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Meet John: A Personal Introduction to the Voice(s) in My Head

Ah, it has been a while since I played around with my old friend, the mind. Well, depending on your opinions on the thing, mind can have numerous definitions: the collective consciousness that drives everyone forward in life, the egoistic devil on the shoulder along with the sweet angel on the other shoulder who whisper things to you and drop suggestions in your ears like hot coal or drops of honey depending on who you are referring to. Here, I am basically talking about the voice in my head that basically tells me everything I need to do, want to do, crave to do, envision to do, along with the occasional randomness that I yearn for. Yes, I love those moments when my mind goes completely crazy and says something that usually makes me laugh or erupt in a violent “WTF!”. For old times sake, lets call this voice, “John” and trace the journey that I had with him.

voices-in-my-head

During my initial encounters, which I documented in the article called “Conversations“, the voice was shouting at me and doing the usual “I want to fuck with you” type of thing. Then, I named it John so that we could have some rational discussions with the voice. Soon, the voice started to warp into John, a person who was just like me, who was as confused as me and basically saw life through my eyes and came up with some really good points of consideration at times, and sometimes said things that made me regret he even existed in my head. My second documented encounter with “John” was when he helped me out with the article “Are DJs actually musicians“, where he gave me some really good advice on what musical tastes should be like.

I soon realized that John used to change the tone of his voice depending on how I was feeling at a particular moment. Sometimes, he used to show up drunk and blabber something non-sensical, which made me crazy especially when I was in the middle of something important. Other times, he used to sound like a complete spiritual guru, giving me advice that could propel me through the hardest of times in my life, or sometimes make me abuse his pompousness. Other times, he would behave like a cute little shy kid, afraid of attention and always on the run from attention and praise. Sometimes, kid John would tell me to avoid tasks and certain opportunities because he was to scared or wanted to grab some candy. There were numerous times when I had to scold kid John, or make him see the reality of things;

voices-in-my-head

Boss: Ashwin, why did you not submit that assignment I gave you yesterday?

John: Tell him I have better stuff to do (pompous John)

Me: (Wtf??!) Hey, sorry about that, just needed to sort out some stuff. Will get back to it.

Boss: Do you think the company gives a shit about what you have to do in your personal life?

John: The guy’s a prick, let him have some heat and make him suffer! (John “Rambo”)

Me: I don’t appreciate the tone of your voice Sir and I beg you to see my side of the situation as well. I had some personal stuff to take care of which if left unattended could have caused a lot of damage.

John: What a pussy you are man, be more like your Dad; give him stuff that will make him question his own predicament (John the Teacher)

Boss: It’s not that easy, Ashwin. You need to consider yourself as a part of the company and not the other way round.

John: The company is me, the way I function determines the future of the company as well. (John the Philosopher with an attitude)

Me: I had to take out time Sir, or else my work would have suffered.

Boss: How soon can you get it done?

John: As soon as you get out of my face, fatty! (Kid John in a pissed off mood)

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Ashwin: Will get right on it Sir, won’t take too much time.

Boss: Okay, are you done with the presentation for today?

Me: Yes Sir, I remodelled it in a more definite and structured way. Here, let me know what you think.

Boss: (With a hint of restraint in his voice due to our encounter till now) That is actually a nice piece of work!

John: Oh, look who’s come back to kiss ass! (John, the unappreciative jerk)

Ashwin: (You fuc….) Thanks a lot, Sir. I have a whole new vision through which I can get this across to people. The presentation would really help me with that.

Boss: Good job, you keep doing stuff like this and then the company will benefit from your presence. Meet me in the office as soon as you are done and we can move forward with it.

John: Man, that made me feel good. That’s too much man, I think he likes you in a physical way. See how he turned you on, hahaha (John, the kid who loves pranks).

Me: (If you don’t stop I’ll make you watch news for the next two hours!). That would be awesome, Sir. I’ll just finish up soon and be there.

Boss: Okay, get it done. We need you back. (Walks out)

Me: Man, what a waste of energy!

John: I know right, that guy was a jerk! (Kid John being a smart ass)

Me: I am talking to YOU, my imaginary friend. You do exist in my head anyway, what if I just turned you off!

(Silence)

Me: Wow, it does work!

John: I am right here and I’m not going anywhere bro! I am you! (John, the Resurrected).

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As you may have seen from my episode with John, our conversations essentially result in a feedback loop. During the process, John responds to external stimuli, gives his own input which I then mold in a way that the external world finds acceptable. It is then that I find that I am actually building up this part of my consciousness in my head, to whom I have attributed a name and various characteristics depending on what he tells. It is then that I realize that everyone has a John inside their heads and so are they a part of the constant roller coaster ride which involves perception and judgment. John may be a figment of my imagination for all I know as we adults have created imaginary friends in our heads in order to escape the crushing loneliness of civilized society. For “god’s sake” (pun will become apparent in a while) there are people who start to worship their imaginary friends.

But, what if one day I decided that John needs to leave because he is getting too loud and maybe a bit too comfortable? What would that mean in a larger sense of things in a world where imaginary friends drive our very way of life? Would I have to create a new character in my head? Or would I able to embrace my own freedom in the mental space, which would not be confined to the limitations of judgment, prejudice, or any other worldly characteristics? Can I create space for Superman or even better, Deadpool, to exist in my mental space? Do I have the power to hand over the reins of my reality to this individual in my head who is not governed by limitations of the real, materialistic world?

To be continued…

Image Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]

About Ashwin Ramesh

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