The Origin of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

12 Oct 2016 01:25 #260837 by OB1Shinobi
dont know if you care to hear from me but this is an interesting idea and there are a lot of mythologies which portray humans as having once been closer to god or at least closer to perfection than we are now

heres a wili for anyone interested

i understand that the theory times the breakdown of the bichameral mind as around the same time as the develoment of written language, but does he actually have a hypothesis of why we evolved away from the bichameral state?

of what evolutionary factors pushed us away?

People are complicated.

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12 Oct 2016 02:24 #260843 by Alethea Thompson
If you're interested in the phenomena of Hearing Voices, I think you'll find the following book an excellent read on the subject matter. It happens to talk about the Bicameral Mind and the theory that it is a hold over from our primate days.

Gather at the River,
Setanaoko Oceana
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12 Oct 2016 02:25 - 12 Oct 2016 02:37 #260844 by Desolous
"but does he actually have a hypothesis of why we evolved away from the bichameral state?"

He does. A combination of societal pressures , such as Bicameral men being feared and shunned ( he references a verse from the Bible , late old testament, ordering parents to 'run through '/ stab children who prophesy , or hear the voice of Gods ) . And as more people became literate, the words of the gods were able to be read a d interpreted by more and more people, atrophying the right temporal lobe center of auditory hallucinations. He goes into a great deal more depth than that, and presents excellent source material. But I have a cat on me, and can't get to the book at the moment.

Suffice it to say, I found it eye opening as to the early Advent of religion across multiple early human societies, all sharing many similar paths of development giving rise to a shared brain origination, and Bicameral theory.

Edit: the verse on question is Zechariah 13:3. Here it is, King James version (the 'real' one in my opinion):

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.
Zechariah 13:3 KJV

This is of course not the only instance even just within the Bible of 'prophesiers' being killed. There is another verse regarding a king of old rounding up Bicameral men by the hundreds and slaying them. Please remind me tomorrow and I will post it.
Last edit: 12 Oct 2016 02:37 by Desolous.

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12 Oct 2016 09:13 #260863 by Gisteron
Broad scale literacy among the general population didn't really come about until well after the invention of the printing press. While not necessarily inconsistent with the hypothesis, I think it is somewhat of a cheat to refer to Bible passages that seem to indicate that at some point there was a prejudice against people who hear voices in their heads, meanwhile omitting all of the prejudices in their favour, like all of the Jewish prophets that hear the right voice of the true God. If it had been a normal thing in the distant past, people who had that "gift" would not be viewed as special, as enlightened or as prophets or as a threat. The fact that we find that they were to me speaks to this having been a rather rare thing at the time and it is not inconceivable to me that while at the beginnings of writing it was revered and considered a blessing, that as time showed more examples of unpredictable or dangerous behaviour, or false prophesies, or attributions of the voices to gods people around didn't acknowledge quite enough, people came to shun the 'gifted', or at least some of them, and view them as cursed or sick or possessed instead. Neither perception betrays it having been a normal thing.

As to my earlier remark about shocking numbers of people still communicating with gods or spirits, I must admit I did not look up the exact numbers as I didn't consider it to be a controversial proposition. I am thus willing to retract it pending further information, and reduce it to my personal anecdotal account for now. I have heard an unspecified number of mostly religious people reporting to speak to their respective god or gods regularly and frequently and receiving answers, too. Granted, few would admit to having had an auditory experience of their gods' response when pressed, more often they report that their prayers are answered in feeling they couldn't put into words or through events in their lives. Nobody admits that the conversation is wholly one-sided at first, and almost nobody admits it later on, when pressed.

Better to leave questions unanswered than answers unquestioned

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12 Oct 2016 09:27 - 12 Oct 2016 09:28 #260867 by Akkarin
I will probably read this book at some point but some more thoughts.

Those who claim to hear voices could be lying. Further what about cultures in which writing was never developed?, or developed very late. Writing didn't exist in South America until it was brought there by explorers from Western Europe. If there was a thinning of the bicameral population it wouldn't be nearly as extensive. Wouldn't greater numbers of bicameral individuals live in such societies? There are Inuit, African and Amazon societies which never had writing?
Last edit: 12 Oct 2016 09:28 by Akkarin.

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