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The way of this world is to praise dead saints and persecute living ones. Nathaniel Howe

Afterword

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

It is now more than a decade since this essay first appeared in book form, and my publishers have encouraged me to add a postscript in which I might discuss the general reaction to this book as well as changes I might make if I were to rewrite it.

A favorite practice of some professional intellectuals when at first faced with a theory as large as the one I have presented is to search for that loose thread which, when pulled, will unravel all the rest.  And rightly so.  It is part of the discipline of scientific thinking.  In any work covering so much of the terrain of human nature and history, hustling into territories jealously guarded by myriad aggressive specialists, there are bound to be such errancies, sometimes of fact but I fear more often of tone.  But that the knitting of this book is such that a tug on such a bad stitch will unravel all the rest is more of a hope on the part of the orthodox than a fact in the scientific pursuit of truth.  The book is not a single hypothesis.

      There are four main hypotheses in Books I and II.  I welcome this opportunity to add some comments to each of them.

      1.   Consciousness is based on language.  Such a statement is of course contradictory to the usual and I think superficial views of consciousness that are embedded both in popular belief and in language.  But there can be no progress in the science of consciousness until careful distinctions have been made between what is introspectable and all the hosts of other neural abilities we have come to call cognition.  Consciousness is not the same as cognition and should be sharply distinguished from it.

      The most common error which I did not emphasize sufficiently is to confuse consciousness with perception.  Recently, at a meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, a well-known and prestigious philosopher stood up to object vociferously on this point.  Looking at me directly, he exclaimed, "I am perceiving you at this moment.  Are you trying to say that I am not conscious of you at this moment?" A collective cognitive imperative in him was proclaiming in the affirmative.  But actually he was being conscious of the rhetorical argument he was making.  He could have better been conscious of me if he had turned away from me or had closed his eyes.

      This type of confusion was at least encouraged back in I921 by Bertrand Russell: "We are conscious of anything that we perceive."[1] And as his logical atomism became fashionable in philosophy, it became difficult to see it any other way.  And in a later book Russell uses as an example of consciousness "I see a table.”[2]  But Descartes, who gave us the modern idea of consciousness, would never have agreed.  Nor would a radical behaviorist like Watson, who in denying consciousness existed certainly did not mean sense perception.

      Just as in the case I mentioned above, I suggest Russell was not being conscious of the table, but of the argument he was writing about.  In my own notation, I would diagram the situation as

‘I’ → (I see a table).

Russell thought his consciousness was the second term, but in reality it was the entire expression.  He should have found a more ethologically valid example that was really true of his consciousness, that had really happened, such as, "I think I will rewrite the Principia now that Whitehead's dead" or "How can I afford the alimony for another Lady Russell?" He would then have come to other conclusions.  Such examples are consciousness in action.  "I see a table" is not.

      Perception is sensing a stimulus and responding appropriately.  And this can happen on a non-conscious level, as I have tried to describe in driving a car.  Another way to look at the problem is to remember the behavior of white blood Cells) which certainly perceive bacteria and respond appropriately by devouring them.  To equate consciousness with perception is thus tantamount to saying that we have six thousand conscious entities per cubic millimeter of blood whirling around in our circulatory system –which I think is a reductio ad absurdum.

      Consciousness is not all language, but it is generated by it and accessed by it.  And when we begin to untease the fine reticulation of how language generates consciousness we are on a very difficult level of theorizing.  The primordial mechanisms by which this happens in history I have outlined briefly and then in II:5 tried to show how this worked out in the development of consciousness in Greece.  Consciousness then becomes embedded in language and so is learned easily by children.  The general rule is: there is no operation in consciousness that did not occur in behavior first.

      To briefly review, if we refer to the circle triangle problem on page 40, in solving this struction we say, "I 'see' it's a triangle," though of course we are not actually seeing anything.  In the struction of finding how to express this solving of the problem, the metaphor of actual seeing pops into our minds.  Perhaps there could be other metaphiers[3] leading to a different texture of consciousness, but in Western culture 'seeing' and the other words with which we try to anchor mental events are indeed visual.  And by using this word 'see', we bring with it its paraphiers, or associates of actual seeing.

      In this way the spatial quality of the world around us is being driven into the psychological fact of solving a problem (which as we remember needs no consciousness).  And it is this associated spatial quality that, as a result of the language we use to describe such psychological events, becomes with constant repetitions this functional space of our consciousness, or mind-space.  Mind-space I regard as the primary feature of consciousness.  It is the space which you pre-optively are 'introspecting on' or 'seeing' at this very moment.

