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

What "Is" Consciousness?
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Author:  diogenes [ Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:23 pm ]
Post subject:  What "Is" Consciousness?

I'll dare to start this topic. Here's a short, one-page, description:


Author:  Soupdragon [ Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Interesting links. I like the mirror analogies.

I tend to think that the Bicameral Mind offered a better balance between self (left) and the external world (right). In other words we felt a more profound conection with the world around us, and were less self-obsessed rather than necessarily less self-aware. Perhaps being more aware of our environment might actually make us more self-aware, as a result of feeling more important in some connected sense.

Perhaps some bicameral civilisations went too far the other way, with the worship of 'gods' taking precedence to some detrimental degree.

Author:  godmemes [ Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:22 am ]
Post subject: 

In regard to the model of consciousness (see the first link) offered for consideration by diogenes, I see a problem:

If it were true that consciousness was a function of each hemisphere of the brain monitoring the other hemisphere through the corpus callosum, it follows that patients who have had the corpus callosum severed surgically should lose the capacity for consciousness.

Although Jaynes never specifically states that such "split-brain" patients retain the capacity for consciousness, I think that he WOULD have mentioned it if they did not. In fact, it takes rather elaborate experiments to find the mental deficits of split-brain patients. I think that somebody would have noticed and reported a loss of the capacity for consciousness in such patients, considering how extensively they have been studied, if such a deficit existed. I have read some of the "split-brain" literature (some of Gazzaniga's writings, for instance) and I am not aware of any such report. Therefore, I respectfully suggest that the model of consciousness presented by Mr. Kenyon (diogenes) is incorrect.

Author:  Moderator [ Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:38 am ]
Post subject: 

Yes split brain patients are indeed still conscious. What seems to happen is a sort of "dual consciousness" for a period of time after the operation, with each hemisphere acting somewhat independently, but with the actions of the right hemisphere feeling to the patient something like an alien presence acting in their body.

Those interested in a good discussion of split brain patients might enjoy Of Two Minds: The Revolutionary Science of Dual-Brain Psychology by Fredric Schiffer (which also goes on to apply the concepts to therapy).

Author:  pigeonsailor [ Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:17 pm ]
Post subject:  this might interest you, if it hasn't already

http://www.amazon.com/Am-Strange-Loop-D ... 0465030785

It's sort of a cutesily written book but the basic ideas are interesting. This is the Hofstadter of Godel Escher Bach fame...

Author:  Memento Mori [ Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What "Is" Consciousness?


Author:  Memento Mori [ Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What "Is" Consciousness?


Author:  sentrydogman [ Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What "Is" Consciousness?

OK OK, but none of this high sounding talk explains how this "conciousness" is "created" by the coming together of a conglomeration
of cellular material. It's nothing more that a BLOB, so HOW did this BLOB become so sophisticated ? Super GOO ? :mrgreen:

Author:  Moderator [ Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What "Is" Consciousness?

It sounds like you have not yet read Jaynes's book...

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