Voices in our Heads: The Prefrontal Cortex as Parasite


A few years ago, as I was beginning to hear voices again after a long time without hearing them, I started to think about what voices really are. It began to seem to me that we have a very strange relationship to voices, and that includes even one’s own internal voice. If you stop to think about it for a moment, you’ll see that your own internal voice isn’t really you, even if it usually feels like you. That may sound strange, but while you may listen to your own internal voice a lot, and probably feel that it’s you talking to yourself, in fact it really isn’t the same as talking to yourself. The real you, I would suggest, is the one who is listening to that voice, not the one who is speaking; that you are, in fact, only half of this equation.

And if you listen to that voice long enough and don’t buy into what it’s saying without question — that is, if you don’t simply assume that everything it’s saying is what you would want to say or what you actually believe — then you may even realize that the situation resembles some kind of strange theater performance, one in which you are the member of an audience who is merely listening to an actor who is giving a performance, and that all of this is happening as intensely as it is even though that performance is given solely for one person: you. You’re like someone who’s watching a television show and who gets so used to listening to the actor on the screen that you identify with their performance to the point where you can no longer really tell the difference between yourself and the strange creature who is actually giving the performance, and who, needless to say, isn’t you. And since I do happen to be pretty experienced with voice hearing (much to my regret, since I wouldn’t say it’s been a fun experience), as well as a bit of a student of evolution who just sort of thinks in biological terms, I started to call this creature (the one who is giving the performance) a parasite.

Now, I don’t say that to alarm anyone. But this creature that is talking is so intertwined with our mental lives that we don’t realize how truly pervasive it is. It is the source of much of our ego, which is then the cause of much of the human evil in the world, since it preys not only on the rest of the individual human being in whose head it’s talking (always egging you on to find love with that one, or maybe you could get money from that one, or maybe you’d have more power and authority and esteem if you got to know that one) but also, through the social-verbal matrix in which it exists, to any other human beings that it can bring under its sway. The power of this creature that talks inside us cannot be overestimated, and it behaves like a parasite, because what it wants for itself (money, love, pleasure) often comes at a price that is paid by the rest of the individual human being it lives inside or by other human beings that it finds and then exploits.

If you read on just a bit further, I think I will be able to explain not only why I’ve come to consider this creature — the voice of the prefrontal cortex — a parasite, but also how it developed the role that it has, which is both verbally based and socially structured, and how in a deceptively strange way it is not only part of us but entirely separate from us at the same time.

Think of it this way: why, after all, does one actually need to talk to oneself? Seriously. Why talk to oneself? A really efficient machine (we are biological machines, after all) wouldn’t need to talk to itself. It would just go about its day, its parts quietly in sync with each other, and not speaking in a rhetorical, performance-oriented way to itself at all. And so, when I really, really noticed what I was doing with myself — one thing talking to me, and me listening to it — I began to question what was going on, and I happened to recall something I had heard recently about how the social development of human beings (as we moved into larger groups that needed more complex communication so we could perform more complex social tasks such as hunting together in teams where different members of the group had different roles) had all taken place at around the same time that language developed, which struck me as a very interesting developmental path.

As I considered the voice I heard talking to me in my own head, it suddenly occurred to me that what was happening was, more or less, a later development of the brain talking to a more basic and earlier level of consciousness, one which was not verbal itself but which was capable of understanding ideas that either did or didn’t use a verbal form, and which was, in fact, the actual seat and locus of my real awareness. In other words: the prefrontal cortex was like a separate being, communicating by speech with my more basic self as though it were another person, one which had to rhetorically persuade me to believe what it wanted me to believe and to do as it wanted me to do. The voice talking in my head, in other words, was giving a verbal performance in the same style as a social communication between different people to the rest of my mind, much as earlier humans had learned to speak to each other to persuade and influence each other, and the way it was capable of transfixing my attention had almost the same power as watching a snake, swaying in front of me and hissing for my attention. It was, in other words, a different person than the rest of me. And that thought was profoundly unsettling.

And as I thought of all the various things that that voice had wanted from me and other people over the years — money, love, sex, and shelter, of course, but also fame, glamor, admiration, power and control over other human beings, and the ability to control other people’s money and resources, and so forth — it struck me that that little hissing snake inside was such a vicious beast, in fact, that it made you understand why, in the Book of Genesis (I don’t pound on the Bible a whole lot, but I really do like Genesis and Revelation), the serpent is described as “the cleverest beast” in Creation. And when you realize that what they were talking about was that serpent-like power of speech that lies in the tongue, you realize what an evil creature this thing really is — under the right circumstances.

Now, at the same time, you have to give that creature its due. We are able to deal with complex problems, communicate with each other, and even create new ideas because of that snake. It is there, after all, because it serves a function. But the prefrontal cortex has taken its role as the vehicle for communication and turned it into a way to make all communication serve itself. It is basically a separate part of the brain, serving itself and using social-verbal communication to do so. It is not inherently evil. But it most certainly has become a parasite — and by that I mean an actual, physical parasite that is built right into our brains, and until we understand what it’s doing, we are prey to every evil that can be imagined. The prefrontal cortex provides benefits, but at the same time it turns the rest of the human being, and as many other human beings as it can bring under its spell, into servants of its own agenda for pleasure, self-regard, and power-seeking. And I think it’s time we finally recognized it for what it is: a parasite, separate from the rest of us. Until we recognize what it is and its power, we will never be truly free to make our own unhampered decisions.

As I said earlier, it wasn’t until I’d started to hear some voices again that I really started to examine what was going on with what I had, up til then, thought of as my own internal voice. As it happens, I was also meditating quite a bit at the time. Now, I’m not a sit-on-the-cushion-and-close-your-eyes-and-try-to-feel-peaceful kind of meditator. I’m a get-out-in-the-world kind of meditator. I like to walk, and look around, and see the world, at the same time that I’m maintaining the kind of awareness that meditation brings. In fact, I have some doubts about the value of the sitting-on-the-cushion kind of meditation. If that kind of meditation really worked, there would be millions of Buddhist monks all over the world who were enlightened already, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. What I believe in is our ability to maintain mindfulness, no matter what’s happening, when that’s appropriate for the situation, and to drop the meditative awareness and just get things done in the world when that’s appropriate.

Instead of trying to sit on a cushion and feel peaceful, which is just about impossible in actual practice (your mind doesn’t ever stop feeding you thoughts, feelings and ideas, no matter what you do) real meditation is about engaging with what’s really there: listening to your thoughts — without engaging with them, yes, but still watching what they’re doing, without judgment, but simply being aware of them, letting them pass through you. Or you listen to your body: the sense of tension in your back or your neck, or the tingling on your hand, or whatever. The thing is to just be there and let it happen. Meditation is not about feeling peaceful. It is about simply observing what is really happening, with the result (not a goal that you are trying to force yourself to achieve, but simply the result) that you come to be detached from it all at the same time that you are genuinely engaged with it — involved without ever being caught up in it. You see it all without being captured.

And in dealing with my own internal voice, the voice of the parasite, what I have done is to simply let it talk, talk, talk, just as Buddhism says, and I listen without really ever believing what it has to say — at least not until I have let myself just look at it, then let it sink into my heart and be tested by my own deeper sense of what is real. That sense of what is real seems to come from that earlier-existing part of the brain, the one that was there before we developed the power of speech. That is the voice that I can really trust, even if it is always silent.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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Eric Coates
Eric Coates is a voicehearer who has resisted psychiatry, psychiatric drugs, and psychiatric definitions of what the psychiatrically afflicted and psychotically afflicted experience in many dimensions, which he explores through personal, mostly nonfiction stories and blog posts informed by his experiences both in and out of psychiatric institutions, including confinement, forced treatment and drugging, and personal and psychological supervision. He rejects the broad and indiscriminate use of state and local power over the psychiatrically diagnosed and voicehearing populations.


  1. Lately I’ve felt distracted, though, I think I could more accurately be described as divided. Now, I’m able to think and move through my competing desires and goals, and the liberation that affords me is life-saving to me, in every moment of every day. The guidance of personal voices is a threat to psychiatry and to mainstream life, in general. As I labor to care for the balance which sustains my well-being, I am dreadfully aware of society’s depth of loathing for my independence. Thank you, Eric, for sharing the truths that many of us live through and live by, in resolve and compulsory silence.

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    • I hope that you do well. I am a REAL voicehearer — all day, every day, at times — so I know how painful and troubling and hopeless it can all seem. I do truly hope that you get to the other side of it all. I have, at least for now, and I wouldn’t want anyone to get stuck there. Good luck, and God bless.

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    • I’m not interested in “promotion,” as it were (not to denigrate what you’re about, if that’s what you do), but I would certainly be happy to get out there and help the voicehearing cause. I’m also interested in psychology in general, so I would be happy to talk. I will email very soon with my own contact information.

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  2. I can tell that you are also another psych-ward survivor, or at least another one of us from the streets. We are a special breed, that’s for sure.

    I think of myself as being bilingual. I can talk psychotic or I can talk normal. I love talking to psychotics. I love talking to normal people too. Anyway, I really appreciate the poetry. It’s great. I have a whole wall here at home of psych ward art. It’s great. And I can talk in rhyme all day long, just like a rapper. It’s fun. Tiring, but fun.

