Okay, so I am being a bit sensational with the title, but not by much. Consider this, have you ever said I am of “two minds” or “part of me wants to, but another part doesn’t”? If so, then you are experience the conflict of the many part of your brain competing for control of your action.
I experience something like this almost every day. Often, I eat not because I am hungry, but because it is time to eat. Having been eating three times a day as a kid, I still like doing so. But when I am about to eat, there is this voice/feeling that hey, you are not hungry, don’t eat. But then another part of me is like, never mine, let’s eat anyway. So I have always wondered about who is saying don’t eat and who is dismissing that messenger? This seems to give rise to this idea of me and the other sub-me engaged in decision making.
Another example, this one is from the book “Incognito: The secret lives of the brain” by “Dr. David Eagleman”. We were told something in secret; we are keeping confidence and want to do that. But we also want to spill the beans. The part that wants to spill, knows that keeping secrets is not healthy for us. So we are always having this tug of war between the part that wants to talk and the part that wants to keep secrets.
What is really cool about listening to the author talk about this is that I often wondered why we said things like I am still deciding or I have to think about it. It is as if we are waiting for the competing parts to submit their arguments for or against some course of actions. And then we vote on one. Listen to the author discuss this here.