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Can we still keep our dialogue with ourselves in the age of social networks?

It has been known for decades that intelligence is not one, but that there are different types of intelligence and one of the most interesting is intrapersonal intelligence, that internal dialogue that everyone has with himself/herself and that, well practiced, takes us away from self-deception. But is it possible to dialogue with oneself in the age of social networks?

My argument is, first, that social networks represent the externalization of our thoughts and that, for that reason, what used to be an internal and exclusively internal dialogue (often even secret), it has now been outsourced, thus negatively impacting our intrapersonal intelligence.

In addition, this externalization of our internal dialogue has another effect, that of seeking reactions (“Likes”). So strong is that desire that, if we publish something on social networks and get no response, we believe that the whole universe and everything in it have forgotten us.

And so strong is that desire that we immediately unfriend he/she who publishes something we don’t like. Or we try to manipulate others to share what we publish through expressions such as “I am sure you will not share it because… " or "Let's make this viral image," or similar expressions.

In short, not only we don’t think about ourselves within ourselves, but that “outsourced” dialogue is based strictly on calculations designed to see how much “followers” we can get, how “influencers” we become, and how we can monetize the influence we have on our followers.

Therefore, my argument is, secondly, that the externalization of internal thoughts in social networks makes the internal dialogue disappear or it reduces it to Machiavellian calculations based on the activities of our reptilian brain (so to speak), far removed from any self-discovery.

But what is that internal dialogue of oneself with oneself, that intrapersonal intelligence? Among the best examples we can cite are, how could it be otherwise, two of Jorge Luis Borges's short stories: "Borges y yo" (when Borges, the writer, says he is not the writer) and "El otro" (when Borges, now old, meets his younger self.)

In either case, Borges is fully aware that he is talking to himself, but he doesn’t fall into the error and illusion of holding on to that dialogue with himself as if there were more than just the dialogue (or, perhaps better, that the memory of the dialogue). Without intrapersonal intelligence, we are just a thought away from self-deception. 

Every attempt to say something more about how Borges exemplifies, embodies, and transcends to be himself and the other at the same time in a continuous and coherent dialogue exceeds, by far, the very narrow limits of this column. But one thing is certain: when Borges, already old, meets the young Borges, he doesn't need a social network to remind him of his past.

Without internal dialogue, without intrapersonal intelligence, there can be no self-consciousness and, therefore, there is no mindfulness. As a result, all other types of intelligence disappear or shrink. Without internal dialogue, we inevitably become zombies.

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