He included a passage about a woman who heard a voice she interpreted as the voice of God.
If a voice speaks to me it is I who must decide.
I think this passage pretty well sets out a key idea of what works for many of us when it comes to learning to live with voices; and illustrates what we mean when we say “take ownership of the voices”.
For me it works like this…
I own my experience of hearing voices: I own how I respond; I choose what is the good thing to do; I choose what I do.
“There was once a woman suffering from hallucinations who claimed that people were phoning her and giving her orders.
The doctor asked her “But who exactly speaks to you?”
She replied “He says it is God.”
How did she actually know for certain that it was God? If an angel appears to me, what proof do I have that it is an angel? Or if I hear voices, what proof is there that that are intended for me? What proof is there that they come from heaven and not from hell, or from my own sub-conscious, or some pathological condition? What proof is there that they are intended for me? What proof is ther that I am the proper person to impose my conception of man on humanity? I will never find any proof at all, nor any convincing sign of it.
If a voice speaks to me, it is always I who must decide whether or not if this is the voice of an angel; if I regard a certain course of action as good, it is I who will choose to say that it is good, rather than bad. “
Jean Paul Sartre,
Existentialism is a Humanism
28th October 1945