In 1976, the American Psychologist Julian Jaynes published an amazing and intriguing book with an equally amazing title.
It was a book that rocked both my world and mind at so many levels, and its implications and applications still echo and reverberate to this very day in my life and work.
The title of Jaynes book was, ‘The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind’. A hell of a mouthful!
The book covers a lot of ground, but at its heart it says that somewhere around 2500 to 3000 years ago, the meme (self-replicating idea) of self-consciousness (of reflective meta-consciousness) was bootstrapped in the human brain and that meme, over a number of generations lead to the breakdown of bicamerality (of split brained-ness – our left and right hemispheres of our head brain operating separately as ‘bicameral’ [two lobed]).
Along the way, Jaynes explored the nature and structure of metaphor and how humans use it to organise their reality and make meaning.
He examined what the evolutionary purpose of consciousness was. And he looked at extant literature as an archeological record, finding that the expression of self-consciousness only arose around 2500 years ago, and before that humans had no language or symbolic references for self-consciousness and allied conceptualisations.
Here’s what I discovered and what rocked my world!
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