Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Listen To Me

Do you like listening to the sound of your own voice? I know I do. Are you listening now to the voice inside your own head? I'm listening to mine and I'm trying to make a comparison to what it sounds like when I am actually speaking. I can change the pitch at what I think I sound like from high to low quite effectively, and right now I am giving myself a ridiculous comedy voice that's straight out of a helium balloon. Now I'm back trying to find my 'normal' voice, and I have an awkward feeling that the sound of the voice in my head, and the sound I make when I speak are slightly different. I'm feeling around the sounds. I can't pinpoint it exactly, but I'm sure my mind's voice is not as deep as the one with which I speak, and it also seems to contain a lot more clarity. This clarity could be the result of my voice no longer being hampered by my lips, or my inhibitions, or more importantly, my vocal chords.

It's not just our voice we can play around with, but an elaborate array of every sound that we have ever heard. I'm playing a song in my head - 'Dream On' by Robyn, and it sounds nearly as good as it does on the radio. Now I'm introducing a slamming car door during the song, but the song stops every time I do so. Then I'm distracted by the outside world, my mind goes quiet and all I hear is the hum of the computer drive. I'm now back playing the song but this time I'm singing instead of Robyn, which does not quite work because I'm only switching between her voice and the music,and my voice (which sounds a bit like I'm on the telephone) on its own. So then I try other sounds... an old book sliding across a desk... a teaspoon rattling on a saucer...my father's voice....the noise a toothbrush makes as it scrubs my teeth....the slap of a wet fish on concrete... a brass band... well, you get the idea. Is it not also true that for every time we draw on a memory of a sound it is almost always accompanied by an image associated with that sound, and also an emotion? If you play around a bit you will find that we can only ever produce one sound from memory at any one given time, in the same way we can only produce one conscious thought.

When I am absorbed with the voice inside my mind, the hum of the computer disappears... ooop, now it's back, and now I'm switching between the two, back and forth. It's very subtle, but it appears that it is impossible for me to listen to my own voice, and listen to something in my enviroment at the exact same time. Back and forth, back and forth.... flicking the switch between the two, and when I become caught up with a trail of thought which is dragging me along, it's evident that I am being sucked in at an emotive level. For we don't simply produce a memory which in-turn produces an emotion, but rather the memory is emotion. When I think of a sound, some take me to a different time and place, and some don't, but this is a variation on the emotive charge of a memory and not because no emotions are present. I look away from this computer screen to survey the Universe around me. Every item which occupies it is created by me. Some things I have a strong attachment to, like for example my mother, and then some things I have apparently none, such as this pen on the table, but my mind is creating both emotively. My mind is creating everything in my Universe.

A sound wave plays the keyboard of the cochlea to produce noise inside the mind, so what then is taking place when I choose to play a sound from memory? How then does the neocortex gain access, and with such effciency, to what must be the largest store cupboard in the known Universe - the central nervous system?

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