      But who does the 'seeing’?  Who does the introspecting?  Here we introduce analogy, which differs from metaphor in that the similarity is between relationships rather than between things or actions.  As the body with its sense organs (referred to as I) is to physical seeing, so there develops automatically an analog ‘I' to relate to this mental kind of 'seeing' in mind-space.  The analog 'I' is the second most important feature of consciousness.  It is not to be confused with the self, which is an object of consciousness in later development.  The analog 'I' is contentless, related I think to Kant's transcendental ego.  As the bodily ‘I’ can move about in its environment looking at this or that, so the analog 'I' learns to 'move about' in mind-space, 'attending to' or concentrating on one thing or another.

      All the procedures of consciousness are based on such metaphors and analogies with behavior, constructing a careful matrix of considerable stability.  And so we narratize the analogic simulation of actual behavior, an obvious aspect of consciousness which seems to have escaped previous synchronic discussions of consciousness.  Consciousness is constantly fitting things into a story, putting a before and an after around any event.  This feature is an analog of our physical selves moving about through a physical world with its spatial successiveness which becomes the successiveness of time in mind-space.  And this results in the conscious conception of time which is a spatialized time in which we locate events and indeed our lives.  It is impossible to be conscious of time in any other way than as a space.

      The basic connotative definition of consciousness is thus an analog 'I' narratizing in a functional mind-space.  The denotative definition is, as it was for Descartes, Locke, and Hume, what is introspectable.

      My list of features is not meant to be exhaustive or exclusive.  Nor are they meant to be universal aspects of consciousness everywhere.  Given the great cultural differences in the world today, just as in the world's past, it seems to me unreasonable to think that the features and emphases of consciousness would be everywhere the same.

      As it stands, the list I have given is I think incomplete.  At least two other features should be added: concentration, which is the analog of sensory attention,[4] and suppression, by which we stop being conscious of annoying thoughts, the behavioral analog of repugnance, disgust, or simply turning away from annoyances in the physical world.

      I would also take this opportunity of commenting on what is called in this book conciliation or compatibilization, which have perplexed some readers.  At the risk of even more confusion, I would change this word to consilience, which is Whewell's better term for my intended meaning of mental processes that make things compatible with each other.[5] While this is not so obvious in waking life, it becomes extremely important in dreams.  Originally, I had written two chapters on dreams to go in the present volume, but my publishers suggested that because of the length of the book, it seemed more reasonable to save them for the next volume, which I hope will appear in several years.[6]

      Psychologists are sometimes justly accused of the habit of reinventing the wheel and making it square and then calling it a first approximation.  I would demur from agreement that that is true in the development that I have just outlined, but I would indeed like to call it a first approximation.  Consciousness is not a simple matter and it should not be spoken of as if it were.  Nor have I mentioned the different modes of conscious narratization such as verbal (having imaginary conversations—certainly the most common mode in myself), perceptual (imagining scenes), behavioral (imagining ourselves doing something), physiological (monitoring our fatigue or discomfort or appetite), or musical (imagining music), all of which seem quite distinct, with properties of their own.  Such modes have obviously different neural substrates, indicating the complexity of any possible neurology of consciousness.

      2.   The bicameral mind.  The second main hypothesis is that preceding consciousness there was a different mentality based on verbal hallucinations.  For this I think the evidence is overwhelming.  Wherever we look in antiquity, there is some kind of evidence that supports it, either in literary texts or in archeological artifacts.  Apart from this theory, why are there gods?  Why religions?  Why does all ancient literature seem to be about gods and usually heard from gods?

      And why do we have verbal hallucinations at all?  Before the publication of this book, verbal hallucinations were not paid much attention to, except as the primary indicator of schizophrenia.  But since that time, a flurry of studies have shown that the incidence of verbal hallucinations is far more widespread than was thought previously.  Roughly one third of normal people hear hallucinated voices at some time.  Children hear voices from their imaginary or we should say hallucinated playmates.  It has recently been discovered that congenital quadriplegics who have never in their lives spoken or moved, and are often regarded as "vegetables," not only understand language perfectly but also hear voices they regard as God.[7] The importance I put on these studies taken together is that they clearly indicate to me that there is a genetic basis for such hallucinations in us all) and that it was probably evolved into the human genome back in the late Pleistocene, and then became the basis for the bicameral mind.

      3.   The dating.  The third general hypothesis is that consciousness was learned only after the breakdown of the bicameral mind.  I believe this is true, that the anguish of not knowing what to do in the chaos resulting from the loss of the gods provided the social conditions that could result in the invention of a new mentality to replace the old one.

      But actually there are two possibilities here.  A weak form of the theory would state that, yes, consciousness is based on language, but instead of its being so recent, it began back at the beginning of language, perhaps even before civilization, say, about I2)000 B.C., at about the time of the beginning of the bicameral mentality of hearing voices.  Both systems of mind then could have gone on together until the bicameral mind became unwieldy and was sloughed off, leaving consciousness on its own as the medium of human decisions.  This is an extremely weak position because it could then explain almost anything and is almost undisprovable.

