Re: Julian Jaynes

Gerold Firl (
2 Oct 1996 19:59:50 GMT

In article <>, Peter G Mercer <> writes:

|> I first read it when it came out (a BoMC selection of all things) and
|> found it to be the most undeservedly neglected book I had ever come
|> across.

I also enjoyed it, and have wondered about his hypothesis since then.
It's a difficult one to test, unfortunately, so it's hard to develop a
research program around it. Here are a couple of thoughts that come to

Find remote peoples who have had little or no exposure to the modern
world - not really possible today, but perhaps a close enough
approximation could be found - and see if any similarites to the
jaynsian bicameral mind can be found. Look in particular at trance
states, where a shaman or other spiritual practicioner will allow
themselves to be possessed by a spirit or god.

One question that I've wondered about is whether the breakdown of the
bicameral mind came about as a result of biology or culture; is it
triggered by some threshold of complexity in our learning environment,
or are there unicameral gene complexes which spread through human
populations starting a few millenia back?

|> I have read of experiments performed in US universities which indicate
|> that our unconscious brain has the ability to solve complex problems way
|> beyond our conscious abilities.

Looking again at the trance state, are traditional healers who enter
trance better able to diagnose the problems of their patients?

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf