The Voice in Your Head: Reshaping Our Understanding of ‘Mental Illness’ – & Consciousness Itself

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From The New Statesman: “[Charles] Fernyhough leads the Hearing the Voice project at Durham University, which since 2012 has been conducting interdisciplinary research into voice-hearing with a deliberately broad focus: it examines such phenomena as the inner voices heard by writers as they try to capture their characters on the page, the hallucinations experienced by people who have taken the psychedelic ayahuasca, or the voices heard by some Christians. Fernyhough is interested in the links between voice-hearing and our inner speech, the internal voice you might hear as you read these words, the other thoughts that might be running through your mind as you do so. What we term our ‘inner monologue’ is often a lively conversation: you might issue instructions or encouragement or rebuke yourself; you can be at once the speaker and the listener, the prosecutor and the accused.

Could it be, Fernyhough wonders, that people who hear voices are processing this inner speech differently? Could trauma cause a person to disassociate from parts of themselves, to misattribute some of this inner speech to some external being? Certainly, our inner speech suggests that our modern self image, as singular, rational and unitary beings, is unrealistic. And it’s possible, then, that the science of voice-hearing promises not only to unlock our understanding of ‘mental illness’ but also to shed light on everyday consciousness, allowing us all to see ourselves more clearly.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. “I needed to feel that our closeness had manifested itself as some kind of quantum entanglement, so that her spirit was speaking to mine. Perhaps I needed to feel my loss was something extraordinary.”

    When I was healing from my anticholinergic toxidrome induced “voices,” and going through my drug withdrawal induced “super sensitivity manic psychosis,” which functioned as an awakening to my dreams. An ethical pastor told me “some people can’t pray in private.” And, given the number of (Holy Spirit blaspheming) “mental health” workers, who mistakenly thought I was not sleeping, and “keeping” my “child up late at night studying,” which I wasn’t doing. I’d say it’s possible some people can’t dream in private either.

    There are those who believe in the collective unconscious, or the concept that “we are one in the Spirit one in the Lord.” And my childhood church’s mission statement is, “Go out and get everyone else with love and the word of God,” which is supposedly what my subconscious self did, according to the story of my dreams.

    Who knows? Maybe there is some kind of quantum entanglement between us humans. I’m a Chagall fan, because his work largely describes my life and dreams, as if I were one of his muses. Chagall’s work is about a love story amongst all of humanity, as is the story of my dreams. Chagall was a Jew, who survived the Nazi psychiatric holocaust of the Jews. I survived today’s – all Western civilization – psychiatric holocaust. We’re both artists, and I am a woman “with a VERY religious name to the Jews.” So, whose to say, it’s impossible that Chagall and I aren’t friends within a collective unconscious? Plus, I can largely tell my life’s story in the lyrics of music, as if I were a muse for musicians. All bizarre, I agree, but not bothersome for me. It’s just embarrassing for the scientifically “invalid” “mental health” workers, who want to keep all their sins private.

    “Sister Christian,” and I’ve done a lot of “motorin'”
    “Material Girl,” oh the mistakes we made as a young person
    “We are the champions,” my friends, since we have the truth on our side
    “She’s a brick house,” I owned a brick house (5 flat) in Chicago
    “Up on the roof,” it had a very nice roof top deck, with a beautiful view of Chicago
    “Putting on the Ritz,” which is where I got married
    “Dream weaver,” with a bunch of train wreck stories, since that’s the most common cause of death on both sides of my family
    “Runaway Train,” how one feels after being railroaded by “mental health” workers
    “Russian roulette is not the same without a gun,” right psychiatrists?
    “The great escape,” thankfully I did escape
    “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and a lot of research allows one to find the medical proof of the iatrogenic etiology of the “sacred symbol of psychiatry,” which is embarrassing for the systemic child abuse covering up “mental health” workers.
    “Killing me softly,” “strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words…”

    The list of songs that seemingly describes the story of my life and dreams goes on and on. How dare a Christian woman believes in God, and that there’s something more than just the material world. And it is a story, it’s just not a “credible fictional story,” as my idiot psychiatrist believed.

    Indeed, “Reshaping Our Understanding of ‘Mental Illness’– & Consciousness Itself” is likely a good idea.

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