What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself? - Deepstash

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What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself?

http://nautil.us/issue/30/identity/what-happens-when-you-cant-talk-to-yourself

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What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself?
Silence:Phillips participates in an aphasia communication workshop in Speechless, a documentary by Guillermo F. Flórez that profiles…

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Losing your inner monologue

Losing your inner monologue

Your inner monologue is where you tell yourself, "I don't want to get up yet," or "This is a tasty burger."

Aphasia from Ancient Greek means "without speech." Typically aphasia occurs after a stroke. Reduced blood flow or bleeding causes brain cells to start dying, but the neural transmitters signal the brain's neurons to keep firing, even as they starve from lack of oxygen. Any brain cells killed during this time can't come back.

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The damage of aphasia

The damage of aphasia tends to be in two brain areas, the Broca's area in the posterior left prefrontal cortex, and Wernicke's area, the posterior left temporal cortex.

  • In Brocha's aphasia, people have problems with fluency, mixing the order of the words, and ignoring grammar.
  • In Wernicke's aphasia, the language becomes confused or even nonsense. It can also limit fluency and word formation.
  • Global aphasia describes a severe loss of the ability to communicate or understand language.

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The relationship between language and the self

One of the effects of aphasia is losing the ability to talk with yourself. The inner monologue disappears, leaving you unable to process your own thoughts.

The ability to speak with oneself is vital for forming emotions, processing memories, and predicting the future. Internal silence can be described as a total loss of identity.

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Recovery from aphasia

Higher consciousness can survive without an internal monologue. Some degree of recovery from aphasia is possible. The brain has a higher degree of neural plasticity than once understood.

Although language is part of personal identity, it doesn't define the self.

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The thoughts in your mind

The thoughts in your mind

We are so intimate with our thoughts that we never really stop to pay close attention to our wandering minds. When we do look at our thoughts, they turn out to be more interesting than we imagined....

Inner experiences

There are five categories of inner experiences:

  • Inner speaking, which comes in many forms
  • Inner seeing, which comes from things you've seen in real life or imaginary visuals
  • Feeling, such as happiness or anger
  • Sensory awareness, like being aware of the feeling of a carpet
  • Unsymbolized thinking, which is a thought that doesn't manifest as words or images.

Different inner voices

Most of us are aware of the internal dialogue – rather than a monologue - where we talk to someone inside our head. Often, that other voice is another aspect of ourselves.


There are four kinds of inner voices: the faithful friend, the ambivalent parent, the proud rival, and the helpless child. We might adopt these different roles to help ourselves get through situations.

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A mind without language

A mind without language

It isn't easy to imagine our mind without language. We can't think, plan, or relate to other people if we lack words to structure our ideas.

Bertrand Russel stated that the task of ...

Language and acquiring information

Take language away, and the amount of information you can acquire decreases.

Many deaf children born into hearing families live in a world unable to communicate properly. They are never exposed to abstract ideas such as "justice" or "global warming." Unless the parents learn sign language, the child's language access will be delayed or missing entirely.

Non-linguistic limitations

The lack of language affects even functions like math. Keeping track of exact numbers above four requires knowing the words for these numbers. The language-number interdependency means many deaf children in industrialized societies fall behind in math because they did not learn to count.

Social cognition is another part of your mind that needs language to develop. Why is your mom upset? Understanding social situations requires inferring what people around you are thinking.

Sadness as a Person

A study found that people feel less sad if the feeling of sadness is personified, as it leads to a certain distance between the person and the emotion.

Detached from Sadness

By imagining that Sadness is a person, the sad person becomes detached from his/her sadness.

They can picture the sadness to have human traits or mannerisms, leading to an internal regulation of that particular emotion.

Not for the other Emotions

While this approach of humanizing the emotion appears to work for sadness, it can make a happy person less happy, if that feeling is humanized.

Other complex emotions like guilt and embarrassment may have any kind of effect and are yet to be studied.