    Good luck out there. It’s a crazy world.

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  3. This article covers topics I wonder about. I often notice something of a narration when I am not talking or reading or playing media depicting the words of others. When there are no words to see or hear, my brain often picks up the slack.

    There was a time a few years back, before I knew about psychiatric drugs’ extreme effects, when I could sense that the source of the narration was the part of my brain that Eric’s parasite inhabits in his. It didn’t seem like a separate being. It was more like the end of a continuum from dreaming (marked by the absence of narration) to wakefulness and the attendant awareness of history, future, actions and consequences. It was caused by the extreme effects of psychiatric drugs. Now I know.

    It happened during a period on transdermal methylphenidate and oral amphetamine salts for ADHD, diagnosed after a few years of unsatisfactory wrangling with psychiatrists and drugs, which started when my well-founded anxiety about my oncologist’s decisions was deemed pathological and Effexor was prescribed…and ingested. ADHD was the least inharmonious of the labels applied to my intolerance of SSRIs, SNRIs, Abilify, et al., so I embraced it for its verification of my essential soundness of mind.

    On multimodal 24/7 assault by speed, I began to experience transitions between what I called “talking brain” and (out of fanciful, partially informed ignorance, believing it to be seated in the legendary pineal gland, which isn’t even part of the brain despite being enveloped by brain tissue), “Pinea.” I experienced or perceived my brain as concentric hollow spheres and believed that Talking Brain was seated in the outermost one, which corresponds to the cortex. There were times when I registered the remarkable fact that I’d been free of the usual narration for hours, which was bliss.

    I am sure that any doctor who understood my mind would have diagnosed psychosis, which would have been horrendous. Though it all led to financial ruin, the path was indirect. It wasn’t so much my inability to pay bills while in that state as the desperate moves I made once I resumed the usual way of living as the captive audience of Talking Brain, which occurred not long after I ran out of drugs. Until then, my mind got to be itself and experience wonderment without posing questions about its source or future availability.

    While the drug supply held, which was a few weeks, I lived happily in the converted attic of my house, with roommates below unaware of my condition, or possibly aware but untroubled. I strongly disliked transitions back to Talking Brain. (I didn’t notice transitions back to Pinea, which were sort of like falling asleep. Only Talking Brain could notice those; if it did, transition failed.)

    I could read and write without transitioning back to TB, but talking, or threat of talking caused by a phone ringing, caused an immediate shift accompanied by impatience and irritation. I exchanged many chat messages with a guy I’d met before a couple of weeks before I started experiencing my consciousness in two modes. There’s a transcript of my swan song, during which I narrated, via chat, the amazing sense of moving among my brain’s layers of concentric hollow spheres. Alas, it reads as gibberish, but I still remember the experiences I was trying to describe. He implored me to “get help” and eventually backed away, which is understandable.

    I’d do it again if I could, if someone could run my business while I was unable to. It’s the latter requirement that proves to be the sticking point. I’d hired a CPA to receive income and disburse payments before it started, because I was growing less and less tolerant of anything that required concentration, and didn’t care to figure out why. He fobbed the work off on his unqualified brother, who berated my clients, lost paperwork, and didn’t pay bills. The guy I used to chat with soon fell obsessively in love, online, with someone who wouldn’t send her picture or allow a visit, he told me later. It was the kind of online love affair that anyone but he could tell was some kind of scam.

    The CPA, his brother, and my new friend, representing sane world, were no more realistic or effective than I was as a representative of my world, but of the four of us, only I would have been deprived of liberty had it all come to light. That’s the price one is at risk of paying when deaf to the “talking brain.”

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    • Psychosis is a hell of an experience, isn’t it? Glad you made it through. I’m psychotic all day long, every day, but it’s manageable for me most of the time. I would go back to “normal” any day, because it does get pretty exhausting. Nevertheless it’s a pretty remarkable thing to experience, and I wouldn’t be the same person without it. In fact, the old me is long gone. I hope you get a chance to revisit if you want.

      I know: who says that? But psychosis is a hell of a trip, and if it isn’t too horrifying, it’s something that everyone should experience at least once. There’s nothing like it.

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  4. Hi Eric,

    It’s nice to see you again. I find this article very interesting. I like the description “parasite”.

    Before I saw your article I was looking at these videos on mindfulness from John Kabat-Zinn (and big think) , (and before this, I was thinking about the things I should change in my life).





    And Deepak Chopra was further down and he says:- that we can ignore our thoughts because these thoughts are socially conditioned – they are not our own!

    Mindfulness seems to me to go in the direction of detachment, but I think detachment from obligation ideation is the last thing the community would want for people.

