Dialogical Self

Let’s talk about this, because I’ve spent all weekend reading about it on Wikipedia (a fantastic use of time. And probably a disease).

Firstly, this article is a shocking candidate for the Wikipedia game, which is where you open a page on Wikipedia, and click the first link in the article (excluding links in bold, italics, or brackets). Then, do the same for the next article. The game is trying to find an article which is the furthest away from this page. My current record is 16 articles.

Anyway. Dialogical Self. Basically, when you have voices in your head and they aren’t all yours. It’s fascinating and fabulous and I’m definitely an example, though I expect every blogger in the world is. Your dialogical self is (my understanding anyway) when your internal monologue is an internal dialogue with you playing all of the parts. It’s the way a lot of us reason through potential situations or encounters, weighing up our own multiple viewpoints and even assuming the position of other people and imagining what their reactions will or would be.

This is great for several reasons. Firstly, it relates to dialogism, a theory basically constructed by Mikhail Bakhtin. He was a Russian literary theorist and an all-round fascinating guy (if you find literature and philosophy fascinating and who doesn’t?). Secondly, it’s great because who knew we were so clever, to develop multiple coexisting viewpoints in order to refine how we interact and improve our social experience?

Having read about this, I’m now tempted to try and analyse myself (because of my psychology degree that I have). I’d be fascinated to properly think about all my various “selves” because they definitely clash horns often and I’ve never really considered why before now. I just thought I was generally a bit confused. I also think it completely explains my reaction to most situations, because of this paragraph:-

“…people entering into imaginary dialogues in comparison with ones having mainly monologues are characterized by a more vivid and creative imagination, a deep appreciation of art and beauty and receptivity to inner feelings and emotions. They are curious about both inner and outer worlds and their lives are experientially richer. They are willing to entertain novel ideas and unconventional values and they experience positive as well as negative emotions more keenly. At the same time these persons are more disturbed by awkward social situations, uncomfortable around others, sensitive to ridicule, and prone to feelings of inferiority, they prefer to stay in the background and let others do the talking 

The only bit that doesn’t sound like me is the bit about letting others do the talking, except that I much prefer when that happens – it just often doesn’t and then I feel awkward and fill the void. And I normally do it badly and end up digging my foot out of my own mouth and wishing I’d stayed quiet in the first place. It’s all very weirdly accurate (though I suppose someone has to be the perfect example of psychological theories, otherwise it’s not science).

(I think the use of brackets illustrates it perfectly. I can’t even externalise my thoughts in a blog post without using two voices to do it. Great work)

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