Whoever first made the assertion ‘Talking to yourself is a sign of insanity’ was likely a small-minded idiot; also probably an ignoramus.
The act of talking to oneself, logically, is less a sign of insanity and more a sign of highly active imagination.
The fact is those who do partake in self-conversation are, generally, not so much talking to themselves as they are conversing with another; it’s just that this other person is technically not present at that time.
Unbeknown to other, regular, normal folk, self-talkers are, generally, opening up a totally new world of imagination – a variant existence if you like – while still having the decency to physically remain in your current world of realism.
Many perceive this pastime of chatting away, ostensibly vacantly, to oneself as nothing short of ‘weird’, ‘unusual’, ‘crazy’ or yes, ‘insane’, but ponder this: how is the act of a person developing their own world of imagination then conversing with the beings therein any different to an idiot teenager becoming immersed in and utterly consumed by his idiot video game?
Alternatively, how is it any different to somebody allowing themselves to become so infatuated with a television rom-com that when their favourite character dies at the end, they break down in tears?
Additionally akin to this comparison are those joyful kinds of people who are seen murmuring song lyrics as music plays in the background; then there’s the 21st century phenomenon of ‘virtual reality’ goggles which, let’s be fair, if someone requires an alternate world to physically be put before their eyes in order for them to see it, they are obviously equipped with a downright insipid imagination.
Imagination is all it ever is and all it ever has been; it’s simply our ability as humans to convince our brains that something we know to be a fabrication is actually real.
There are many people in this world who regularly watch corny movies and find themselves crying uncontrollably, and there are a great many more who regularly allow themselves to become so utterly consumed by video games that they feel the world might end should they step down from their post; no one labels these people ‘insane’ – nobody questions these peoples’ hold on reality.
As a populous we tend to look down on those who ‘talk to themselves’ – or like somebody mindlessly reciting their favourite song to a vacant audience – as though because there is nobody physically able to reciprocate their words, this makes them something less than those partaking in discussion with an actual person.
There should be no reason to ever deride somebody simply for possessing the strength of imagination to create another world from nothing.
These people, these ‘self talkers’ don’t require a video game to see a fabricated reality in their heads, they don’t need a drippy rom-com to incite their emotion, they don’t need music playing to see a line of song lyrics running through their heads and certainly, they do not require virtual reality goggles to see an alternate world played out in their mind’s eye; these people are already transcendent before anything is even put before them.
The next time you witness somebody standing alone, staring into space with lips furiously mumbling in no apparent meaning, don’t judge, don’t be predictable and assume that this person is ‘weird’, or less able to be approached; throw down your proclivity to paste them with a 20th century stigma and just try imagining the world that this brilliant character might be seeing.
Chances are it’s infinitely more exciting than what you’re seeing, anyway.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Sal F Tolker
Photography by Brill Yant-Mind