old title: Does a second you in your brain gives you an advantage?

Let's say you've talked enough to yourself to develop in your mind a "second you" (Not a second personality, it's more like if your reflect in the mirror suddenly went independent - at least psychologically). He evolves with you, and his personality do not diverge from yours - every time he talks, you figure out you would have said the same thing if you had answered. But still, there is a separation, like the one which physically exists between you and you're friend. A good metaphor would be : you're head is a computer, which launch twice the same program, and make them discuss together.

How could you deal with it? Some more precise questions to guide your thoughts:

1) Survival reflexes to adopt, to not become crazy.

2) How to resist to constantly talking with him, and to keep doing other things?

3) What is the interest to have other friends, now that you've got the perfect one in your head?

4) At the end, when you are accustomed, does it give you a decisive advantage in life?

(The answers to theses questions will help me build a world at a macro-level, but i want you to keep concentrated on a micro-scale. Please excuse also my English, I'm sadly an exact caricature of the French guy, naturally not equipped to talk correctly any foreign language)

Let's precise some points.

The idea is not to have a second personality, I think I wasn't clear enough on this (maybe because this wasn't clear enough in my own mind).

It's easy to play chess against yourself. You just have to change your place, and to figure out what would be the best choice for your opponent in his situation. However, you don't do that, because you know exactly what the other player has in mind, and it is finally mentally exhausting. But, still, it's feasible.

By analogy, it is technically possible to have a dialog with yourself. You can speak, change place, and answer. Usually, you don't do this, because you figure out what the answers on a depth 2 or 3 will be, and it's mentally exhausting to dig further. But with enough motivation, you can do this.

However, doing the same thing with a friend, for obscure reason, doesn't require the same amount of energy. You can talk with them during hours, or do with several chess play in a row. Why?

Don't know. But imagine that your subconscious mind was able to think (exactly like you would do), and to provide you, without conscious effort this answer/chess move (after, eventually, a thinking time). Let us not concentrating about the practical feasibility (no brain-calculus), the mechanism is already there.

Let's say that this ability can theoretically only be consciously used. But.. But it can maybe become addictive, like a permanent link to pr0n sites whenever you're on the internet.

What I want is a list of examples of situations, where this ability is an advantage/disadvantage, and your final conclusion (at the end of the day, is it more positive or negative?)

(What your unconscious can do is not just converse, or play chess, it's all what you're normally able to do. But if you become lazy because you let him do everything, he will become lazy just like you)

What is considered as advantage/disadvantage ?

Advantages : The ability will be considered as positive if you can show that

  • A person with this ability can rise the social ladder faster
  • They are happier in their life, because their personality is more balanced and harmonious. That is to say, they are less likely not to be resilient after an eventual trauma.

Disadvantages : The ability will be considered as negative if :

  • You spend your whole time just interacting with yourself, and stop doing things like cleaning your room. (because at the end of the day you will realize that you have become a lazy piece of s* and you will be very sad)
  • It increase significantly your chances of dying because of inattention (ex : you're outside talking with yourself and get hit by a car you haven't seen)
  • You finally feel alone, because you are the only one with this ability, and no one understand you.

What am I waiting for in the answers ?

The best answer will be the one who presents the most exhaustive list of the argumented advantage/disadvantages you can find. What really interest me is a list of all the realistic psychological reactions which could affect someone with this ability. So I don't want too exotic cases : (not considering a super lazy person, or a psychopath). Just some lambda user of WorldBuildings. I have to feel that what you present can really happen. I also removed the tag "biology" because i want you to keep concentrating on the psychological part of the problem


closed as primarily opinion-based by sphennings, L.Dutch, Azuaron, Aify, Vincent Jul 14 '17 at 19:47

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm so stubborn that I think I wouldn't get along much with my other me. He's probably just as stubborn as I am. The ones who are alike most fight the hardest. $\endgroup$ – Pieter B Jul 14 '17 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ OP, you would possibly enjoy this book amazon.com/Am-Strange-Loop-Douglas-Hofstadter/dp/0465030793 $\endgroup$ – Fattie Jul 14 '17 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ Are they both able to independently control the body? Can one sleep while the other experiences life? If so, TREMENDOUS advantage. They will also then have different experiences and although the same personality, different ideas due to these different experiences. In fact, even if they can only be awake at same time, one could notice other things through the eyes than the other (we choose what in a huge field of vision to concentrate on) and gain different ideas that way. Setting these parameters will help with answers. If the personalities are social they both will want friends. $\endgroup$ – N2ition Jul 14 '17 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, Doe, and thanks for taking the time to revise your post. Your edit has landed this question in the reopen review queue. The community seems to have put it on hold due to a lack of qualifiers to allow voters to identify a "best" solution. You've made an effort to clarify what you meant to ask, but the community is averse to providing answers that are merely a "list of examples of situations," as there is no way to judge the merits of one answer over another. If you could identify what makes a good answer, the community would be more willing to reopen this question. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jul 17 '17 at 12:01
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with Frostfyre. I would also recommend capitalizing the title (currently "is" is lower case) and removing things like "P.S." and "edit" as they are noise that don't help the question be more clear. If we need to see edits, we can look at the revision history. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s Jul 17 '17 at 16:40

As for the advantage... No. If the other you is just you, then you gain nothing by talking to him. No different point of view means that he cannot look at a problem from a slightly different angle, so, for example, he cannot point out any flaws in your reasoning that you wouldn't notice yourself.

