infernal dialogue?
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by Don Magin



I don't have to listen to the voices, do I?  I've asked myself that question hundreds of times, but this is the first time I've gotten an answer in the affirmative.


Yes, you do, I answered myself. 


What am I, crazy?


No, you're not. 


Wait a minute.  Who's this "you"? 


It's you, I. 


Distinct voices, all me. 


Wait a minute again.  How can I be you? 


Because you are; because I am.   It's a common misconception that I is singular. 


I is singular, we is plural. 


Here I am arguing with myself over semantics; I'm going crazy. 


No I'm not, I tell myself as if in a different voice. 


You're right in that we is plural, but that's a special kind of we, where it's referring to different physical people, not different I's. 


Now I'm beginning to lose my argument with myself, and it's beginning to sound logical.


So I give in and ask myself to clear things up.  How can I be we? 


It's simple really.  Every time you make a decision, you generate a new I.  For example, what shirt are you wearing today? 


The dark blue one with the small white checkered pattern. 


Right.  Why? 


Because I thought it looked better than the pale green one.


I don't agree, says a new voice. 


Who doesn't agree I ask? 


Me, the you that thought the green one looked better.  When you decided to go with the blue shirt, you became you and I became another you.  Think of you as the highest branch on an infinitely large decision tree.  The you that you think you are is the result of all the "right" decisions you made.  But what happened to those other branches, the ones you decided not to follow?  We each became we, the singular we with you.  We're all here.  What's the most recent decision you made? 


I guess it's that I need to listen to the voices. 


Right, said a new voice, and here I am, the you that thought you shouldn't listen – I'm here if you need me.




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