Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thoughts and voices in my head.

"Do you really want to write this down??"

"Maybe, yes. Why, what's wrong in that??"

"Well I don't know. People might think that you are crazy.?"

"Why would they think that??"

"Because you hear 'voices' in your head.?"

"I don't think I'm alone. Everyone has a voice inside their head."

"But I don't think they are having a lengthy conversation with oneself, about having lengthy conversations with oneself."


And that is a small snippet of what goes on inside my head most of the times. We all talk to ourselves, pretty much most of us do, I assume. Ever since humans invented language, talking to oneself has been a much amusing side effect. Researchers are still pondering over if this phenomenon existed before languages came into existence. As you can see, talking inside your head requires a voice, a language. Here is a pretty good game you can play with your mind. Try to create a thought process in your head, but without a voice. Let there be no sound or voices, telling you something or talking to you.

Very hard, right.? Also not to mention very creepy.

That doesn't mean people who have been deaf since birth cannot have thought processes like us. They do, but it is very different from us. It is also proven that animals do have thoughts like us, certain emotions and also they dream. But having a voice and by using a language as a tool we seem to have an extra edge in this behaviour. And it pretty much varies from person to person. It also signifies how much our thought process is dependent on our sensory organs. An experiment has shown that we could get hallucinations when our sensory organs are deprived of data. Imagine sitting inside a dark and sound proof room, will you.??

I usually have this lengthy conversations. Some very interesting, some amusing, some exhausting and some pointless. It's like having a friend who is always there, acting the way you want to. But sometimes it can be my foe too. Making things pretty hard. But the best thing about it is that, it is always interesting. It's like having a continuous commentary in my head. It's annoying and exhausting at times, but I got to live with it. Since it is my own mind, it pretty much knows all the non-boring stuff. So in a way I'm always entertained. If you ever spot me smiling or grinning from ear to ear, all alone, you know I ain't.

And like I mentioned, language has been very instrumental in this phenomenon. So have you ever wondered which language you talk to yourself.? Well, I did. I was talking to myself about the language in which I was talking to myself. And quiet funnily, I talk to myself in English. Very very funny. I tried changing it to Tamil, Telugu or Kannada sometimes and it felt weird. It was like someone else talking inside my head. And I don't remember what language I used to use previously and when it got switched to English.

Another very interesting thing about this is the voice. Well it's our mind, so obviously it should be our voice right.?? Well, no. Atleast for me it isn't. Do you remember Bumblebee from the Transformers movies? The yellow Autobot that is always around Sam. And do you remember how it uses the internet to find audio from the web to say something.? Well it is similar to that. The voice in the head depends on what I'm talking about. If it is about cricket it is usually Harsha Bhogle, if it is about studies or something then it's the voice of a teacher from my school, if it is about complaining about something sinister I did, it would be my mom and so on. I do not know about others but I find this really fascinating. You see, the temporal lobe in our brain is responsible for the language comprehension. We are somehow able to create our thoughts and then assign a voice from our memories stored in temporal lobe and then feed it back to the temporal lobe to be interpreted and make meaning of it. Freaky brain, even when not on dope.

"You have lost it dude."

"Shut up."

Now, another interesting thought. Lets say we die one day. We all do. But someone decides to recreate us or resurrect or whatever. Well, it's possible even with the present technology. All you need is the DNA. And voila, you can clone as many copies you want, of yourself. How great that would be. But then it only ensures the possibility to make that copy look like yourself, physically speaking. It cannot guarantee it. Other than DNA, many other parameters decide the physical attributes of our self. Height, weight, immunity, skin colour to a little extent and many more can be influenced by the food we eat, places we grow, the climatic conditions and the overall environment of our growth. But let us assume we develop a technology to recreate you completely to your present state(3D printing, anyone??). But other than anatomically it still doesn't make us, us. It would not be us.

We are not just our body. No no, I'm not talking spirituality here. Pure science fiction this is. Atleast that's what I have convinced myself it to be. So, what makes you you are the thoughts that are inside your body. Any changes in that would make you similar to you but not you. Now lets say we are in a time where we can recreate an entire human with their DNA, physically. But then you have to flood it with your conscience and consciousness to make it exactly you. Ok lets assume we have the methods to extract a person's mind and store it on a hard disk. Unfortunately you are dead and you haven't stored your mind in a Mind Bank for back up. What?? Mind bank is where you store your mind. You know, like sperm bank.

You have a body but no mind. That means the process of recreating you is now in a limbo. So what else can we do? This is where the Electronics engineer in me rubs his hand in glee. Have you ever heard of sampling.? It is the main process in converting an analog signal to a digital one. The continuous analog signal is sampled at discrete time intervals to produce a discrete-time signal. And the analog signal can be reconstructed from the discrete-time signal by a method called interpolation. The shorter the sampling interval the better the reconstructed signal. Do I still have your attention..??

What does this Electronics sorcery has to do with your reconstruction you ask.?? Good question I say. See, just how the signal is constructed back from the sampled signal, how if your mind is put together with the samples of perception of you in the minds of other people.? *Eureka moment* You know, like a personality report that is created by running various tests. Yes this could be very foolish and sinister. But hey, we are a social being and we leave impressions on the minds of other people, wantingly or unwantingly.

And not to mention the amount of online or virtual interactions we have that are always monitored and recorded. But perception is a very tricky thing. The perceived idea of personality of a person is not just dependent on the person who gives the impression but also the person who perceives that impression. What could be funny and interesting(like this post) for me might be boring and irritating for you. But then what is your mind? It is the perceived idea of the world around you and the people in it and the memories created centered around that idea. Watch this video for example. Even our own perceptions of ourselves might not be what it is. I don't know what level of practicality this idea might have. But I would like to see such a thing. How much different my actual self will be from the perceived idea of me by others. All while I'm still alive. May be we could exchange a few notes. One thing for certain I know is, he is going to tell me that I'm not that good at writing as I think I am.

"You are never getting laid."

"You know, if you weren't inside my head, you would have been dead long back."