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

Proof for Consciousness Based on Language through Infant....
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Author:  ConscObjctr [ Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Proof for Consciousness Based on Language through Infant....

Proof for Consciousness Based on Language through Infant Child Exchanging Experiment

After reading McVeigh's "The Self as Interiorized Social Relations" I came to think about - maybe a possible way to proof Jaynes' constructionist hypothesis of consciousness based on language and culture. His theory implies that a child of modern ultra-conscious parents, raised in a bicameral society, would turn out to become as bicameral as its surrounding society just like every other kid would do in it. And of course the opposite, that a child of non-conscious bicameral parents raised in any conscious society would as well be conscious.

I don't know if there are any 'sufficiently enough' bicameral towns or settlements still remaining on this planet. (There are several cultures where hallucination seems much more common though; Maori, Aboriginals, some region in Kenia, and surely many more). However, these may still hold the key to gaining irrefutable proof for the theory of Consciousness based on Language.

In order to aquire such a proof, I think, an effort has to be made for a sophisticated experiment involving mutual infant child exchanges with other earlier mentioned cultures.

I came to know a psychologist interested in schizophrenia and Bicamerality that will travel to a region in Kenia, where hallucinations seem to be more common. While there is still resentment shared by the Kenian people towards hallucinating people, there seems to be a region where it is pretty common aswell. It might be possible for here to make the initial arrangements towards such an effort.

I'm grateful for your thoughts on this. Especially any indications to certain literature where similar experiments might be documented. Thank you all in advance!

PS: Having said that, there are of course doubts arising here. If there were more of these calamities (vast migrations, eruptions, war efforts) and pogroms (Sons of the Nabiim) that killed most of the bicameral people, as Jaynes described in The Origin of Consciousness, then might there be a genetic basis in this aspect of brain function at all!?

Author:  Rollo [ Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Proof for Consciousness Based on Language through Infant

If modern consciousness is simply an appropriation of the bicameral hallucinations, then such child-exchanges should prove successful: that is, the children would take on the consciousness of their culture. If it is true, as Jaynes suspects, that selection pressures (and especially the deliberate selection that consciousness grants us) did drive a very rapid and determined change in human genetics then the experiment should fail; the children should retain the consciousness of their forebears.

In other words, if the experiment fails we can look for a genetic basis for consciousness. If the experiment succeeds we can be more confident that consciousness is a cultural construction, based in language and information.

Author:  ConscObjctr [ Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Proof for Consciousness Based on Language through Infant

While I seriously doubt there is a genetic basis for consciousness, Jaynes reported extinctions, pogroms etc of the bicameral people might aswell been acts of xenophobia or cultural dominance. Change in surrounding civilization complexity resulting in bicameral mind being overwhelmed and no longer suitable. However some hints on how to place these calamities inside Jaynes' thinking would be appreciated. Do they contradict Consciousness Based on Language?

Any known reports of previous attempts at this kind of experiment, anyone?

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