While walking down the street the other day, listening to a Four Tet remix of something-or-other on my iPod, I heard a whistling so clear and unproduced that I was sure it came from within my head rather than my headphones.
Playing the song back, I discovered that the music had indeed whistled, but the experience prompted me to wonder what it would be like to have harmless, accompanying voices in my mind — and simply learn to live with them.
Of course, having had this exciting story idea, the New York Times had to go and nail it down with several thousand words. No hard feelings, though, against this fascinating account of a group that — rather than quieting the voices with medication — teaches people to cope with them, to learn from the experience:
[The Hearing Voices Network’s] brief against psychiatry can be boiled down to two core positions. The first is that many more people hear voices, and hear many morekinds of voices, than is usually assumed. The second is that auditoryhallucination — or “voice-hearing,” H.V.N.’s more neutral preference —
should be thought of not as a pathological phenomenon in need oferadication but as a meaningful, interpretable experience, intimatelylinked to a hearer’s life story and, more commonly than not, tounresolved personal traumas.
Can You Live With the Voices in Your Head? [New York Times Magazine]