      The strong form is of greater interest and is as I have stated it in introducing the concept of the bicameral mind.  It sets an astonishingly recent date for the introduction into the world of this remarkable privacy of covert events which we call consciousness.  The date is slightly different in different parts of the world, but in the Middle East, where bicameral civilization began, the date is roughly 1000 B.C.

      This dating I think can be seen in the evidence from Mesopotamia, where the breakdown of the bicameral mind, beginning about 1200 B.C., is quite clear.  It was due to chaotic social disorganizations, to overpopulation, and probably to the success of writing in replacing the auditory mode of command.  This breakdown resulted in many practices we would now call religious which were efforts to return to the lost voices of the gods, e.g., prayer, religious worship, and particularly the many types of divination I have described, which are new ways of making decisions by supposedly returning to the directions of gods by simple analogy.

      I would not now make as much of the Thera explosion as I did in II-3.  But that it did cause the disruption of theocracy in the Near East and hence the conditions for the learning of a non-hallucinatory mentality is I think valid.  But in the general case, I would rather emphasize that the success of a theocratic agricultural civilization brings with it overpopulation and thus the seeds of its own breakdown.  This is suggested at least among the civilizations of Mesoamerica, where the relative rapidity of the rise and fall of civilizations with the consequent desertion of temple complexes contrasts with the millennia-long civilizations in the older parts of the world.

      But is this consciousness or the concept of consciousness?  This is the well-known use-mention criticism which has been applied to Hobbes and others as well as to the present theory.  Are we not confusing here the concept of consciousness with consciousness itself?  My reply is that we are fusing them, that they are the same.  As Dan Dennett has pointed out in a recent discussion of the theory,[8] there are many instances of mention and use being identical.  The concept of baseball and baseball are the same thing.  Or of money, or law, or good and evil.  Or the concept of this book.

      4.   The double brain.  When in any discussion or even in our thinking we can use spatial terms, as in "locating" a problem or ((situating" a difficulty in an argument, as if everything in existence were spread out like land before us, we seem to get a feeling of clarity.  This pseudo-clarity, as it should be called, in because of the spatial nature of consciousness.  So in locating functions in different parts of the brain we seem to get an extra surge of clarity about them—justified or not.

      At the time I was writing that part of the book in the 1960s, there was little interest in the right hemisphere.  Even as late as 1964, some leading neuroscientists were saying that the right hemisphere did nothing, suggesting it was like a spare tire.  But since then we have seen an explosion of findings about right hemisphere function, leading, I am afraid, to a popularization that verges on some of the shrill excesses of similar discussions of asymmetrical hemisphere function in the latter part of the nineteenth century[9] and also in the twentieth century.[10]

      But the main results, even conservatively treated, are generally in agreement with what we might expect to find in the right hemisphere on the basis of the bicameral hypothesis.  The most significant such finding is that the right hemisphere is the hemisphere which processes information in a synthetic manner.  It is now well known from even more studies that the right hemisphere is far superior to the left in fitting together block designs (Kohs Block Design Test), parts of faces, or musical chords,[11] and such synthetic functions were indeed those of the admonitory gods in fitting together civilizations.

      The reader has by now guessed that a somewhat crucial experiment is possible.  Since I have supposed that the verbal hallucinations heard by schizophrenics and others are similar to those once heard by bicameral people, could we not test out this cerebral location in the right temporal lobe of the voices by one of the new brain imaging techniques, using patients as they are hallucinating?  This has recently been tried using cerebral glucography with positron tomography, a very difficult procedure.  Indeed, the results demonstrated that there was more glucose uptake (showing more activity) in the right temporal lobe when the patient was hearing voices.[12]

      I wish to emphasize that these four hypotheses are separable.  The last, for example, could be mistaken (at least in the simplified version I have presented) and the others true.  The two hemispheres of the brain are not the bicameral mind but its present neurological model.  The bicameral mind is an ancient mentality demonstrated in the literature and artifacts of antiquity.

      The last line of Book III sounds indeed like a ponderous finality of judgment.  It is.  But it is also the beginning, the opening up of human nature as we know it and feel it profoundly because consciously in ourselves, with all its vicissitudes, clarifies, and obscurities.  Because of the documentation, we can see this most clearly in Greece in the first half of the first millennium B.C., where the change can truly be called

The Cognitive Explosion.

