Julian Jaynes Society Discussion Forum: Exploring Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind Theory since 1997

Mind Control and Cults
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Author:  lenny52682 [ Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Mind Control and Cults

I have studied the practice of mind control and brainwashing as it occurs in cults/totalitarian regimes. It is interesting to me that the bicameral mind and the cult mentality are similar in certain ways. Namely, the cultist under mind control as well as bicameral man perceive their loci of control as external. In the Dawn of Consciousness several tribal peoples are mentioned that have concepts of self that radically differ from our own. Did Jaynes study cult phenomena as it relates to his bicameral mind theory? Could mind control studies be used to shed greater light on Jaynesian ideas? Conversely, could the bicameral mind theory offer greater insights into studies of mind control, cults, social psychology, etc.?

Author:  Moderator [ Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mind Control and Cults

Absolutely. One can make the case that cult mentality is a vestige of the bicameral mind. It could also be argued that both the psychology of the bicameral mind and cult mentality stem from evolutionary-based genetic predispositions to follow the group or tribe leader that go back to primates. This topic is also touched on in Reflections on page 132. While I don't think Jaynes studied this in-depth, he certainly was aware of the relationship between the bicameral mind and cult mentality, and mentions it in several places in The Julian Jaynes Collection. Also relevant here is the study of hypnosis with relation to the bicameral mind.

Author:  lenny52682 [ Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mind Control and Cults

The relationship between bicameral phenomena and cult/totalitarian phenomena is something that I would like to explore more. There seem to be several points of agreement as well as a few important differences. When examining schizophrenia as a vestige of the bicameral mind, Jaynes was careful to point out that this illness is only a partial relapse into the bicameral mind. The schizophrenic is socialized as a conscious person and, although he hears voices, he does not loose his analog-I.

I would like to suggest that, while schizophrenia represents a partial relapse into the bicameral mind on an individual level, cults and totalitarian societies represent a partial relapse into the bicameral mind at a social level.

Here are some points of agreement that I have been able to discern. The cult leader/ totalitarian ruler is analogous to the steward king. The doctrines of cults and totalitarian regimes are like the mystical world views found in bicameral life. The command economies under communism, fascism, cultism, etc. are analogous to the palatial economies of bicameral society. The pyramidal power structures are shared by both social systems as well. Lastly, both social systems are basically barren of any significant individual volition.

However there are differences as well. Cult members and citizens under totalitarianism are not devoid of consciousness. Their sense of free will is repressed through manipulation and brute force but it still exists. Bicamerals did not possess free will and therefore, were not repressed with propaganda and the threat of violence. Cults are primarily destructive in nature but bicameral society was task-oriented and quite constructive in nature. The first instances of political/religious oppression and rebellion occurred in the breakdown of the bicameral mind. It is interesting that many other instances of repression in the conscious era have been brought about by a partial relapse into bicamerality i.e. totalitarianism and cultism.

Author:  lenny52682 [ Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Hallucinations

Something that I neglected to touch upon is the hallucinatory nature of the bicameral mind as it relates to cult mind control. Baring the use of illicit drugs, cults, more than likely, do not induce auditory hallucinations in their adherents. These "divine voices/commands" are the possession of bicamerals, schizophrenics, and even normal persons at times of great distress. Such experiences do not, however, characterize the life of cult/totalitarian societies. Persons under mind control are forced to subsume their identities to the will of the cult leader/totalitarian ruler but they still remain conscious.

I would suggest, however, that cults/totalitarians employ the use slogans that are repeated continuously as a means of shaping the collective mentalities of their societies. These seemingly empty platitudes serve essentially the same function as the hallucinatory commands of the bicameral mind. They create consensus and social coherence. They also keep people performing and achieving their respective tasks.

Slogans under cultism/totalitarianism are, in a sense, the "hallucinatory commands" of the conscious mind.

Author:  Star [ Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mind Control and Cults

I think there is validity in pursuing mind control/cult connection. Jaynes does discuss the General Bicameral Paradigm that may have existed after the breakdown of bicameralism. Most if not of all if this seems to be applicable to cults in my opinion.

"By this phrase, I mean an hypothesized structure behind a large class of phenomena of diminished consciousness which I am interpreting as holdovers from our earlier mentality.
The paradigm has four aspects:

the collective cognitive imperative, or belief system, a culturally defined agreed on expectancy or prescription which defines the particular form of a phenomenon and the roles to be acted out within that form;

an induction or formally ritualized procedure whose function is the narrowing of consciousness by focusing attention on a small range of preoccupations;

the trance itself, a response to both the preceding, characterized by a lessening of consciousness or its loss, the diminishing of the analog "I", or its loss, resulting in a role that is accepted, tolerated, or encouraged by the group; and

the archaic authorization to which the trance is directed or related to, usually a god, but sometimes a person who is accepted by the individual and his culture as an authority over the individual, and who by the collective cognitive imperative is prescribed to responsible for controlling the trance state."

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