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    • Hi Fiachra,
      Funny idea that of Chopra – my thoughts aren’t my own? They just happened to appear in my mind? There are all kinds of ideas and thoughts floating out in the world, but only certain ones ended up in my head, and not others. Why? I would hazard a guess that there’s some kind of resonance between the thoughts “out there” that wound up in my mind, and “my self” which somehow attracted those thoughts. I might end up rejecting them, but I think it would be helpful to try to figure out how those thoughts got into my head in the first place. I don’t think it’s helpful to pretend that I’m above it all, that I can sit and meditate and just disown all the “bad thoughts” that “aren’t part of me.” I think it’s just self-deception and haven’t we all met some of those meditative types who are so self-righteous but their character traits are just awful, when put to the test?

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        • I don’t want to intrude on your own personal discussion here, but there is actually a Buddhist theory that the mind itself is the sixth sense. In other words, there is vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell, all of which come from the outside world. Buddhism — Tibetan Buddhism, at least — says that the mind is also a sense organ. We don’t know where our thoughts come from. They just appear and disappear. And in this sense, they are just like the other senses. We can’t explain where it comes from, what it’s really doing, or where it will go. The mind, the thought process, is in other words just another sense organ. So: are you responsible for your own thoughts? Do you create them? Probably not.

          So good luck with it all, and I hope you have a good discussion about it all.

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          • thanks for the clarification. i don’t know much about eastern schools of thought. maybe this is one of the places where they diverge from the western ways? especially since quantum physics shows how things are basically all interconnected, whereas Buddhism is more about how everything is an illusion (a gross oversimplification i know). So, in western thought, if you see something, it’s because you looked at it – the actual looking is what “creates” the object. by extension, thinking something would create the thought.
            Jewish Kabbalah teaches that “a person is where his thoughts lie,” and that a person has the power – and responsibility – to control his thoughts. maybe not to stop things popping into our heads the first time, but certainly to not dwell on certain things. And it seems kind-of obvious that, for instance, a murderer will think the kinds of thoughts that a nice, kind person won’t.

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  5. Thanks for an amazing post, one of the best I’ve read on MIA. I think that you’ve pretty much summed up mental “illness” here, as well as the way to move towards real mental/emotional health.
    I’d just take issue with one thing: I wouldn’t call the “voice” a parasite. I admit I’ve never heard actual voices, just the “normal” running commentary that most if not all of us have going on within. But I think – correct me if I’m wrong – that it’s basically the same idea.
    I’d prefer to call the voice/commentary the “inner teacher.” Although we might need to reject much of what it’s saying, it tells us an awful lot about ourselves, where we’re going wrong, and where we’re going right too. For example, if I have a voice telling me that “You should have bought him a present – you really messed up there,” then I can discover my ideas about what “should” means to me, what “messing up” means, what my real values are right now, and then, I can think about where I want to go from there.
    I don’t think that we can get in touch with our “real selves” without owning these voices too – because we are all composed of parts, each motivated by different things. Let’s say the inner core (what some call soul) is motivated by truth, love, giving… But we can’t access it without peeling off the outer layers/voices. And we can’t peel off those layers without owning them first. Pretending they’re “not part of me” isn’t going to help. That’s probably the origin of my husband’s psychosis, all the projecting he does, because he doesn’t know how to own his flaws without rejecting himself totally.
    Someone wise once told me something very powerful: We should love our flaws, because they were given to us in order to make us great. The athlete doesn’t hate his barbells – he loves them, because by pushing against them, he gets stronger. Every time we answer back to the voices, pushing back the honor-seeking, the empty desires, the lusts for money or power, we get stronger and closer to our goal of being integrated human beings, proud possessors of soul-truths.
    It’s also important to remember the positive side to voices. If I have a voice telling me that I’m not measuring up to some ethical standard, then great! I know that I’m a person who is striving for good things; it just needs to be modified a bit.
    In my spiritual tradition, the “tendency to evil” is also called “good” precisely because of all of this – because we can learn from it how to refine ourselves and become truly great. Because there is no independent evil force in the universe – everything was created for good, and every voice has its part to play.

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    • First of all, although I am an actual voicehearer, I am not talking about “voices.” I am talking about the same voice that you and I have both heard in our own heads. Second, I thank you that you think I have actually summed up a lot of what’s hurting people. I’m glad about that.