      With consciousness comes an increased importance of the spatialization of time and new words for that spatialization, like chronos.  But that is to put it too mildly.  It is a cognitive explosion with the interaction of consciousness and the rest of cognition producing new abilities.  Whereas bicameral beings knew what followed what and where they were, and had behavioral expectancies and sensory recognitions just as all mammals do, now conscious, humans can 'look' into an imagined future with all its potential of terror, joy, hope, or ambition, just as if it were already real, and into a past moody with what might have been, or savoring what did, the past emerging through the metaphier of a space through I whose long shadows we may move in a new and magical process called remembrance or reminiscence.

      Reminiscent memory (or episodic memory, as it is sometimes called),[13] in sharp contrast to habit retention (or semantic memory), is new to the world with consciousness.  And because a physical space in the world can always be returned to, so we feel irrationally, somehow certain, impossibly certain, that we should be able to return again to some often unfinished relationship, some childhood scene or situation or regretted outburst of love or temper or to undo some tragic chance action back in the imagined in existent space of the past.

      We thus have conscious lives and lifetimes and can peer through the murk of tomorrow toward our own dying.  With the prodding of Heraclitus in the sixth century B.C.,[14] we invent new words or really modifications of old words to name processes or symbolize actions over time by adding the suffix sis and so be conscious of them, words in Greek like gnosis, a knowing; genesis, a beginning; emphasis, a showing in; analysis, a loosening up; or particularly phronesis, which is variously translated as intellection, thinking, understanding, or consciousness.  These words and the processes they refer to are new in the sixth and seventh centuries B.C.[15]

The Self

      Along this new lifetime, putting together similar occurrences or excerpts of them—inferences from what others tell us we are and from what we can tell ourselves on the basis of our own consciousness of what we have done—we come to construct or invent, on a continuing basis, in ourselves and in others, a self.  The advantage of an idea of your self is to help you know what you can or can't do or should or should not do.  Bicameral individuals had stable identities, names to which they or others could attach epithets, but such verbal identity is a far shallower form of behavior than the consciously constructed although variable, fragile, and defensive self that shakily pilots us through the alternatives of living consciously.

      Particularly with regard to the self, but also in all of the treacherous terminology of mind, we must beware of the perils of polysemy or homonymic or multi-referential confusion, as I have called it elsewhere.  This results from the historical growth and inner alterations of most mental terms; the referrent of a term changes usually with the addition of new conscious referrents until the term is really multi-referential.  "Self" is a good example.  Originally, the word (or corresponding word in whatever language) probably was simply used as an identity marker as in all its many compounds: self-employed, self-discipline, etc.  Or as when we say a fly washes itself.  But with the fractal-like proliferation and intensification of consciousness through history, particularly since the twelfth century A.D., a very different referrent of "self" came into existence.  It is the answer to the question "Who am 1?”  Most social psychologists accept that denotation of self.

      Thus, as John Locke somewhere says,[16] if we cut off a finger, we have not diminished the self.  The body is not the self.  An early critic of my book pointed to the well-known fact that mirrors were used far back into antiquity[17] and therefore such ancient peoples were conscious.  But we don't see our selves in mirrors, although we say so; we see our faces.  The face is not the self.

      Because of the importance of this confusion and its frequency in misunderstanding my book, I would like here to describe a few other studies briefly.  When presented with mirrors, most fish, birds, or mammals react with complete disinterest or else engage in social or aggressive displays or attack their mirror images.  But humans and chimpanzees are different: they like mirrors.  Human children go through four stages of behavior with respect to their mirror images.  At first there is little reaction, then smiling, touching, vocalizing as if it were another child, then a stage of testing or repetitive activity while observing the mirror image intently, and then, when the child is almost two years old, the adult reaction to the image as if it were its own.[18] The test for this final stage has been to smear rouge on the child's nose and then have the child look in a mirror and see if the child touches its nose—which it readily does by age two.[19]

      But the real interest in this phenomenon began when Gallup showed that the same effect could be obtained with chimpanzees.[20] Chimpanzees after extensive experience with mirrors were put under deep anesthesia.  Then a conspicuous spot of red dye was daubed on the brow or top half of an ear.  Upon awakening, the chimpanzees paid no attention to the markings, showing that no local tactile stimulation was present.  But when a mirror was provided, the chimpanzees, who by now were very familiar with their mirror images, immediately reached for the color spot to rub or pick it off, showing they knew the mirror images of themselves.  Other chimpanzees that had had no experience with mirrors did not react in this way.  Hence it was claimed that chimpanzees have selves and self-recognition.  Or, in the words of one of the major senior figures in animal behavior, "the results provide clear evidence of self-awareness in chimpanzees.”[21]

      This conclusion is incorrect.  Self-awareness usually means the consciousness of our own persona over time, a sense of who we are, our hopes and fears, as we daydream about ourselves in relation to others.  We do not see our conscious selves in mirrors, even though that image may become the emblem of the self in many cases.  The chimpanzees in this experiment and the two-year-old child learned a point-to-point relation between a mirror image and the body, wonderful as that is.  Rubbing a spot noticed in the mirror is not essentially different from rubbing a spot noticed on the body without a mirror.  The animal is not shown to be imagining himself anywhere else, or thinking of his life over time, or introspecting in any sense—all signs of a conscious self.

