Main CategoriesPsychology and JungIndividuation and the Collective Unconscious Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, The

Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, The

Product no.: 0-618-05707-2
Julian Jaynes's influential and controversial theory of the origin of subjective consciousness or the "modern mind."

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Publisher's Synopsis
At the heart of this book is the revolutionary idea that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but is a learned process brought into being out of an earlier hallucinatory mentality by cataclysm and catastrophe only 3000 years ago and still developing. The implications of this new scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion - and indeed, our future.

Presents a theory of the bicameral mind which holds that ancient peoples could not "think" as we do today and were therefore "unconscious," a result of the domination of the right hemisphere; only catastrophe forced mankind to "learn" consciousness, a product of human history and culture and one that issues from the brain's left hemisphere. Three forms of human awareness, the bicameral or god-run man; the modern or problem-solving man; and contemporary forms of throwbacks to bicamerality (e.g., religious frenzy, hypnotism, and schizophrenia) are examined in terms of the physiology of the brain and how it applies to human psychology, culture, and history.


"Speculates that until late in the second millennium B.C. men had no consciousness but were automatically obeying the voices of gods. We are astounded but compelled to follow this remarkable thesis through all the corroborative evidence."     ~New Yorker

"The bold hypothesis of the bicameral mind is an intellectual shock to the reader, but whether or not he ultimately accepts it he is forced to entertain it as a possibility. Even if he marshals arguments against it he has to think about matters he has never thought of before, or, if he has thought of them, he must think about them in contexts and relationships that are strikingly new."     ~Ernest R. Hilgard, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University

"O, what a world of unseen visions and heard silences, this insubstantial country of the mind! What ineffable essences, these touchless rememberings and unshowable reveries! And the privacy of it all! A secret theater of speechless monologue and prevenient counsel, an invisible mansion of all moods, musings, and mysteries, an infinite resort of disappointments and discoveries. A whole kingdom where each of us reigns reclusively alone, questioning what we will, commanding what we can. A hidden hermitage where we may study out the troubled book of what we have done and yet may do. An introcosm that is more myself than anything I can find in a mirror. This consciousness that is myself of selves, that is everything, and yet is nothing at all - what is it?

And where did it come from?

And why?"

Author Jaynes, Julian
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 491 pp.
Publisher Mariner Books 2000
Browse these categories as well: Individuation and the Collective Unconscious, Atlantis, Lemuria and Ancient Civilizations, Noteworthy Releases 2000

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