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Friday, January 21, 2011

The Voices in My Head

In his January 20, 2011 blog, Jon Katz writes about a voice in his head that activates what he calls “The Fear Machine.” This is the voice that makes us dependent upon the system, a vast money-making entity that is like an octopus that’s attempting to entangle us in its multi-tentacle grip. His voice is named Herman, and he keeps Katz awake at night by reminding him of all the things he should fear. Hermann’s list is long, and it includes diabetes, and early death. Hermann wants Jon to become dependent upon, among other things, the money making pharmaceutical industry. Katz isn’t buying into this. Instead, he’s looking for ways of squelching Hermann’s voice.

I suffer from insomnia, and I am kept awake by my own demons. But I have not identified these thoughts as belonging to any one voice. Maybe they belong to several. This is a very scary thought because I am not sure how I might deal with divergent voices, ones that tell me I’m not working hard enough, that I’m not a good writer and ought to give it up, that I don’t have a way with animals, etc. Okay, if this voice has a name, it’s Etc.

But I do have an inner voice, one that actually errs on the side of good. I named her this morning, as I was walking back to the cabin after having just completed the horse chores. Her name is ‘ello, as in ‘ello Alys, how are you doing today? She is very soft spoken, in fact so much so that I have to turn my good ear inward in order to hear her. She also has a very good sense of humor, and laughs at my asides, which she says are “quite precious.” ‘Ello warns me when I’m on the verge of fucking up, and after, she assists me in determining how I might rectify the situation. Her favorite phrase, always said half-jokingly, is “Some people never learn, do they?”

An example of the above: ‘Ello attempts to communicate with me at the moment in which I’m about to get on Pete’s case about one thing or another. Pete’s greatest fear in life is that he’s going to be considered irresponsible, which is why he works so hard at so many things. I call him on for little things all the time, in hopes of indicating to him that he is irresponsible. For example, I let him know when he forgets to fill the chicken’s water container. The truth be known, ‘Ello always warns me not to do this because she knows that I’m attempting to tell Pete that he’s being irresponsible. After a heated debate, in which I put Pete on the defensive by sputtering that the chickens are going to thirst to death, I concede to him that I ought not have mentioned this. He was (of course) planning on refilling the chicken’s insulated container after we ate breakfast.

After, ‘Ello and I have a long conversation, in which I agree that I spoke in haste. As she repeatedly reminds me, “Pete’s on top of everything! Absolutely everything! Stop taking such delight in thinking otherwise!” I often wonder if ‘Ello will accompany my soul when it goes elsewhere. Since moving to Squalor Holler I’ve acknowledged that ‘Ello exists, and I have begun conversing with her. However, I have yet to take her advice into account before taking action. I hope that she’ll accompany my soul when it goes elsewhere because I have more than a single lifetime’s lessons left to learn.