      This less interesting, more primitive interpretation was made even clearer by an ingenious experiment done in Skinner's laboratory.[22] Essentially the same paradigm was followed with pigeons, except that it required a series of specific trainings with the mirror, whereas the chimpanzee or child in the earlier experiments was, of course, self-trained.  But after about fifteen hours of such training when the contingencies were carefully controlled, it was found that a pigeon also could use a mirror to locate a blue spot on its body which it could not see directly, though it had never been explicitly trained to do so.  I do not think that a pigeon because it can be so trained has a self-concept.

From Affect to Emotion

      The new spatialized time in which events and experiences could be located, remembered, and anticipated results not only in the conscious construction of a self, but also in a dramatic alteration of our emotions.  We share with other mammals a not very orderly repertoire of affects whose neural substrate was evolved long ago by natural selection into the limbic system deep in the brain.  I wish here to mention three: fear, shame, and mating.  And in doing so I wish to forewarn the reader that terminology is again a problem, particularly in this area—even the word affect, which I do not like to use because it is so often confused with effect and sounds strange to the nonprofessional.  By affect, psychology means to designate a biologically organized behavior that has a specific anatomical expression and a specific biochemistry, one that dissipates with time.  But with consciousness, all this is changed.

      I shall call this consciousness of a past or future affect an emotion, as that is how we describe it.  And what I am proposing here is a two-tiered theory of emotions for modern human beings as distinguished from bicameral man and other animals.[23] There are the basic affects of mammalian life and then our emotions, which are the consciousness of such affects located inside an identity in a lifetime, past or future, and which, be it noted, have no biologically evolved mechanisms of stopping.

From Fear to Anxiety

      In fear, there are a class of stimuli, usually abrupt and menacing, which stop the animal or person from ongoing behavior, provoke flight, and in most social mammals produce specific bodily expressions and internally a rise in the level of catecholamines in the blood, such as adrenalin and noradrenalin.  This is the well-known emergency response, which dissipates after a few minutes if the frightening object or situation is removed.

      But with consciousness in a modern human being, when we reminisce about previous fears or imagine future ones, fear becomes mixed with the feeling of anxiety.  If we wish to make echoes here of the James-Lange theory of the emotions, we would call anxiety the knowledge of our fear.  We see a bear, run away in fear, and have anxiety.  But anxiety as a rehearsal of actual fear partially occasions the emergency response at least weakly.  It is man's new capacity for conscious imagery that can keep an analog of the frightening situation in consciousness with a continuing response to it.  And how to turn off this response with its biochemical basis was and I think still is a problem for conscious human beings, particularly with the resulting increase in catecholamine levels and all its long-term effects.  I would ask you here to consider what it was like for an individual back in the first millennium B.C. to have these anxieties that did not have their own built-in mechanism of cessation and before human beings learned conscious mechanisms of thought for doing so.

      This is demonstrated in the famous incident described by Herodotus of the very first tragedy performed in Athens.  It was performed only once.  The play was The Fall of Miletus by Phrynicus, describing the sack of that Ionian city by the Persians in 494.  B.C., a disaster that had happened the previous year.  The reaction of the audience was so extreme that all Athens could not function for several days.  Phrynicus was banished, never to be heard of again, and his tragedy burnt.

From Shame to Guilt

      The second biological affect I wish to consider here is shame.  Because it is a socially evoked affect, it has rarely been studied experimentally, in either animals or humans.  It is a complicated affect whose occasioning stimuli often have to do with maintaining hierarchical relationships in highly social animals, and is the submissive response to rejection by the hierarchical group.  While such biological shame is apparent as a controlling mechanism in carnivore groups, it is much more obvious among the primates, and particularly in human beings.  We seem to be ashamed to talk about shame, and, indeed, as adults, we have been so shaped by shame in the past, so confined to a narrow band of socially acceptable behavior, that it is rarely occasioned.

      But when we think back to our childhoods, the piercing, throbbing trauma of being rejected by our peer groups, the fear of inappropriately crossing over from the private domain into the public countenance, the agony when we do, particularly in relation to sexual and excretory functions, toilet accidents of others or ourselves, but also in a milder form, in wanting to be dressed the same as other children, to receive as many valentines, and to be promoted with the rest, or have parents equal in wealth, health, or promise to the parents of others, or not to be beaten up or teased by others, sometimes even to be average in schoolwork when one is really superior—anything to be sure that one is snugly sunk deeply into one's cohort—these are some of the most powerful and profound influences on our development.  We should remember here that as we grow older, our cohort is less and less our immediate peer group and more and more our family tradition, race, religion, union, or profession, et cetera.

