My oldest son told me he was disappointed in an article I wrote about my personal experiences with self talk.
Over the years, I had been very open about a spiritual experience I had with hearing a voice that told me about my future.
A couple of years ago, I started reexamining that experience and threw out the idea that maybe all I had engaged in was self talk.
Then about six months ago I read a research article where scientists had located what they called the second voice in our head. We not only carry on a monologue in our head, but a dialog.
That, I concluded, was what I had experienced: a profound personal experience with the second voice within my own head.
When I wrote an essay on my breakthrough, my son expressed disappointment. He liked the mystery surrounding my first experience with the voice. His concern was that over the years I had started whittling down the mystery of it in favor of dry scientific explanations.
He said he likes thinking that attempts to boldly break through the sterility of bland scientific findings.
When he said that it reminded me of Frederick Nietzsche.
After a brilliant start as a professor of the classics, Nietzsche resigned his post in part to escape the stultifying routine of formal academics. He spent most of the rest of his life writing about the ecstasy of life and how to overcome tragedy when it visits.
As Nietzsche wrote about this, he revolutionized the world of philosophy and with it the thinking of the twentieth century. Humans aren’t just a mass of bones and muscles to be classified and placed into a text book. We humans, Nietzsche wrote, interact with culture and make decisions to change and rise above the confines of predictable behavior.
Likewise, my son was saying I shouldn’t relegate my life altering experience to an obscure scientific theory. I agree.