You see, I believe that most of us have a dialogue with our selves.
If we accept the premise that we can understand each other (i.e., there are shared meanings), then, by extension, there must be some shared dialogues.
When I’m not staring into the water like Narcissus (the fellow who had a dialogue with his own face), I’m having a dialogue with the voice that happens to be echoing inside my head. I believe this kind of dialogue is probably echoed, from time to time, along the same lines, inside the heads of other people.
That’s what allows us to share meanings. That’s what allows us to understand each other.
Think about it like this:
Everybody at some point has some experience of going up or down some stairs or (more generally) using some things that other people have been using.
Accordingly, the dialogue that this person will have with this particular “climbing-the-stairs-self” is probably echoed to a certain degree, more or less, at one point, right?
“Okay, one more step, one more step, is this my floor?”
“Oh, I thought there was another step”
Boom! Tripping on the extra step that was not there.
That would be a shared experience, isn’t it?
Now, these dialogues can best be thought of as longer or shorter “tracks” or “loops”. These tracks are being played in a number of neural networks across the world, as we go about our daily business, which includes many common experiences (Having another sip from that cup of tea?).
Of course, there are many different combinations of these common experiences, and the timing might be very different, but there would be shared tracks to which we (=modern people) love to attach time labels. A ten-second reflection on the weather:
Everybody looks outside, at some point, and says
“Nice weather today” or
“Oh, crap, it’s raining” when you wanted to go to the beach, or hang out the laundry.
These short tracks (which are shared) give us the first clues as to the possibility of talking to each other and understanding each other; and they hint at the absolute necessity of a basic set of shared meanings.
Seeing. I look outside, I see something.
Moving. Going upstairs or downstairs. Something moves.
A concept of “I” which is shared, even if it is (of course) illusory.
These tracks play continuously in our heads, although we’re probably not perceiving them as “loops” as much as “commands” we’ve issued.
You see this self-delusion even in the language of neurocognitive science: “the executive function of the brain”. We have this terminology giving us the false impression that we’re always interacting from a privileged position: the small person at the back of my head, who’s pulling the strings that move my body in the way that it does. The Cartesian theatre illusion, which assumes that there is a mind and there is a body, and that the mind is conceived as the self.
Well, that’s not how it is, in reality, that’s not how it works.
It starts as a projection from a point, but there is no little I watching, detached, passive, what happens, because this I continuously changes with each projection, each time it gets back a reflection (i.e., feedback).
It’s a loop, it’s a track, that we’re playing. I would say there are two kinds of dialogues:
- Conscious dialogues: the loudest voice in your head, the one that sounds real
- Automatic Subconscious Procedures: former conscious dialogues which have become (as it were) second-nature
Accordingly, when you finish going down those stairs and the little thing inside your head that was probably playing an Automatic Subconscious Procedure which counted wrong and gave you an extra step, when that procedure runs and is contradicted by something in reality, that is when we have the first type of dialogue.
The conscious dialogue is another track that’s running but it was not executive-planned (either).
It was not foreseen; it was something which modified that projected thought and forced it to adapt.
So we are a series of projections which are looped back to us, in the form of dialogues, which up to a certain point allow us to share meanings and to understand each other.
If we understand each other at all.