      The physiological expression of shame or humiliation involves of course blushing, dropping of the eyes and of the head, and the behavioral one of simply hiding from the group.  Unfortunately, nothing is known about its biochemical or neurological basis.

      If you wish to feel shame in its pure form, this stepping outside what is expected of you, simply stand out in a busy street and shout out the time in minutes and seconds over the heads of everyone who passes by, and do it for five minutes—or until you are taken away.  This is shame, but not guilt, because you have done nothing your society has taught you to call wrong.

      And now consider what conscious reminiscence and imagery of the future bring to this affect.  And particularly consider this in the milieu of ethical, right and wrong that developed as markers for behavior after the breakdown of the bicameral mind with its certainty of gods, directives.  Wrongs, or by another word, sins, or indeed anything that would eject us from society if it were known or seem to eject us from society can be reminisced about out of the past and worried about for the future.  And this we call guilt.  No one before 1000 B.C. ever felt guilt, even while shame was the way groups and societies were held together.

      To indicate the evidence that guilt as opposed to shame is a new emotion at this time, I would cite a single bit of evidence, and one that is well known.[24] This is the story of Oedipus.  It is referred to in two lines of the Iliad and two lines in the Odyssey which I think we can take as indicating the true story, as it came down from bicameral times.  The story seems to be about a man who killed his father and then unwittingly married his mother and so became King of Thebes, proceeding to have several children-siblings by his mother, then discovering what he had done, certainly feeling shame since incest had always been a taboo, but evidently recovering from that shame, living a happy life thereafter with his wife-mother, and dying with royal honors sometime later.  This was written down around 800 B.C., but the story comes from several centuries before that.

      And then, only four hundred years later, we have the great trilogy of Sophocles on the subject, a play about unknown guilt, guilt so extreme that a whole city is in famine because of it, so convulsive that the culprit when he discovers his guilt is not worthy to look upon the world again and stabs his eyes into darkness with the brooches clutched from his mother-wife's breasts, and is led away by his sister-daughters into a mystical death at Colonus.

      And again, there is no biological mechanism for getting rid of guilt.  How to get rid of guilt is a problem which a host of learned social rituals of reacceptance are now developed: scapegoat ceremonies among the Hebrews (the word for sending away translates now as "forgiveness"), the similar pharmakos among the Greeks (again the word aphesis for sending the pharmakos away becomes the Greek for "forgiveness"), "purification" ceremonies of many sorts, baptism, the taurobolium, the haj, confession, the tashlik, the mass, and of course the Christian cross, which takes away the sins of the world (note the metaphors and analogies in all this).  Even changing the nature of God to a forgiving father.

      And I would also have you note here that while the affects are usually discrete, and evoked in very specific kinds of situations for specific kinds of responses, the emotions in consciousness are not discrete, can meld and evoke each other.  I've just said that in guilt we can have worry about future shameful experiences, which indeed is anxiety, and we thus have two emotions, anxiety and guilt, coming together as an even more powerful emotion.

From Mating to "Sex"

      The third example I would consider here is the affect of mating.  It is similar in some respects to other affects but in other ways quite distinct.  Animal studies show that mating, contrary to what the popular mind thinks, is not a necessary drive that builds up like hunger or thirst (although it seems so because of consciousness), but an elaborate behavior pattern waiting to be triggered off by very specific stimuli.  Mating in most animals is thus confined to certain appropriate times of the year or day as well as to certain appropriate sets of stimuli as in another's behavior, or pheromones, light conditions, privacy, security, and many other variables.  These include the enormous variety of extremely complicated courtship procedures that for rather subtle evolutionary advantages seem in many animals almost designed to prevent mating rather than to encourage it, as one might expect from an oversimplified idea of the workings of natural selection.  Among the anthropoid apes, in contrast to other primates, mating is so rare in the natural habitat as to have baffled early ethologists as to how these most human-like species reproduced at all.  So too perhaps with bicameral man.

      But when human beings can be conscious about their mating behavior, can reminisce about it in the past and imagine it in the future, we are in a very different world, indeed, one that seems more familiar to us.  Try to imagine what your "sexual life" would be if you could not fantasize about sex.

      What is the evidence for this change?  Scholars of the ancient world, I think, would agree that the murals and sculptures of what I'm calling the bicameral world, that is, before 1000 B.C.) are chaste; depictions with sexual references are scarcely existent, although there are exceptions.  The modest, innocent murals from bicameral Thera now on the second floor of the National Museum in Athens are good examples.