      But to move on to the rest of what you have to say. YOUR internal voice may very well be different from mine. Yours may be helpful in some ways, just as my own was very, very helpful in some ways. And hurtful in some ways. But it really is not the same thing as who I feel I am. I am very much that deeper sense of my own self, and not the other thing that is talking to me. Your own internal voice seems to be more constructive than mine was. Even in my the realms of my own hypothesis, there is a lot of room for variation. Perhaps those of us who are loners, who are writers, who are a little bit too selfish — and I have been all of those things — don’t have a parasite that is quite as benign and helpful as other people might have? Perhaps you are pointing something out here that I hadn’t thought of — our human variation. Perhaps for some people it is not a parasite, but merely symbiotic. I can accept that idea. It’s a good one.

      However, I will have to disagree with you about “it’s not part of me.” I am quite confident that this thing that used to talk in my head was NOT, quite clearly, part of the me that is part of my deeper awareness. No. Not at all, and that’s not trying to disown it. It just wasn’t me, and I remember quite clearly how it has tried to impose itself on me. So maybe you actually have a symbiotic relationship with it, while mine is a little more . . . predatory. It might be just human variation. Or maybe it’s the Devil — that snake which is the power of speech — coming in to hurt us.

      I appreciate your idea of how evil actually serves what is good. That is a very old idea, actually, that comes from at least the time of the middle ages. In Dante’s Inferno, the Devil is trapped at the bottom of Hell, which is not made of fire, actually, but of ice. The worst traitors — and the Devil is a traitor, to God Himself — are trapped in this ice at the bottommost layer of Hell. And the Devil, who was an angel at one time, still has wings. And as he flaps his wings, trying to escape the ice, he also creates such a powerful wind that it cools the ice and keeps it frozen. That is how it all works. The evil that we do keeps us trapped in evil, simply because of who we are. And the good that we do also frees us to do more good, because that is who we are.

      The voice inside is also a part of that. I’m glad to have talked to you. I hope we meet again.

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      • Yes, i think it’s a Christian idea, that evil/the Devil exists independently of God. In the earlier Jewish thought, evil is God’s servant and has no independent power. If it did, then there would be two gods, fighting it out.
        I understand what you’re writing that the thoughts weren’t part of your deeper awareness. I think that’s what I was trying to say, or what I meant, but I didn’t express myself very well. What I meant is that we can only really access this deeper awareness by peeling off the layers of thoughts that obscure it. So are the thoughts part of us? What exactly are we comprised of anyway? Who was it that made that nasty comment that I regret afterwards? Certainly not my higher self. But it wasn’t imposed on me by “outside forces” either. Who is the “me” who decides whether to act based on my higher self, or based on my lower impulses? I don’t really know, but I feel intuitively that all the parts of me, everything that happens to me – it’s all there for a purpose, a good one.
        Thanks for the great discussion!

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        • This is a very interesting discussion. I would be curious to know: are you a voicehearer? It sounds like you aren’t, since it is easier to discount the idea of an outside force when you haven’t been exposed to things like voices that you can clearly tell are NOT your own, and then you see enough things in the outside world that cannot be easily accounted for by the usual empirical world. Especially when the voices either tell you that something going to happen, or tell you what to do, and then when you do it, something extraordinary happens.

          I’m also not sure about the stripping layers away part. I think that’s a very deceptive metaphor that comes out of an outdated (i.e., we’ve grown past that conception of things) form of psychology. They’ve been talking about a “subconscious,” for instance, since long before either you or I were born. Yet there is no scientific proof for its existence at all. So: we can build nuclear reactors and spaceships headed to Mars, but we just haven’t found where this subconscious is located in the brain? I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it. There are things we do that are NOT conscious, but I don’t think there’s a real SUBconscious, if you know what I mean.

          When you talk about “stripping thoughts away,” I think what you’re really talking about is learning to do 2 things. 1) You learn to see through what that prefrontal cortex (what I call the parasite) is saying, and this is what we achieve when we become mindful, whether that’s through the Buddhist tradition or the Jewish tradition or, hell, you just learn it on your own. Buddhists say that some people are just naturally enlightened and they never need to learn about it at all; it just comes naturally. And the other thing I think that you’re really talking about is 2) how hardwired many of our thoughts and habits are, right in our brain structure, and that you can learn to spot what’s there. For instance, I have what is now an instinctive reaction to much of life that is to simply relax about it. Yet when I was younger, I had a lot (and I mean a lot) of social anxiety and fear about the bigger world and about school. What I did was teach myself, through many years of effort, to basically just shake it off. It is almost impossible for anything to make me worry any more. And that was basically just a case of rewiring my own brain so that it doesn’t do the same thing any more. These are not “layers” after all. In no way does the brain resemble an onion. It’s more like a circuit board, where you can solder new connections into place.

          Anyway, sorry for the long ramble, but the subject interests me. Nice talking, and thanks for the thoughtful responses.

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  6. As I read fast and scan things, I cannot claim that words by words I agree with you. But for those parts that I got, and it is a big part, I know your account true.

