Free Write: Inner Monologue

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Remember that whole thing on the internet where folks were shocked to learn a huge swath of people have internal monologues, and many also don’t?

Through the whole debate, I found myself not really sure where I stood. There are times where thoughts have voice and those thoughts are “heard”. Others are automatic.

But really, what social media was touching on is a far older topic of philosophical debate, which sits at the intersection of philosophy of the mind and the philosophy of language. At the center here are tough questions, like “what is a thought” or “is there some underlying code or language upon which we are able to think?” (Google mentalese)

And to me, it’s obvious there are several classifications of “thoughts”, but in a free write like this I’ll certainly leave some out. The first is likely visceral or biological, ie thoughts like “I need to eat/I’m hungry” or “I need to go to the bathroom” etc. what’s interesting is that animals can do this, it’s based on biological triggers, but it can still trigger a language type of thought for the folks who know one.

The second I can think of are cognitive biases, or rather just awareness. These happen so fast we may take them for granted. “This is a tree.” “That is a high ledge.” Etc. Instinct I think lives outside the scope of “thought”, but when instinct and awareness intersect you reach cognitive biases where your brain uses what you’ve learned and what you sense and makes shortcuts for the future.

But what I really wanted to get at here was “higher order thoughts.” Thoughts literally about thoughts. Meta. Things like this very passage fall into this category, but so would something like “I think therefore I am.”

Does anyone else even consider things like this? Does it require being “redpilled” by reading philosophical theory or even formal education or training, like that I was so fortunate to have access to?

And where might creativity live in this conversation? Regardless of where these thoughts come from or which format they take, creativity is a type of thinking with a purpose to synthesize new information or something interesting. To literally create something out of nothing.

Running out of time, but would love to explore this further with y’all.

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