      But with the coming of consciousness, particularly in Greece, where the evidence is most clear, the remains of these early Greek societies are anything but chaste.[25] Beginning with seventh century B.C. vase paintings, with the depictions of ithyphallic satyrs, new, semi-divine beings, sex seems indeed a prominent concern.  And I mean to use the word concern, for it does not at first seem to be simply pornographic excitement.  For example, on one island in the Aegean, Delos, is a temple of huge phallic erections.

      Boundary stones all over Attica were in the form of what are called herms: square stone posts about four feet high, topped with a sculptured head usually of Hermes and, at the appropriate height, the only other sculptured feature of the post, a penile erection.  Not only were these herms not laughter-producing, as they certainly would be to children of today, they were regarded as serious and important, since in Plato's Symposium "the mutilation of the herms" by the drunken general Alcibiades, in which he evidently knocked off these protuberances with his sword around the city of Athens, is regarded as a sacrilege.

      Erect phalli of stone or other material have been found in large numbers in the course of excavations.  There were amulets of phalli.  Vase paintings show naked female dancers swinging a phallus in a Dionysian cult.  One inscription describes the measures to be taken even in times of war to make sure that the phallus procession should be led safely into the city.  Colonies were obliged to send phalli to Athens for the great Dionysian festivals.  Even Aristotle refers to phallic farces or satyr plays which generally followed the ritual performances of the great tragedies.

      If this were all, we might be able to agree with older Victorian interpretations that this phallicism was merely an objective fertility rite.  But the evidence from actual sexual behavior following the advent of conscious fantasy speaks otherwise.  Brothels, supposedly instituted by Solon, were everywhere and of every kind by the fourth century B.C. Vase paintings depict every possible sexual behavior from masturbation to bestiality to human threesomes, as well as homosexuality in every possible form.

      The latter indeed began only at this time, due, I suggest, in part to the new human ability to fantasize.  Homosexuality is utterly absent from the Homeric poems.  This is contrary to what some recent Freudian interpretations and even classical references of this period (particularly after its proscription by Plato in The Laws as being contrary to physis, or nature), seeking authorization for homosexuality in Homer, having projected into the strong bonding between Achilles and Patroclus.

      And again I would have you consider the problem twenty-five hundred years ago, when human beings were first conscious and could first fantasize about sex, of how they learned to control sexual behavior to achieve a stable society.  Particularly because erectile tissue in the male is more prominent than in the female, and that feedback from even partial erections would promote the continuance of sexual fantasy (a process called recruitment), we might expect that this was much more of a male problem than a female one.  Perhaps the social customs that came into being for such control resulted in the greater social separation of the sexes (which was certainly obvious by the time of Plato) as well as an enhanced male dominance.  We can think of modern orthodox Muslim societies in this respect, in which an exposed female ankle or lock of hair is punishable by law.

      I certainly will admit that there are large vacant places in the evidence for what I am saying.  And of course there are other affects, like anger becoming our hatred, or more positive ones like excitement with the magical touch of consciousness becoming joy, or affiliation consciousized into love.  I have chosen anxiety, guilt, and sex as the most socially important.  Readers of a Freudian persuasion will note that their theorizing could begin here.  I hope that these hypotheses can provide historians more competent than myself with a new way of looking at this extremely important period of human history, when so much of what we regard as modern psychology and personality was being formed for the first time.

      There is so much more to do, so many more bays and inlets of history and theory to explore.  The tracking of ancient mentalities is an ongoing process that is leading to new insights and discoveries.  Since I do not know Chinese, I could not address that part of the data in the book.  But I am pleased that my associate Michael Carr, an expert in ancient Chinese texts, is making up for that lack in a series of definitive papers.[26] The dating here is approximately the same as in Greece, which has led some historians to call this period the "axial age."

      Several scholars have explored the ramifications of the theory in literature, particularly Judith Weissman, whose book with the working title of Vision, Madness, and Morality, Poetry and the Theory of the Bicameral Mind is being completed as I am writing.[27] Thomas Posey is continuing his studies of verbal hallucinations, Ross Maxwell is doing further historical studies, and many others, such as D. C. Stove,[28] I also thank for their support and encouragement.                PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, 1990

 

[1] Bertrand Russell, Analysis of Mind (London: Allen and Unwin, 1921).

[2] Bertrand Russell, Philosophy (New York: Norton, 1927).

[3] My friend W. V. Quine strenuously objects to my metaphrand-metaphier coinage because they are hybrids of Latin and Greek.  I have opted to keep them however for their connotative association with multiplicand and multiplier.  He has made the interesting suggestion that perhaps this distinction is related to the latent-manifest distinction of psychoanalysis.  Are dreams metaphors?  Is what Freud called the unconscious actually the latent metaphrand operated on by the manifest metaphier?

