Two People, One Head

Outrunning the conscious mind again, I wonder if it’s true that there are two selves within every one person’s brain. There is the self that controls and observes and critiques, and there is the self that exists as a “thing” in the world, performing actions that can later be judged by the observer self. I—which one I don’t know—I want to outrun the observer self because I think he’s unnecessary in most situations and when the acting self is allowed to just act, and the observer self has no choice but to cooperate with him, I think most people are happier. The observer is cunning and intelligent. He will lay in wait and catch you sometimes. If you are living happily with only an acting self, he will wait until you have a series of habits centered around this happy action of the acting self and then he will come along and force some expectations on you that this is how you must continue to feel and act. Or he will wait until the acting self makes one small “mistake” and then offer the tiniest, most indolent little criticism that will tear down all the actions of the acting self and make the acting self question itself. But the observer self will ingratiate himself with you, this is the chief problem. You have, on the one hand, a nasty judge of your actions. But you also have an observer that will tell you, “Hey you’re doing great! This is fantastic! You should do [another thing] to keep people liking and enjoying you.” And so the more you hear these flattering things, the more you believe your observer self, giving it more power for the moment when it wants to once and finally separate from you and begin to criticize all of your actions. You had already signed over yourself to it when it was telling you good things, so you have no one to blame but your acting self, which consents to the watching of your observer self.

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About vurinstitute

Horatio Somersault is the Director and Regent Chancellor of the VUR Institute, a think tank involving some as-yet-unknown and slightly spooky manipulations of time and interdimensionality. In his spare time Somersault enjoys writing poems and fables. You can read his writings, as well as those of other VUR inhabitants, at vurinstitute.wordpress.com. Though he lives a wanderer's life, his hometown is a domed biome inside the water core of the moon Europa. You can follow his experiences adapting to the customs of the early 21st century on his Twitter @VURdirector and can email him at vurinstitute at gmail dot com.
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