    It is a parasite but could be stronger than the host, the victim.

    In occasions it kills the person or it commands to the victim to kill other people and meanwhile the victim might lose his life obeying the command.

    If not it fully cripple and enslave the host into that stupid constant performance. There are many examples but the famous one is say John Nash who had such a powerful ‘brain’ and lived dysfunction for best decades of his life.

    Surprisingly, mainstream psychiatry is not interested to study such a fascinating creature.

    The humble idea that I can suggest is that this parasite is universal and its performance is not related to the biography of the person. It could be that it become created due to the biography of victim, such as the host being himself victim of harsh abuse and trauma, but then the parasite has a similar performance. This proposition is somehow needs clarification which is beyond the scope of a comment.

    Briefly host should not accept that he has done something wrong that has been inflicted with such unproportioned punishment.

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    • I really do agree with most of what you say. I’m not sure about the lacking accountability part — not being held responsible for what you do — because society does, after all, need to protect itself from harmful human beings who might prey on or hurt others, and punishment (and attempted reform) is sometimes necessary if society IS going to protect itself. Aside from that, I agree with you.

      Thanks for responding!

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  7. Thanks for the article and describing how you experience “voices” in the head.
    I don’t agree with everything written, but I find it always interesting to read how different people experience these, I call them “phenomena”.
    I think there is a difference between possible “negative-self talk” and possible deceptive external voices talking to oneself.
    I also don’t believe in Darwins’ evolution theory nor that the pre-frontal cortex is necessarily the source of the voices and that it is therefore a parasite, if I understood you correctly.
    Not saying that this is what is happening to you, but then there also exists technology to put voices into ones head via “voice-to-skull” technology and other ways.

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    • I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear exactly what I was writing about. I was NOT addressing the subject of the kinds of voices that voicehearers hear. Those are entirely different from that voice that EVERYONE has inside them, which sounds like your own voice talking to you. That is an entirely different affair. Also, I am not at all in agreement with the idea that voices (plural, as in voicehearers, not “normal” people) come from inside. I very much believe in God, for instance, and that he can talk to you and sometimes does. I believe that my voices are external, not internal. But I will be getting to that subject on my blog in another week or two, or whenever the editors choose to publish it. I hope you will find more to agree with in that one.

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  8. Eric,

    thank you for being forthright about the basis to your conclusion: evolution. If I were a better philosopher, I’d probably try to debate material determinism which seems to be the driving foundation of evolution, the bio-medical model of mental health and now I guess your parasitic view of voices among many other beliefs. It’s not normal for most writers to come right out and say, “This is my philosophical foundation and from there I came to this conclusion.” Instead we debate symptomatic beliefs and never realize that the underlying philosophical positions are the reason for such vastly different opinions and why we never can come to any sort of agreement because we aren’t using the same starting points.

    I reject biological evolution and the material determinism that drives it, and thus I have a difficult time accepting your parasitic view of voices. My wife has d.i.d. Her experience taught me to learn to listen to my voices. I taught her to embrace her voices (the other girls) and helped her see the meaning and context of each of them as they are learning to live in harmony. I see meaning and context in mine as well.

    Vestigial organs were once touted as a great sign of the veracity of biological evolution. What they really were was a testament to the ignorance of the people espousing the concept. One by one we discovered the very important function of each ‘vestigial organ’ until now there are very few that someone will use to bolster the evolutionary argument. It would appear that your argument has a similar basis. You don’t understand your voices so you will blame them on some kind of vestigial origin of the prefrontal cortex.

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    • I like that phrase “symptomatic beliefs.” I hope I remember that one.

      However, I hope I can dissuade you from the idea that I think that ALL voices are evolution-based developments of the brain. I believe that our own internal voice, the one that everyone has, is from evolution, but that voices, so-called — the kind that voicehearers hear in addition to the usual voice — is NOT evolution-based.

      Think of it this way: God let us develop on our own (you might call that free will, although I don’t really think of it in those exact terms) and that then he might decide to pick a few people here and there to talk to himself. Or to have other beings talk to. I really do not believe that ALL voices are from our own brains. In fact, I’m pretty confident that it’s very different from that.

      Thanks for your comments. Glad to hear that you’re doing well with it all.

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  9. Eric, Thanks for connecting in such a way to notice what’s going on. I’m looking forward to “hearing” more from you! 🙂 There is beginning to be so much more pointing in this direction you write about. Someone told me once that words were created for a substitute for pointing. Like “go there” or “see that” or “that’s interesting”. Now we’re pointing at our Selves with the type of realizations you’re having.

    The content of what you’re speaking has been “pointed” at from another point of view by a guy named John Mace. He noticed that these things that aren’t us were put there through trauma and he coins the term “Causism”. It was caused as energy. We don’t like that feeling and so we resist it. But by resisting it we don’t get “through” it. We have to do something with it, so we create a story about it. From there it creates a whole identity and it’s termed a negative identity. And we live under it’s will from there on out. That is until John figured it out and came up with a way to dis-create them with an unbelievably simple procedure. The work has been sort of trapped in Australia until recently. I’d enjoy connecting you with one of the founders. I think you’d have an interesting conversation!

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  10. I’ve always thought — or at least I have in recent years, since I got old enough to think about it and had a reason to question what voices really are — that it was basically a case of words developing as a grunt to get another hominid’s attention, and then pointing. And then after a while they realized that there was no need to point. They could just grunt in the right way, and it got the whole job done.

    I’d be happy to check out what you say about John Mace if you could send me a good link. You probably know some.

    Good luck!

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  11. Thanks Eric for coming back and writing. Thanks to other commenters also.
    I wonder how many other people out there who have heard mostly unwanted voices ,seemingly coming from outside themselves for decades with little reprieve , for me over 30 years , have successfully figured out for themselves, through their own explorations with crucial info from others or not , how to no longer hear voices? ( and also finally free from the pharma industrial complex and their “products” for 5 or 10 years or more) Certainly they have traveled mostly alone through uncharted territory. It would be interesting to see these stories compiled .
    The voices I heard would most always soon speed up so fast and soften in volume so I was left trying to make sense of , fill in words , and try to guess what they were saying to me .Really annoying .I thought someone else was trying to communicate with me or I was hearing other people’s thoughts as if I wasn’t insulated from others . Also had serious trouble trying to sleep for most of my life .Of course I had” mi vida loca time” with the psych complex and their “products” including electricity.
    Here’s the short version .(I’m sure there can be various causes or combinations of causes for unwanted hearing of voices and variations in how the voices manifest) I used my disability income plus intermittent work to fund my search out of my discomfort. It took decades of experiments with” first do no harm as a guideline “. Ultimately I got family financial help for my last experiment which absolutely dramatically worked. Went to an advanced dentist trained by Hal Huggins, had 15 mercury fillings removed , 2 root canals removed , was checked for cavitations . Finally ended with one tooth in my mouth ,a right upper back molar that was filled with a composite . The advanced protocol dentist said the panoramic x-ray showed it was just fine . I was afraid to tell anyone even the dentist . I was now hearing gonging sounds in my right ear and head like when a martial arts movie on TV sometimes begins or ends. This was happening even when I went into the woods with only wilderness around . I knew the sound was coming from inside me. I asked the dentist” would you remove that last molar for me ?” He said ,” There’s nothing wrong with it , but you don’t really need it , if you want i’ll remove it for you “.I said ” yes I want it out “. To his surprise and mine after he removed the tooth he said that directly under the tooth was a big pocket of pus . He said he was surprised that the panoramic x-ray did not pick up the infection under the tooth . He scrapped it out using advanced protocol. I have well fitting false plastic dentures now . I couldn’t afford cubic zirconia posts with high tech inert ceramic teeth as is done at the Paracelsus Klinic in Switzerland supervised by Dr. Rau. This final adventure in survival cost $6000. Now no voices , no gongs . I am still sensitive to low frequency sounds from outside myself ,like from near by power lines ,and handle that with white noise like from a fan . Probably caused by 15 electro shocks forced on me when I was a teenager .
    I believe that it’s the realization of a dream , ” Sweet are the thoughts that savor of content , the quiet mind is richer than a crown . ” Even at the age of 70 . And no sleep trouble anymore.
    By the way Chris Shade PHD and founder of Quicksilver Scientific who himself had 17 mercury fillings ( size does matter) says that 1 in 15 people can’t excrete mercury from their body.It does get into the brain . 200,000,000 people in the USA have so called silver amalgams in their mouths . Actually they are 53% mercury. Do the math and remember the rest of the billions of people on the planet. And don’t forget mercury concentrating in some species of fish, coal burning releasing mercury and other industries ,and our “old favorite” the medical profession injecting poison concoctions plus aluminum and mercury compounds straight into the bloodstream of even infants. That’s a small piece of my take.
    I feel like Columbo the tv detective . Anyway I noticed quite a time ago in me that the inner throat ever slightly moves whenever thoughts or voices occur and mentally stopping the movement can stop thought or the voice for as long as you give it attention so a break from the action can be got. Take care all.

