soffer said...

Jukka

I think maybe buddhist discipline and meditation might help develop empathy and real compasion towards the other selves
and therefore allowing us to lessen our own self by giving more space to others.

I get what you say about the ego, is a double edge sword. Be carefull with that, at least to me it made me suffer a lot. You can know what you are, you might be great in some things, but remember that there are many things that other people are better than you at, and that together we can make it even better by complimenting our skills.

Thanks a lot for being so sincere!

Mariana Soffer said...

Otin my dear

That is a great description to what I refer here as inner voice,a perfect picture of it. I see you got what I meant by that.

Thanks darling

Mariana Soffer said...

Val
i am glad you liked it, really.
I loved your description of how and what is needed to create a whole human being. It is excelent.
I agree that we need to keep our experience healthy, or else, well we have seen it, just take a look at the greedy and powerfull politician.
I also think that is an important connection to our soul like a tunel that lead to it and by being that also a connection to other s.
Thank a lot to you is great to read your writtings, you handle in a precise and beautifull way words.

Mariana Soffer said...

Val
i am glad you liked it, really.
I loved your description of how and what is needed to create a whole human being. It is excelent.
I agree that we need to keep our experience healthy, or else, well we have seen it, just take a look at the greedy and powerfull politician.
I also think that is an important connection to our soul like a tunel that lead to it and by being that also a connection to other s.
Thank a lot to you is great to read your writtings, you handle in a precise and beautifull way words.

Mariana Soffer said...

Mariana Soffer said...

christopher

Brillant thought, that the story is more important than the
truth, very interesting. But anyway is it there a truth? we might have many truth regarding the same fact.

well there is a saying that I like a lot it is something like this "somtimes ego is stronger than the intinct of self preservation"

Excelent, we do need a discipline of fantasy, or however we wanna call it (something that supports our sense of being coherent) much more than we need to develop more technology.

Thank a lot for your marvelous thoughts

Sinthalunda said...

Yes, yes, yes. Narrative is the basis of so much. I wonder about all you say in relation to poetry.
Speaking inwards precedes writing and the speaking outwards. I have learnt much.

Mariana Soffer said...

Sinthalunda:
I am glad you posted here, so I had the chance to discover your intereting blog.
I am glad that you learned, and I do wander too about poetry related to this, tell me if you had any thought.
Take care

Rick said...

This is why the motto of all good storytellers is "be careful or you'll end up in my novel!"

Mariana Soffer said...

rick:
I would be honored indeed to end up in your novel. Nice to see you rick!

Jenny said...

Hi Mariana,

Very interesting text. You have a real talent of stiring up discussions and choosing acute issues.

"Therefore the self is a dynamic mosaic, a cloth woven of stories told - reader & writer of own lives"

I think "a dynamic mosaic" is good way to describe it. This makes me think of something; narratives, whether they are intended to reflect our lives "as they are" or not are often arbitrary. We reconstruct things, invent details, etc. Nothing wrong with that, though. The line between fiction and fact is often blurry.

Mariana Soffer said...

Jenny
Thank you very much for your kind words.
Exactely is the reader and the writter, what a nice way to say that.
Somehow I have a problem with making myself a picture of a dynamic mosaic, I do not know why, maybe cause I always thought about them as rigid. But I anderstand what you mean by that.
And is absolutely true, that they are arbitrary, I think they always are indeed, at a certain level of arbitrariety (sorry did not found better words to put that in).
I am happy you brought to very interesting concepts about the narrative and the self indeed.

enchantedoak said...

