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The Bicameral Brain-Mind Paradigm

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have
created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."  - Albert Einstein

With the scientific findings at this time, there should be no question as to the underlying bicamerality of the human brain-mind. The evidence and support for this paradigm is extensive and undeniable. There may be differing models of how it works, but these exist in an overall miasma of enigmas as to how any model of the brain-mind works. Each of these proposals have their strengths and weaknesses, but disconfirming any one model does NOT disconfirm the basic paradigm itself.

Who was Julian Jaynes? He wrote a single book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, which in my view, will be regarded  as one of the major pieces of academic work of the last century. He taught at Princeton, which seems to have been attracting more than its share of genius-level talent at the time.

Jaynes made (and massively documented) the astonishing claim that the entire manner in which the human mind works is now totally different from the manner in which it worked 4000 years ago. He documented this by analyzing ancient literature and other ancient works from the behavior being described, and also demonstrated the neuro-physiological basis of the former behavior modality in the right-brain analog to the Wernicke (speech) area on the left side of the human brain.

Jaynes assumes an evolutionary model, probably for credibility, political or career concerns. He also eschewed incorporating catastrophism into his work ostensibly for the same reasons. He generally describes a period of time from around 2000 BC or thereabouts until the time of the classical Greeks. He assumes that mankind had evolved into a modality and paradigm of thought and behavior which he terms "bicameral", and describes a number of phenomena, including idolatry, hypnotism, schizophrenia, prophecy etc. as bicameral in nature, i.e. as throwbacks to the old mind-of-man regime. He states that what we would call schizophrenia would have been called normal 4000 years ago.

He generally describes a state in which human societies were governed by a system of what he termed "auditory hallucinations", a sort of an organized and coherent group-think, kind of condition.

Where Jaynes Went Wrong

The bicameral system was or became intensely dis-functional. A village consisting of 200 people heeding inner voices would amount to 200 "Sons of Sam" running around, and it would not get better going from villages to cities to nations. The Bible, the Illiad, and other literature at times describe a world gone mad.

Idolatry is viewed with the horror which we read in the old testament precisely because it turned the entire world into an insane asylum for a thousand years. The idols actually "spoke" to the people, as Jaynes describes and for reasons which Jaynes also does a remarkable job of documenting, the people had little option but to obey. Fighting wars and sacrificing children at the command of stone and wooden idols, is not a formula for success in life.

This then is the first big problem with Jaynes' theory: you cannot evolve into a dis-functional state. Evolution, to the extent which it works at all, does not supposedly work in such a manner. It is a stepwise process, and each step has to be caused by some gain in functionality or advantage over the previous.

The bicameral system in fact became progressively more dis-functional until the very ability to use the human mind in the manner in which Jaynes describes was ground straight out of the human race by a rapid process of attrition and, like the ostrich's wings, became vestigial, appearing only on rare occasion in a throwback like Joan of Ark or David Berkowicz.

Of note are the descriptions of bizarre behavior in the Biblical Old Testament. For example, even the great and wise king David took off his clothes in public and ran around naked prophesying. It finally got so bad that, as Jaynes notes, the prophet Zechariah admonished parents to simply kill children who persisted in trying to use their minds the old way:

Old Testament Zechariah 13:3 And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.

The second problem with Jaynes' theory, is that he did not look into the age just prior to the one he describes or into any of what is generally perceived as mythology, to try to determine whether or not the bicameral age itself might have represented a DEVOLUTION from a previous age in which these same kinds of capabilities might have been entirely functional and amounted to the normal means of human communication and thought.

A third area where the force and impact of Jaynes' thinking was considerably weakened is his ignoring of planetary catastrophe. The major blow to the healthier operation of the bicameral mind and attendant telepathy was the great catastrophe that ended the Golden Age.

Jaynes claims that a number of phenomena, including hypnotism, idolatry, prophesy, and schizophrenia, are throwbacks to an ancient mind operation regime which he terms "bicameralism". Given that, you might expect features of any of these things to be found in people here and there today. Certain idols, ceremonies, and worship services, in fact, appear to be created with an eye towards hypnotic effect.

Another aspect of bicamerality is the ancient suppression of the self-consciousness alluded to in Loss and Recovery of Full Self-Consciousness

The implications of the above linked page should astound us, and challenge us to start thinking outside the box of the modern mythology that has developed concerning the origin of Man and what really happened in our past!

Another major aspect of this bicameral brain-mind paradigm is that it proposes that the non-self conscious mind is the source for dreams and visions. Especially but not exclusively when the self conscious mind is shut down in sleep, the non-self conscious mind comes forth in creative activity that can be "experienced" and remembered. Occasionally, this activity is so real as to make the person think that they are dealing with objective reality. See Visions and Dreams

But the major premise concerning the bicameral mind, proposed on this site, is that it was originally designed so that humans could have TWO types of consciousness, one dedicated to the individual--self consciousness--and the other dedicated to a familial or corporate identity and functionality--the collective consciousness. This would allow Mankind to enjoy the benefits of two different systems, to live in the best combination of both possible worlds.

The "first" brain-mind would be the foundation for self consciousness, which would entail self-identity, self independence, individuality, personality, character, personal purpose, values and intentionality, volition, etc., including personal privacy of thinking and feelings that protect personal sovereignty.

The "second" brain-mind would be dedicated to a kind of public consciousness; it would be the foundation for the collective consciousness. This would act like a network and the vessel for all the information authorized or uploaded to it. It would act like a non-corporeal entity that would have all of its functionality dedicated to the service, support and well-being of the individual human members of the family. It would act like a huge, viable database containing ALL knowledge of every individual in the collective, and possibly ALL paranormal power or ability, and be available with instant access for every individual. In this system, no individual would ever make a decision in ignorance of any corporate information. It would be a constant presence for safety and connectivity because it would act as the foundation for perfect telepathic communication from one to one, one to many, and many to one. ALL of this connectivity and communicational ability would be under the control of the individual, and the individual's sovereignty would never be violated. No one under ANY circumstance would be isolated or in danger.

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