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    • I believe that God created a physical universe. And in a physical universe, there are many things that can happen that affect our spiritual universe, which is also physical. And I do believe, quite sincerely, that it is possible that mercury fillings, or even a bad tooth, can cause you to have interactions with a so-called “spiritual universe” that might have been giving you trouble. I hope that you are truly feeling better now, and that you sleep the sleep of the blessed. I’m sorry that it took me so long to reply to your post, but I haven’t been paying close attention to this one for a while. My best to you.

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  12. A mind made upon denial asserts itself as a cover story or surface awareness of masking persona.
    In a sense then, this ‘mind’ is a construct within whatever consciousness actually is, that operates as part of our adaptation as a self within a world of lovelessness, conflict, threat. We all have ‘separation trauma’ that is to more or less degree kept unconscious by ‘psychological defences’ as our way to hide from as well as a way to mask what is running underneath.

    The mind of fig-leaf thinking masks over a sense of shame or lack in ‘nakedness’ of being – just as in the story of the emperor who had no clothes. “But who told you you were naked?” sayeth the Lord” – because self-consciousness in shame, self-judgement and inhibition of love is not the created Self – but an imaged construct of learned and accepted thought at odds with our original or true nature – and so feels dissonant.
    The attempt to get rid of rejected, hated or feared aspects of our self is what gives them power – hence Jesus says “resist ye not evil” or in modern terms; “dont feed the troll!”. Trying to get rid of such thinking will take all the time you give it to think some more.

    The attempt to suppress and deny our feeling or thought is reflected in the symptom of feeling ourself denied. Perhaps we see the outer symptom as if it is the cause, and while we believe that we will live that – but I hold that we have it backwards and as a result are trying to resolve inner conflict of psychic-emotional (communication) breakdown in outer terms – which not only cannot really work but also loses real relationship to the mind that projects the past onto it so as to re-enact its themes.

    The idea that part of the whole can split off and go rogue – and become an enemy or parasite upon the whole is the theme of the Fall as the basis of the sense of ‘independent self creation’ imposed uponit was free will! Free will asserted as the idea of separate creative mind in its own ‘thinking’ – without which it felt a guilt or loss of self in ‘naked being’.

    But guilt is a faulty formulation of reality as a result of the dissonance of mind attempting to be what it is not – taking over functions that are not within its ability and neglecting the function that is. Loss of love, light and power to a sense of limitation and isolation in struggle in the dark – where the mind that set this off is then called upon and used to save us from fear and pain of loss. And so a sense of asserting control over Mind leads to a split mind that spins in its own thinking – as part of the thinking of the world of such experience. Because our thinking is also like a tuner on a radio/tv that accesses the channel of its vibrational frequency.

    Fear thinking has been called amygdala capture – where the fight or flight of survival response of the sympathetic nervous system – runs as the suppression and usurping of energy and attention to triggered fear – but persists beyond its need as a perpetual state of threat or ‘war’ such that the parasympathetic response (the balancing and healing of stress) is undermined and blocked.

    Perhaps some of this resonates. In practical terms to our now, reaction is a learned habit of response from the basis of who we believe we are – without checking in to see whether the belief is in fact resonant and in alignment with who we now feel and know and accepts ourselves to be. So to pause from reaction to notice thinking and feelings opens the way to allow an innocent curiosity to move in desire to know the true as a basis from which to live – rather than running on past conditioned or acquired beliefs that no longer serve you.

    I am wary of anything added onto “I am” – such as I am or I am anti because definitions generate limited and limiting identity. So I would not box myself in but learn to use language – and my mind – in ways that leave everything open to ongoing discovery. And so I give the freedom to others that I want for myself – for that is how to keep it in awareness. The mind can explore AS IF – in trying out any idea, belief or self-definition as part of uncovering a good fit for who I am the being and sharing of now. But if I forget it is a dress rehearsal I engage within its terms as if it is real.

    The ‘parasitic’ mind is evidenced in the human insanity running a world in which ‘everything is backwards’. But I see beneath the appearance of evil agencies is the way fear and guilt usurp our Right-minded sanity to work against joy in being. So while I address ‘the evils of the day thereof’, it is within the context of the call to joy – in any or every moment of noticing – because that free awareness is where I actually have choice – while in the ‘thinking’ I know what is going on, habit runs an illusion of choice.

    The voice in the heart is of a silence that my mind can learn to give way to and align in, follow and give form to. I didn’t say it as ‘my’ heart because the possessive sense of ‘me’ can substitute what it thinks for truly felt, because true feelings are associated with loss of ‘control’ or of rejection and abandonment from others and so a sense of a need for control operates as if a parasite upon its own being – which is really a call to relax and release what is out of true – but can be used as a basis for persisting in self-conflict as if the judged-against or invalid part must be eradicated or denied by force – which winds up the mechanism to persist in resisting. But what exactly?

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