Mariana, I'm chiming in here because you visited my poem about Fog this morning. How on earth did you stumble onto me?
As an English Literature major and as a poet who is in therapy with a mental illness, I find all this fascinating.
The science of self-talk is interesting on many levels to a poet. How do I make poetry? I seem to bypass the narrator who usually runs the show, and I tune in to some other voice. I like what Val said:
"Our inner dialogue is the only place where our feelings mingle freely with our detached rational self, to create a whole human being prepared for the intense experience that is living." This sounds very much like the experience of writing a poem.
A poem captures a moment of intense experience, using language to describe it. So it's a moment of emotion recollected in tranquility, that's how I think Wm. Wordsworth put it.
Val also said, "I have often thought it is our grounding exercise to keep our experience on this planet healthy. Of course, when this goes awry for a variety of reasons, mental illness is the result."
It's very clear that self-talk, our inner running narration of our lives, turns foul in someone experiencing mental illness. I suffer from periodic depression, in which my narration becomes completely condemning. That's not healthy in terms of my life on this planet.
And I love Val's thought that "This inner dialogue is also how we access our 'psychic self', or soul as well as the souls of others both living and passed."
In my opinion as a poet, that psychic self is crucial to the creation of a poem. Great leaps of imagination take place just under the level of conscious thought. Somehow that allows me to link, for example, ordinary fog to fear of the future, to see myself enclosed in metal while gliding toward that future. My poetic voice finds similarity between disparate ideas, which winds up describing an emotion so others can feel it too.
I feel like Alice in Wonderland, falling into a hyper-intelligent dream here.
Chris from Enchanted Oak

Rinkly Rimes said...

I read somewhere that people who see their lives as an on-going story are better equipped to deal with life. I talk to myself all the time and when I'm alone I do it out loud1 When I was a child I was told that people who talk to themselves are mad. I'm so glad that isn't true?

Incidentally, if one had been deaf from birth how would one have internal conversations?

Mariana Soffer said...

Rinkly Rimes
I think we all talk to ourselves most of the time, I do not know a single person who does not eventually get tired of that. And I do not believe that is madness, but you know people like to put labels catalog behaviors and stuff.
Thanks a lot for your reflections mans.
Well regarding being born death, that is a fascinating research question of research.
read the dialogues I had above with J man, here are some parts
me:J, I agree what you describe is not the same. Anyway it must be possible to do somehow, because deaf mute people can read, and they do not have that kind inner sounding dialogue we do.
he:That is an interesting point about how the inner voice develops in people who cannot hear, something else I will have to look up, a little like the question of how blind physicists picture reality in their thinking. I have not seen much information on these two subjects.
Somebody born deaf must have a different experience of reading, and of personal narrative. This surely means no long upsetting inner dialogues about things that are troubling, no repetitive pieces of music in the head.
Does that leave space for other sorts of inner dialogue and recurrent memory, or does it lead to more peace of mind?
It does raise the question of whether we really need to hear ourselves as we read, or if it is just a habit. I have often felt it is just a habit.

But feel free do some research and add interesting thoughts about that.
Thanks a lot for your collaboration dear blogging friend.

the walking man said...

I for one do not know how others are inside their head but I have spent years learning to be simply silent inside mine.

If I am encountering a need that requires a solution I use my eyes to see it and then my action to correct it.

It is in the silence that I find the communication with the eternal portion of the universe.

Mariana Soffer said...

WM:
Is beautifull what you said, really beautifull, I whish I could be more like that someway, I guess you do meditate and have a discipline or does it come natural to you?
just a doubt
Take care

A Cuban In London said...

Excellent post that ties nicely with my outing today on music, since the latter affects a part of one's brain that one does not usually associate with creativity: the amygdala.

Self-awareness is also important in the development of a more confident individual, one who doesn't wait for information to arrive on his/her lap, but actively seeks it out.

Many thanks for this great column.

Greetings from London.

Mariana Soffer said...

a cuban in london
I like a lot what you comment about the amigdala, for those do not know perform a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions.
but also I read that:research shows that the amygdala plays a crucial role in recognizing scary music. One possible explanation is that the music mimics sounds that people use to alert each other to danger.

I agree about what you say regarding seeking, but I think that it can also be a double edge sword, people can be very suggestionable and many times they are desperate for answers.

