Experiencing Thoughts as an Internal Monologue

Do you hear voices inside your head?

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@ KylePlantEmoji

Fun fact: some people have an internal narrative and some don’t.

As in, some people’s thoughts are like sentences they “hear”, and some people just have abstract non-verbal thoughts, and have to consciously verbalize them.

And most people aren’t aware of the other type of person.

After seeing the above tweet, L. Allen White described his impressions in his post, Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has An Internal Monologue And It Has Ruined My Day. (2020 February 13). It drove him bonkers.  He had to rethink his whole world perception.

He posted a poll on Instagram in order to collect data on how many people have an internal monologue.  The results showed that 83% of people had an internal monologue, while 17% didn’t (N = 109).

Apparently, I am one of the few people who does not have a constantly running internal dialogue.  Although I do hear the voice of my conscience, or my anger, or my desire, from time to time.  I also hear God’s voice speaking to me when I pray.  I know my father has the same experiences as me, because we have talked about this in the past.

In general, I think in terms of concepts which are rather complex and not easy to put into words.  This usually requires a lot of words to accurately describe it and get my point across.  Many people don’t have the will, the interest, or the attention span necessary to go through that.  But if a person happens to be interested in the topic, I can talk for hours and never get tired.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become better at identifying which kinds of topics people might be interested in.

You may find it interesting that I am a popular lecturer by profession.  To do this, I just focus my mind on a concept and I start talking about it.  I don’t spend a lot of time in preparation, but if I deliver the same speech many times, I will acquire supplementary materials to add to my presentation that enhance my delivery, such as better scientific words, figures, and graphs, which I will compile into a PowerPoint.

While I am speaking, I don’t think about what I’m going to say.  Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to say.  It just comes out of me.  I have a general habit of speaking slowly, forcefully, and sometimes emotionally, which enhances my presentation.  At times I fumble for the right words but it doesn’t seem to detract from the overall impact.  Instead, it seems to grab people’s attention and it gets them thinking.  Many people have described me as a motivational speaker.

President Woodrow Wilson and Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan (ca. 1914). Wildly popular among the commoners, Bryan was famed for his moral rectitude, and his convincing and deeply moving speeches. He resigned from office upon learning that his exceptional skill as a motivational speaker was being used to promote political schemes of which he strongly disagreed.

I have found that writing suits me very well.  But I have to sit and think about it for a while to be able to put my ideas into words that another person could understand.  I have to conscientiously construct sentences and choose my words.  I use a thesaurus regularly.  I have to write these words down whenever they come to me, or else the succinctness and eloquence will quickly be forgotten.  I regard good writing as an artistic masterpiece of language, although whether others regard my own writings as masterpieces is subject to opinion.

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About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
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12 Responses to Experiencing Thoughts as an Internal Monologue

  1. cameron232 says:

    I can imagine what the voices of people around me sound like – can literally hear their voices speaking sentences inside my head – but I cannot imagine what my voice sounds like.

    However, I think A LOT – and sometimes I actually have verbal conversations with myself – it took my wife a while to get used to this – that I talk to myself (out loud) but am not crazy.

    So in order to have a monologue, I have to at least mouth the words.

    Like

    • Novaseeker says:

      I have an internal monologue — sometimes it is verbal and sometimes it is nonverbal. When it is strongly nonverbal if I have time I will usually try to write it down, otherwise it tends not to be retained, sadly, as I have learned over the years.

      I also verbalize vocally to myself at times when alone, and also sometimes to God as well, informally like that, as I come across thoughts during the course of thinking or reading or what have you. I don’t do that in public, however, or around other people.

      Like

      • Jack says:

        “When it is strongly nonverbal if I have time I will usually try to write it down, otherwise it tends not to be retained, sadly, as I have learned over the years.”

        It seems that words are related to memory.

