Re: Julian Jaynes

Rod Hagen (
Fri, 13 Jan 1995 16:38:31 +1000

In article <3e1qbi$>, wrote:

> Hello,
> I've recently read Julian Jaynes' "The Origin of Consciousness in the
> Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" for the 3rd time and am more intrigued
> than ever. I think he may really be onto something. That being said,
> I'd like to learn what other information affirming/falsifying others may
> have regarding Bicameral Hypothesis.
> Prof. Jaynes' hypothesis includes the following:
> 1) Consciousness as we think of it today is a relatively recent
> phenomenon, approximately 2-3 thousand years.
> 2) The people who built most of the ancient cultures we have evidence
> of were unconscious and more akin to modern schitzophrenics, i.e.
> they frequently, if not continually, heard and obeyed auditory
> and visual hallucinations in one side of their brain that had
> originated in the other. Dr. Jaynes calls this mentality Bicameral.
> 3) A necessary condition for the emergence of consciousness is language and
> that the emergence of consciousness is not due to new biological
> underpinnings.
etc etc

Sounds like another aquatic ape / chariot of the gods game to me!

How does Jaynes deal with the eminently conscious Australian Aborigines
etc? How does he reconcile his thoughts with evidence of practices such
as art / burial ceremonies etc going back many tens of thousands of years?

Rod Hagen