My pleasure
Take care

Mariana Soffer said...

for enchanted oak:
and also my friend J
I guess I found you trough walking man, I met several interesting witters thanks to his blog.
So you have a mental illness, really? do you mind if I ask which one, cause most of people might be cataloged like that.
I liked what val say also, it is like a narration but with less ration(ality). Val is fantastic.
I like your description of a poem, I guess it expresses the emotions with less rational clothes than narrative dress itself with.
Well I see what your illness is now, let me tell you I have the same issue, I just been in an institution for a month due to that. http://singyourownlullaby.blogspot.com/2009/06/depression-and-culture.html
Regarding what you say about poet and self, I guess it has a lot to do with metaphors, finding them in unexpected places, linking previous seemingly unrelated stuff. By the way I love metaphors you can check that in my past entries http://singyourownlullaby.blogspot.com/2009/10/metaphor-and-mind_04.html. I also think you need a certain degree of playfulness and freedom to create real art.
Thanks for the alice compliment, by the way I love her book, and quoting some of its parts.
Be cozy on your oak Pal

enchantedoak said...

I've had major depressive episodes for 40 years, and spent October in a hospital for it. You and I have a connection there.
Knowing what we know about negative self-talk, it's interesting that we indulge in it despite our rational knowledge.
Three kinds of anti-depressants, which affect three different neurotransmitters, plus Abilify, brought me out of depression, just like night turns into day.
I call it "better living through chemistry" since my self-knowledge wasn't up to the task.
That's why I find the notion of narrative and reconstruction of self so fascinating. It required not only the mechanics of medicine, but also constant reminders that my inner narrative had to change, before I was able to change the inner dialogue from destructive to constructive.
I'm off to check your links to depression and metaphor.
Nice to meet you. I love Mark the Walking Man too. He always has weighty comments for me. I enjoy how his mind works as well.
Cheers!
Chris

Tyko Brae (exgen. NB) said...

Lobotomy is the clue. My right brain half can talk to the one that is left. Brain surgery is not my profession. It is merely a hobby.
;-)

Mariana Soffer said...

enchantedoak
What a coincidence, we both spent october at a hospital, curious.
Yes, but there are other factors also, well for me at least being to exigent and unforgiving with myself is killer, and of course the self talk that tells me I am good for nothing.
Well I took medication for 12 years now, and I did not fully hit the right one, I think the last one is working pretty ok, but you need to add therapy and a good life, otherwise it wont work.
Well that is related to what you say afterwords.
Sorry I do not know who do you refer to besides walking man, he is one of the best writers in the blogosphere, he is amazing, ahd also check out human being, she is also amazing.
I am happy I met you, I guess we could share experiences.
Be well my friend

Mariana Soffer said...

Tyko Brae (exgen. NB):
well since I am in a good mood, not an ironic or suicidal one, I do not thing that diminishing your human resources would be useful at all.

Mariana Soffer said...

enchanted oak
Check this reply a friend just made to my comment

me:I think that the more elaborated minds , the more rational and intelectual ones tend to be more prone of suffering from depression, also the more sensible ones, the ones that have a more accurate vision of reality.


he:That's exactly what I thought, Mariana. A psychologist friend tells me that it's not true, it's just that intelligent people "act out" their depression in more identifiable ways. In fact, she said, clinically depressed people who are also intelligent frequently are more versed in the symptoms and expected behaviors of depression than are their psychologists.

And thank you for remindime about your posting on depression, which I thought was intriguing.

Here is the link:http://thewriterandthewhitecat.blogspot.com/2009/12/writers-and-depression.html

Hope you find that interesting

Ted Bagley said...

I'm thinking of "inner speech", thought, as a closed system of signifieds with no one. A closed narrative that has a loop. As said to be the description of depression in some instances. A narrative said out loud to another playing the part of the other that is not there can point out a possible chain of signifiers.

Mariana Soffer said...

ted bagley:
very interesting way of seeing inner speach from! a close stuff.
And you are right close things tend to be looped, as well as what happens with thoughts in depressed people. Insteresting sugestion of how to get out of the loop, thanks a lot for you deep thought ted.

