Listen. No, not to me – to yourself. What voices do you hear? What do they say? Words? Or complete sentences? Are these different voices? Are they all male or female? Or some of them are male and some are female? Do they talk to each other? Do they argue? What does it feel like? Like just a verbal reflex that responds to images and sounds in your head? Or a desire to analyze what you are experiencing right here and right now?
Many people want others to listen to them, yet they never bother to listen to themselves. Many people want others to see them as “who they are”, yet they never bother to ask themselves “who am I and what makes me me?” They dissolve themselves in the crowd, align their personality to whatever the crowd considers “normal”, yet they are desperately clinging to their “identity” (which is a layered set of cliches that they think makes them “unique”). I used to be one of them.
Once I was quite good at having many friends. At some point, I had so many friends that it was hard to maintain enough contact with each one of them so that I could even call them friends. Sometimes someone would come up to me, offer a handshake, say “Hi!”, then tell me where they last met me and what I told them then, while I still wasn’t sure if I had ever even seen them before. This was just getting beyond ridiculousness. The second problem was that the more people were there around me, the further my skills at being with people face to face deteriorated – regardless to whether I knew them or not. Difficulties started showing up as I tried to pretend there was no such problem at all, and every time I would have to talk to someone in private, I couldn’t get rid of the unpleasant feeling that there was nobody else to fill in the silence or switch the talk to a different point whenever it would take a clumsy turn. Then I started having problems with being left alone with myself. Once I’d stop hearing people talk, there was a complete silence in my head. Not a single word would pop up in my head if there wasn’t anyone nearby to say it to. But one bright morning I woke up with a thought that I could say things to… myself. And it didn’t take long until I started hearing replies from inside my head.
It wasn’t like my mind started falling apart. Instead, I got rid of the illusion that it was solid, and revealed that there’s so much to explore even when I’m alone in a small hotel room where there’s not even a radio – let alone a TV set. It’s when I started discovering other personalities sharing the same brain with me, my understanding of those ones who see the world through a different pair of eyes started evolving.
It doesn’t matter for me now how many ears hear my voice. Today, what I really care about is how many minds understand what I say. And at this point I always think: “we” are not “me”. “We” are not “him” or “her” either. Society is a process, not a conscious creature. It can do something that you can interpret as a message, and sometimes such message is delivered by certain individuals. But it’s not something or someone you can communicate with. It has no mind to reach out for in the first place. It has no feelings. It has no consciousness that makes sense to communication, as well as to other forms of self expression. Nobody wants to talk to inanimate objects (unless it’s done for “rehearsal” purposes). And nobody wants to be talked to like an inanimate object. People are people, not “society”.