[4] It would be interesting to see experimentally if training in accurate and fast attention resulted in better concentration in tasks when tested with distraction.

[5] William Whewell, Theory of Scientific Method (1858), ed.  R. E. Butts (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1968).

[6] For readers who would like an abstract of how this theory translates into dreams, I would suggest that they read my Bauer Symposium lecture in Canadian Psychology, 1986, 27:128-182, particularly pages 146 and I47.

[7] John Hamilton, "Auditory Hallucinations in Nonverbal Quadriplegics," Psychi4try, 985, 48:3 82-392. For other work on verbal hallucinations, see my "Verbal Hallucinations and Preconscious Mentality," in Manfred Spitzer and Brendan H. Maher, eds., Philosophy and Psychopathology (New York: Springer Verlag, 1990), pp.  157-170.

[8] Daniel Dennett, "Julian Jaynes' Software Archeology," Canadian Psychology, 1986, 27:149-154.

[9] Anne Harrington, '(Nineteenth Century Ideas on Hemisphere Differences and 'Duality of Mind,'” Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 1985, 8:517-659, or her excellent enlarged study, Medicine, Mind, and the Double Brain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987).

[10] S. J. Segalowitz, Two Sides of the Brain (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1983).

[11] M. P. Bryden, Laterality: Functional Asymmetry in the Intact Brain (New York: Academic Press, 1982).

[12] M. S. Buchsbaum, D. H. Ingvar, R. Kessler, R. N. Waters, J. Cappelletti, D. P. van Kammen, A. C. King, J. L. Johnson, R. G. Manning, R. W. Flynn, L. S. Mann, W. E. Bonney, and L. Sokoloff, "Cerebral Glucography with Positron Tomography: Use in Normal Subjects and in Patients with Schizophrenia," .Archives of General Psychiatry, 1982, 39:251-259.

[13] Endel Tulving, Element; of Episodic Memory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983).

[14] Howard Jones, "Sis Nouns in Heraclitus," Museum Africum, 1974-, 3:1-13. I am grateful to Professor Jones for discussion on this point.

[15] This has been noted and emphasized by several classical scholars including Bruno Snell, speaking of "a new 'mental' concord that apparently was not possible before the seventh century when a new dimension of the intellect is opened." Cited by Joseph Russo in "The Inner Man in Archilochus and the Odyssey," Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, 1974, .5:139, n. i, who prefers an earlier date for this transformation, as his title indicates.

[16] But see Locke's profoundly modern discussion in Essay on the Human Understanding, II:10-29.

[17] Exactly the significance of such mirrors is a question.  In the archeological museum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I have seen an ancient tombstone with the outline of a lady holding such a mirror.  Would this be vanity?  Were mirrors hand idols which were common in bicameral Mesopotamia?  The mystery of the use of mirrors in Mayan iconography should also be noted, as it usually represents a god or the brightness of a god.  See Linda Schele and Mary Ellen Miller, The Blood of Kings (Fort Worth: Kimbell Art Museum, 1986).

[18] J. C. Dixon, "Development of Self-recognition," Journal of Genetic Psychology, 1957, 91:251-256.

[19] B.  K. Amsterdam, "Mirror Self-image Reactions Before Age Two," Developmental Psychobiology, 1972) 5:297-305.

[20] G. G. Gallup, "Chimpanzees: Self-recognition," Science, 1970, 167:86-87.

[21] Donald R. Griffin, "Prospects for a Cognitive Ethology," Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1978, 4 :527-538.

[22] Robert Epstein, R. P. Lanza and B. F. Skinner, " 'Self awareness' in the Pigeon," Science, 1981, 212:695-696.

[23] Julian Jaynes, "A Two-tiered Theory of Emotions," Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1982, .5:434.-435, and also "Sensory Pain and Conscious Pain," Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1985, 8:61-63.

[24] E. R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951).

[25] Most of this information and references can be found in Hans Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece (London: Routledge, 1931), or in G. Rattray Taylor, Sex in History (New York: Vanguard Press, 1954).

[26] Michael Carr, "Sidelights on Xin 'Heart, Mind' in the Shijing," abstract in Proceedings of the 31st CISHAAN, Tokyo and Kyoto, 1983, 824-825, and his "Personation of the Dead in Ancient China," Computational .Analyses Of Asian and African Languages, 1985, 1-107.

[27] The title also of one of her papers: "Vision, Madness, and Morality: Poetry and the Theory of the Bicameral Mind," Georgia Review, 1979, 33:118-158.  See also her “Somewhere in Earshot: Yeats' Admonitory Gods," Pequod, 1982, 14 : 16-31.

[28] D. C. Stove, "The Oracles and Their Cessation: A Tribute to Julian Jaynes," Encounter, April 1989, pp. 30-38.

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