Rob Bryanton said...

Hi Mariana, thanks for your wonderful insights.

http://imaginingthetenthdimension.blogspot.com/2009/12/time-is-in-mind.html
I've been writing a lot about time and our experience of time for the last couple of weeks - you posted a comment on the first of those entries, Time is in the Mind, and gave me a link to a project by Jonathan Harris, who I'm a huge fan of. Are you familiar with his www.wefeelfine.org ? I still like to go back there and marvel at all the little narratives that are creatively encapsulated in real time on that website. His site you mentioned, www.thewhalehunt.org/ is also an interesting example of a whole different kind of narrative.

Here in Canada, I've been fortunate enough to be able to work on a couple of projects with the Cree elders of this area, and of course narrative story-telling is a huge part of these traditional indigenous cultures. But I think you're absolutely right, Everybody Has a Story they tell themselves about themselves, and often their future paths can be changed simply by finding a way to reinterpret and reformulate that story.

Fond regards,

Rob

Mariana Soffer said...

Rob Bryanton
My pleasure I love sharing knowledge with you. I have been reading all your posts about time, but to tell you the truth after what I said in the first one I did not find anything else interesting to add to your great stuff.
I did not know you where a fan of Harris, I think he is one of the very few incredibly creative persons that exists.
Of course I am familiar with his work, indeed that inspired me to do research into opinion ming, algtough his was about sentiment, but I think he almost invented a complete new concept, not to mention the incredible visualizations he makes.
Well the whale hunt it totally related to time, I think the proyect is indeed about that.

How interesting to be able to work in that. Well I guest you must be one of the few right persons for that hob. Interesting what you say about the story they thell themselves,, I would really like to know more about that, hope I find something interesting in internet, I will share it if I can.

Lydia said...

Your posts are so thought-provoking, and just the right length to inspire readers to stay awhile and think (which is, I believe, what you most want from us!).
I am pondering over how the internet with social networking and blogging is enhancing our capacity for telling our stories and for making sense of them. It seems a renaissance in that way..

Mariana Soffer said...

Lydia
First I want to thank you for your great compliments. Then I think that you are right I want people to think, probably because I want that for myself also.
Well I have my doubts about it being a renaisance, remember that not that long ago we also used to have diaries, and they where mostly private but today everything seems to become public, which might tends to disort the stories we tell in order to make them interesting for the others (I might also be wrong about this, I am not sure, what I am sure is that nowadys we are telling stories in a different way we used to do it)

Thanks a lot for your lovely words and interesting thoughts lydia

J said...

I liked that wefeelfine thing, which makes me think why a search engine cannot run on a graphical way like that- maybe useful, maybe not.

[BTW Somewhere to keep your meds?
http://www.philosophersguild.com/index.lasso?page_mode=Home&category=pillboxes]

Mariana Soffer said...

J
There are actually graphical engines that are pretty wierd, I remember seeing some great applications to search stuff in a site called www.freebase.com

Thanks for the pill cases,I guess I will keep the mad hatter one, I did always like that character from alice in wonderland.

J said...

Mariana, I did send an email to a zen centre about what we said, but no reply yet, and I also tried this

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6311547075033408596&postID=2906679611501435157

where you can see for yourself the answer.

Mariana Soffer said...

J
Thanks for trying, by the way interesting answer, although I do not fully agree with it but I do certainly think that in the quest is the key. And I also found several interesting stuff in that blog, thanks also for pointing to it.

Andrea Guiu said...

Hola Mariana! copio este post para leerlo pausadamente -mi inglés no da para una lectura veloz- el tema me interesa mucho, por el lado de la autoficción literaria como género. Principalmente aprovecho esta ocasión para desearte un muy buen 2010! Un abrazo!

Mariana Soffer said...

Andrea Guiu:
Thanks a lot, you are a wonderful and intriguing writer to me, I left you a post, hope we can develop this conversation forward, think new things.

The best for you also in 2010