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PRAISE FOR GODS, VOICES, AND THE BICAMERAL MIND

"This was my first exposure to Julian Jaynes' theory, and I was shocked that I hadn't heard about it before. Jaynes is clearly on to something. This book gave me new insights into both human history and many aspects of modern culture. Highly recommended!"

— Paul M., Amazon.com

"Fascinating theory... A highly enjoyable and intellectually stimulating book. In the introduction Kuijsten writes that Jaynesí theory provides a more logically consistent understanding of human history, and that many of the practices of ancient and modern cultures are difficult to makes sense of without the benefit of Jaynes' ideas. Jaynes' theory felt implausible to me when I first read his book, but my attitude toward it changed as I read this book and compared it to my expanded perspective on the history of the last 3,000 years. I now find other accounts of the cultural evolution of humanity too limited and see what Kuijsten and the other authors describe as highly probable. This book can be read without having read Jaynes' book because enough of Jaynes theory is explained in the first two chapters and later as needed. Should be read widely!"

— Jeff Kovatch, Amazon.com

"Highly thought provoking... Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind greatly added to my understanding and appreciation for Jaynes' theory. It delves into many areas of Jaynes' theory not previously discussed, for example new research on the transition from bicamerality to consciousness in ancient Tibet. This book can also be read as an introduction to Jaynes' ideas for those new to the subject. Jaynes' theory is highly compelling and has tremendous implications... it will change how you view the history of human civilization and modern society alike.

— Cass, Amazon.com

"Five stars! More research on Jaynes' outrageous and splendid theory. The evidence is accumulating."

— Ronald Wardrop, Amazon.com

"Maybe just a couple of times a day we realize that we are thinking about things, ourselves included. Some say only the absence of thinking allows us to be creative. Other say that in the flow of automatic movements we can choose a new strategy, consciousness at work. The theories of Jaynes are guiding us to an understanding of consciousness. Perhaps after reading this book, we can "include the knower in the known." It is a joy to read Gods, Voices and the Bicameral Mind: the Theories of Julian Jaynes, and we are indebted to Marcel Kuijsten for this most intriguing collection of essays."

— Roland Sassen, The Netherlands

"In this, the fourth full-length book published by the Julian Jaynes Society, Marcel Kuijsten brings together essays by 14 contributors who explicate, expand, and apply the hugely novel theory of human psychic evolution set down 40 years ago in The Origin of Consciousness In The Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Notwithstanding the success of Jaynes's theories in explaining and predicting historical and neurological discoveries, his work continues to require vigorous and tenacious promotion because, as this book shows, important potential applications remain to be tried. These applications involve not just refining knowledge, as in contributor Todd Gibson's reconstructions of ancient Tibetan culture, but also guiding personal and societal development going forward.

"Contributor Brian McVeigh, who studied with Jaynes at Princeton, suggests a change in terminology to help others build on Jaynes's achievement: 'I have, perhaps rather presumptuously, decided to use the term 'interiority' in place of consciousness. Interiority (or 'conscious interiority') denotes an imaginary place or the belief in a 'mental space' that exists 'in' the 'head,' in which a 'self' moves about and psychological events and processes transpire. Interiority is not biologically innate (nature); rather, it is culturally constructed (nurture).' Contributor Bill Rowe explores child development stages as documented by Chinese as well as Western psychologists and demonstrates that the appearance of conscious interiority follows and is conditioned by an earlier acquisition of executive skills - 'response inhibition, task flexibility, working memory, and cognitive conflict resolution.'

"This book gives stimulating insights into a wide range of topic areas, but its greater value, in this reviewer's opinion, is to prod educators and all of us to recognize that the omnipresent "I" in our individual lives is culturally constructed. 'I' is not the essence of my being. It's an attribute. It doesn't define 'me'. Can humans discern a path forward to a less messed-up world? It may depend on whether, as Kuijsten states in his introduction, we 'find better ways to teach [conscious interiority] to each successive generation, as well as find ways to continue to develop and expand our own [conscious interiority] throughout life.'"

— Philip P. Ardery, Louisville, KY


PRAISE FOR JULIAN JAYNES'S THEORY

"... [O]ne of the most thought-provoking and debated theories about the origin of the conscious mind."

— Andrea Cavanna, M.D., in Consciousness: Theories in Neuroscience and Philosophy of Mind

"[Jaynes's] proposal is too interesting to ignore."

— David Eagleman, Ph.D., in Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

"... I sympathize with Julian Jaynes's claim that something of great import may have happened to the human mind during the relatively brief interval of time between the events narrated in the Iliad and those that make up the Odyssey."

— Antonio Damasio, Ph.D., in Self Comes to Mind

"... Scientific interest in [Jaynes's] work has been re-awakened by the consistent findings of right-sided activation patterns in the brain, as retrieved with the aid of neuroimaging studies in individuals with verbal auditory hallucinations."

— Jan Dirk Blom, M.D., Ph.D., in A Dictionary of Hallucinations