To "profit" from a discussion with another person, that person needs to bring something new into the discussion, otherwise you are just re-iterating what you already know and believe - which will only harden your beliefs, but this is not a good thing. That's the dreaded "filter bubble", people only hear what they already believe and thus they learn nothing new and have no chance of actually developing in another way.

Having someone to talk to might be nice for some, but if that person is also just you, it might become pretty boring very fast. You are then sharing a room with a person that has nothing interesting to say, since you already know EVERYTHING that person can and will say.

We could argue that running the same program twice might actually be an advantage, but only if there are enough free resources. For example, if one personality would only use 50% of the brain, then running two might allow you to think in two directions at one, utilizing the full capacity of the brain. But if the brain is used to capacity with one personality, adding a second will only slow down both and you will end up thinking twice as many thoughts - but needing twice as long (at least). (Of course, that's just a very primitive view - but I doubt that the brain has very much free capacity for that, evolution is not that wasteful to create a energy-hungry thing like the brain and then not use it).

  • $\begingroup$ That's why my first though, but at the end I definitely think there is one : When i write what's going through my head, and then i read it, it often enlighten me about certain things. That my double says thing, and put words on what i unconsciously think, would in my opinion be really helpful. At the end of the day, I see the problem of being alone as not being able to put words on things : more than bringing you another point of view, friends force you to put words on yours ^^ $\endgroup$ – Doe Jowns Jul 14 '17 at 11:27

You have one already

If you've ever talked to yourself, you've explored exactly the sort of mental patterns you describe. I don't know about you, but most people claim to talk to themselves so often that it's actually a substantial impediment to learning to meditate. One of the first things you have to do is learn to silence the "monkey chatter."

There's actually massive disadvantages to having a "second you" in your brain due to resource limitations. Oversimplifying the brain into bits and bytes to make the point clear, if you need N bits to describe your mental state, you need 2N to describe two copies of your mental state. However, if I look at the number of possible states the brain can be in, those N bits lead to 2^N possible states. If I have two such brains, using 2N bits, I have 2^(N+1) possible states. If, however, I used those 2N bits all as one mind, rather than two, I'd have 2^(2N) possible states. When they talk about "unleashing your mind" they aren't kidding!

In the highest stress situations we have to deal with, we really want to have one unified mind which has been honed to the maximum potential of being one mind. Sure, we could say that in those stressful situations the two "yous" could agree to work together, but now you have a mind that's been honed to operate as two minds kludged together to work as one.

Think of it this way, some part of your brain is in control of your musculature. Anything which is not acting cohesively with this part of the brain, amalgamated with it, is going to have to influence your muscles through some intermediate layer that tries to pull the two halves together as cohesively as possible. This makes it harder for the separate part of your brain to keep up with the reality in a high stress environment, like combat.

So why do we talk to ourselves? Well, we don't really have two "yous" in our mind. If we divide the human mind into two halves along the most natural lines, we see that the two halves specialize. They're not the same. You have the unconscious side which is trying to remain in coherence with the world around us as we touch and bump into things. Then we have the conscious side which is isolated so that it can think about the longer term things. The unconscious side can be aware of being hungry. The conscious side can be aware that if we eat food any faster, we'll run out of food before we get to the destination and starve.

This shows up in many places. So many that we often don't admit they're there. When situations get stressful, the conscious side gets out of sync because it can't keep up, and it has to take the back seat as the unconscious side does it's job. When police shootings happen and the public shakes their head in dismay and asks "how could you possibly have made that mistake?" they do so from the comfort of their own homes, with their intellect fully in place. The police officer, however, was in a stressful moment, and their unconscious side had to act without as much input from the conscious side. (This is why the police train so hard with firearms. In that one moment that matters, they need to be able to have as much conscious control as possible, even when the environment is rapidly spiraling out of control).

There are also other divisions in our mind which form similar patterns. Karl Jung famously talked about the "shadow self." He developed a theory involving eight cognitive functions, of which each person typically prefers four to use in day to day life. The remaining four make up the "shadow self" which is typically a complementary personality. Many who follow his psychology study how we can "assimilate" this shadow self to become a more complete person.

In the end, we have these splits because they are helpful. Our life is a roller coaster. Sometimes you have long periods of peaceful ease followed by short moments of panic. These divisions let you hone your skills during times of peace so that they're there in times of panic. There are, of course, other ways to hone such skills besides division, but division has been shown to be an easy way to do "okay" in such times of panic.


One might theorize that more than one 'you' in a single body would be like multitasking on a single core processor - there would be a battle for available brain cycles, and a general slowdown in performance. In general, a single focused individual can run rings around a conflicted committee.

Oh, shut up. You have no idea what you're talking about.


Myself and many others I assume, have such a person in our heads.

He is not perfect, he can be as ignorant and foolish as I can be, most of the times it is not fun talking to him because he know everything I know, I can't learn from him.

It is not advantigious to have him, because when I need a sound judgment or lateral thinking, he's already consumed in the matter as much as I am.

I would expect him to naggingly reminding me not to do stupid things, but instead he waits then tells me "what the **** did you do, you ***** *****".

If he just chill, he would be of a great help.


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