Reading through scientific journals over the weekend, I was drawn to an article on inner monologues.
We all have them - little inner conversations that enable us to think before we speak, and therefore not make fools out of ourselves. Even in the split second of an eye between reading a word on an autocue and speaking it aloud, a mere newsreader can make a split second decision based on internal dialogue, work out the best inflection to give the word, and completely ignore it.
We give them personalities, such as 'inner-child', or 'inner-slut', depending on who we are, and what sort of action we're trying to justify. They're all just aspects of ourselves, apparently.
Or are they? Not necessarily, according to the article I was reading. Apparently through relaxation and meditation techniques, it is possible to reach submerged personalities that are completely incompatible with the dominant. It's postulated as an explanation for the alleged phenomenon of people remembering alleged previous lives while under alleged hypnosis. Apparently. I wasn't reading that closely.
As I drifted off to sleep, I discovered a new inner voice. And after straining to hear it, I realised that it sounded familiar. Fred Jones. Yes, I have the inner voice of the boring one out of Scooby Doo. Explains a lot.
You probably don't want to look at the web site that documents the Stanford Prison Experiment. I know I didn't. As a work of fiction, Das Experiment was harrowing enough. True, it made for a more thrilling entertainment spectacle, but the original experiment was supposed to prove something. Some of the tactics used by the scientists to accelerate the feelings of alienation and impotence among their subjects are incredibly horrific.
One of the scariest things is that the scientist who was principally responsible for ending the experiment had walked into the experiment late and therefore was more likely to be startled than those who had been planning it for months and observing it for five days. Even so, she had difficulty resisting the group pressure to be enthusiastic about what was going on in the name of science.
Take 20 men, or thereabouts. Assign them roles - make half of them prisoners, and half of them guards, and give the guards the task of keeping control among the prisoners. And watch things escalate.
Das Experiment, the movie we watched on Sunday, took this as its basic premise. It added a few features - a sympathetic protagonist, a suicidal and almost incidental heroine. Incredibly gripping movie. And all the scarier because there's a true story behind it all.
Thanks to Gregg, I have scanned myself for Human Viruses, and found that I suffer from quite a lot, including being British. Fortunately, there is no cure needed for that. Almost as interesting as testing the difference between Nessie and God, and kind of embarassing to do, in the sense of making you cringe, rather than flashing up pictures of giant penises on your PC at work. Neither this test nor the philosophers stuff do that.