The Bicameral Mind

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind Image: amazon.com
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
Image: amazon.com

 

Mark Hamilton is a prolific writer and the founder of the Neothink Society. In his many books on economics, politics, and culture applying the Neothink philosophy, Mark Hamilton draws on a psychological concept from Dr. Julian Jaynes called the bicameral mind.

In his 2000 book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Jaynes explains that human consciousness, and specifically introspection, came about only about 3000 years ago. The theory is that the early human mind was bicameral, meaning the two hemispheres were separate. The left hemisphere could think logically and would issue commands that the right brain would respond to and obey as if to the word of god. This idea would account for early mythologies of gods as anthropomorphic, flawed, and varied, since each person would have a personal “god” that would speak to them. It also could explain the experience of hearing voices for people with some forms of schizophrenia.

According to Jaynes’ theory, the various stresses and natural catastrophes of the second millennium B.C.E created a cultural shift that encouraged the two halves of the brain to connect and communicate in a more holistic way, creating the possibility for introspection.

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