The Voices Within (Hardcover)
The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves
Basic Books, 9780465096800, 320pp.
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Other Editions of This Title:
MP3 CD (8/29/2017)
When someone says they hear voices in their head, they are often thought to be mentally ill. But, as Charles Fernyhough argues in The Voices Within, such voices are better understood as one of the chief hallmarks of human thought. Our inner voices can be self-assured, funny, profound, hesitant, or mean; they can appear in different accents and even in sign language. We all hear them-and we needn't fear them. Indeed, we cannot live without them: we need them, whether to make decisions or to bring a book's characters to life as we read. Studying them can enrich our understanding of ourselves, and our understanding of the world around us; it can help us understand the experiences of visionary saints, who might otherwise be dismissed as schizophrenics; to alleviate the suffering of those who do have mental health problems; and to understand why the person next to us on the subway just burst out laughing for no apparent reason.
Whether the voices in our heads are meandering lazily or clashing chaotically, they deserve to be heard. Bustling with insights from literature, film, art, and psychology, The Voices Within offers more than science; it powerfully entreats us all to take some time to hear ourselves think.
About the Author
Praise For The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves…
"In The Voices Within, [Fernyhough] has rendered complicated mental experience without losing its human texture, as so often happens when psychological questions are addressed in the lab.... [It's] an intriguing and deeply humane book."
"A must-read for those seeking to understand the voices in their heads."—Discover
"The author's investigations, at once scientific and humane, represent the discipline of psychology at its rare best.... After reading The Voices Within, you may never again be quite as thoughtless about the fact that you think."—Raymond Tallis, Wall Street Journal
"The Voices Within...intriguingly challenges conventional assumptions about the self as unified and coherent, while also posing the question: how might that which we deem pathological be shaped by the mores of our times?"—Christine Gross-Loh, Guardian, Best Books for Summer 2016
"[Fernyhough's] account is fascinating, not only for the ideas he raises but also for his vignettes of historical thought and research."—Lancet