        I have marvelously complex thoughts, but they have no words. It’s more like an understanding of how various things are related. If I don’t take the time (which sometimes can take hours of meditation) to put those ideas into words, then the moment passes and I will forget everything because those thoughts are superseded by new thoughts. Fortunately (I suppose), certain thoughts come to me over and again, and I tend to believe that when this happens, God is trying to get something important across to me. This repeated exposure eventually gives me sufficient opportunity to get it into words. Whenever I can do that, and then go back and study what I have written from a critical, objective viewpoint and refine it a bit, then it yields profoundly significant concepts which can leave people stunned when I describe it in words.

        This is partly why I started blogging – to capture these ideas and share them with others. A lot of my writings here at Sigma Frame are captured thoughts that I was able to condense into descriptive language. I would estimate that of all the thoughts I have, I can only get about 10% into words, and of that 10%, I only post about 10% of that. So the Sigma Frame blog is about 1% of my thoughts. I wish there were some way I could increase my efficiency.

        Liked by 2 people

      • cameron232 says:

        I’m not sure what counts as an internal monologue. I think in sentences in my head, I just can’t “hear” them (in my head) and I am always strongly inclined to actually verbalize them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jack says:

        @ Cameron,
        An internal monologue means that your thoughts come in the form of words and sentences. From your last description, it seems like you have an internal monologue.

        Like

      • Novaseeker says:

        I think that means you have an internal monologue. If you are thinking a lot in sentences that is what it is, whether those are externally verbalized, written, or heard in the head. The contrast is to nonverbal interior thought, which is more abstract and less of a monologue.

        Like

    • Lance Roberts says:

      I guess I’m not sure, but that probably means I don’t have an internal monologue. I’m always having very quiet out-loud conversations with others who are in my head. My wife finds it quite funny, but it seems I’m not able to really have them in my head. I have to talk things out to really think about things deeply, and often have made conclusions and changed course in the middle of a conversation. It’d be nice to understand it all better, but I’ve been doing it long enough that I know how it works for me and work with it.

      Like

      • Scott says:

        This is a form rehearsing conversations with real people, even if they are not there. I do it when I am by myself and it is quite unnerving to others to hear. It is not psychosis, but an out loud way of processing that helps you see the flaws in your own thinking.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. eutrapelia2001 says:

    Usually, I don’t have a running dialogue in my head. Rather my thoughts are flashes or realizations along with complex connections that put them into a context. I am usually able to summarize those thoughts with few words, but, like the proverbial iceberg, it takes a lot of writing to provide those few words with a full explanation to show the depth of the reasoning behind it. I am often thought of as laconic in casual speech. This is not the case. Rather I have the realization that the current conversation is designed for casual chitchat and cannot support the words necessary to show what lies beneath the surface.

    There are times when the internal intellectual life of the soul easily becomes concretized by particular words and phrases. The missing link between thoughts are words is found! That is when I write as much as possible. Or give a long monologue.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. elspeth says:

    I don’t have an internal dialog. At least, not normally. I occasionally process my thoughts out loud verbally when I’m alone. As a general rule, however, I best process my thoughts by writing them out.

    This was interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Farm Boy says:

    You may find it interesting that I am a popular lecturer by profession. To do this, I just focus my mind on a concept and I start talking about it. I don’t spend a lot of time in preparation, but if I deliver the same speech many times, I will acquire supplementary materials to add to my presentation that enhance my delivery, such as better scientific words, figures, and graphs, which I will compile into a PowerPoint.

    While I am speaking, I don’t think about what I’m going to say. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to say. It just comes out of me. I have a general habit of speaking slowly, forcefully, and sometimes emotionally, which enhances my presentation.

    This would be me. A club of two

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ed Hurst says:

    I’m always talking inside my head. It never stops during waking hours. When I was a kid, it was always fantasy stories I told myself. As I got older, it began to include some of the rehearsal conversations Scott mentions above, but always in my head. At some point, it became most a conversation with God, but I still have periods of the day when a story overwhelms most other traffic, and in those moments I often tend to move my lips. If I’m alone, I tend to talk out loud to God and to myself. I really like taking long bike rides or walking in isolation so I can hear the answers better. Sometimes I verbally compose things I want to write. When I’m typing, I hear the words in my head.

    Liked by 1 person

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