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 Post subject: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:23 am 
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I was actually introduced to Jaynes theories by Christian friends, and I thought there might be quite a bit of dialog by Christians here. Are there any Christians here who would like to discuss Jaynesian theory in relation to Biblical topics?

A strong theory is that of bicarmel breakdown in relation to the flood, anyone else thinking about this?
I also saw a comment in relation to Western thinking and monotheism. I think there is a relation of monotheism and the personal sovereignty concept of early America. Does personal(more to say physical) and corporate(more to say philosophical) liberty effect the conscious, or what are the neurological effects, conditions, feedbacks?

Just some paths of thought. Love to hear from all!

MMS
Yours in Christ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:04 pm 
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It has always been interesting to me how people with different backgrounds can have completely different interpretations of Jaynes's book.

For example, I once came across a Creationist website that talks about Jaynes's theory as support for "Christian Catastrophism" — as support for events such as the Biblical flood. Others view the hallucinations as the literal voices of the gods, not hallucinations that were simply interpreted as the voices of the gods.

At the complete other end of the spectrum, many feel Jaynes's theory offers a psychological explanation for religion, as a sub topic to the main discussion of the origin of consciousness, i.e. the gods are the psychological invention of man in response to auditory hallucinations.

This was perhaps due to the fact that Jaynes was somewhat vague and ambigious about his own religious views and always side-stepped the question when it came up after his lectures.

After reading Jaynes, what is your interpretation?


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 12:11 pm 
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It is natural that each person sees the world through the lens of their own personal experience. In the US there are over 4,600 denominations of Christianity alone, so there is diversity even within what appears to be a large homogenous group.

Personally, I have no problem with the voices of "god" in the bible being auditory hallucinations. I don't find that any less powerful than a booming voice from the clouds. Most people see God as a white bearded man sitting on a cloud directing the actions of the universe, but the real truth is out there "for those with eyes to see and ears to hear". How much wisdom resides in the human form? How much knowledge of this universe and its creative functions is already contained in our brains and bodies? If my right brain says something, then I damn well better listen. That is what I am trying to work on right now, how to listen to what I am saying to myself. I see many things that Jesus said in a totally different light than I did as a young man. I see the concept of being born again in a completely different way than I did before. I think we have to learn how to die, or how to enter that process of quieting the rational mind (which happens while dying) so that we can hear the still small voice of god in ourselves. Thats just my take though. I wouldn't want to say that this is the correct interpretation or that there is not more that I have yet to find. But it satisfies my skeptical mind as having value and truth.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:44 pm 
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Quote:
At the complete other end of the spectrum, many feel Jaynes's theory offers a psychological explanation for religion, as a sub topic to the main discussion of the origin of consciousness, i.e. the gods are the psychological invention of man in response to auditory hallucinations. - Moderator

Hey, I have to admit that until reading the chapter on the mouth washing ceremonies of Mesopotamia, I was a firm believer in God, not a full scale christian, but I was 100% sure God existed. I'm not so sure about that now. Jaynes provides a lot of details that could be against creationism when he claims that the Mesopotamians believed they heard the wooden statues talk to them.

I question creationism because of this: Who's to say that Moses didn't hallucinate a voice speaking from a burning bush?

I'd like to hear what you guys have to say about this, I honestly didn't know how to start this conversation, my little abstract seems a bit weak and juvenile, but I just wanted to get this conversation underway. So....feel free to reply.


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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:59 am 
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Your post is neither weak, nor juvenile. We are all looking for the truth. I dont have time to respond fully at the moment but I look forward to discussing this in more detail soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:28 am 
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RE: Moses hallucinating.

This was proposed not too long ago by Professor Benny Shannon at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He suggested hallucinogens were involved, but those familiar with Jaynes's bicameral mind theory of course know this would not be necessary.

If you are interested in exploring this subject further, I would recommend the book Muses, Madmen and Prophets by Daniel Smith as well as the sections on religion and the bicameral mind in Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness.


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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:46 pm 
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Moderator wrote:
RE: Moses hallucinating.

This was proposed not too long ago by Professor Benny Shannon at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He suggested hallucinogens were involved, but those familiar with Jaynes's bicameral mind theory of course know this would not be necessary.

If you are interested in exploring this subject further, I would recommend the book Muses, Madmen and Prophets by Daniel Smith as well as the sections on religion and the bicameral mind in Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness.



Hey, thanks. I'll be sure to check out both.


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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:57 pm 
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Hi,
I am rereading Jayne's book. I have some fundamentalist friends who pray for things like what they should do to get a job etc. Could this type of prayer be a holdover from prebreakdown days? My other group has a more metaphorical view of religion and prayer is seen more as meditating rather than shopping for help.


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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:29 am 
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I count myself a Christian and I am willing.

Marcel makes good recommendations.

One of the most obvious biblical references to what Jaynes writes about, of course, is the story in Genesis about Adam's and Eve's temptation and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. To me, this is the best metaphorical depiction of "the breakdown".


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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:09 am 
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http://bible.cc/proverbs/3-5.htm


Last edited by tfoo79 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:11 am 
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I am a Christian, and find Origin very revealing, particularly as combined with some of the thoughts from The Gifts of The Jews, which suggests some of the ways in which the incipient Hebrew consciousness was different than that of their surrounding cultures. What makes it hit home to me is the consistent way in which the Hebrew Bible criticizes the idols as being "unreal" - and yet, simultaneously acknowledges that their neighbors (and they themselves) had real experiences with these idols.

This leads to a dual critique: the idols were not real, but they were also evil spirits. The Hebrew Bible makes no attempt to reconcile these seemingly contradictory ideas, which implies very strongly that they were aware of or participating in the mentality Jaynes describes.


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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:15 am 
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[quote="John R. Schedel"]
"One of the most obvious biblical references to what Jaynes writes about, of course, is the story in Genesis about Adam's and Eve's temptation and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. To me, this is the best metaphorical depiction of "the breakdown"


Assuming you are correct, as I believe you are, Why did those who included the story in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures believe that consciousness was evil?

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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:53 am 
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That's a great question. It may have been viewed that way as consciousness opens the door to the possibility for evil.... whereas animals are amoral, through consciousness humans for the first time had the capacity for evil.


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 Post subject: Re: Are There Any Christians Here?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:47 pm 
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Quote:
That's a great question. It may have been viewed that way as consciousness opens the door to the possibility for evil.... whereas animals are amoral, through consciousness humans for the first time had the capacity for evil.


Consciousness may have also opened the door to much more. According to Jaynes our mind-space is occupied by metaphorical representations of the real world. Those metaphors include language. They also include our invented concept of time, in particular, linearized time. By linearizing fear we get anxiety, linearizing shame gets us guilt, linearizing pain makes our experience far different from all other animals, linearizing chemical induced reproductive behavior begats lust, and so on. Linearization of time also gave us agriculture, or at least the ability to better use our crude agrarian skills. It may well have been the entry into our world of things like anxiety, shame, pain, deceit, and so forth that became the cause for considering consciousness to be "evil."

When you compare Jaynes pre-conscious condition (the bicameral state) with Eden you find some remarkable parallels. As hunter-gatherers there would be no work tilling the field, plucking every kind of fruit from the trees, no shame about nakedness, minimal pain in childbirth, no deceit, no lust, etc. HOWEVER, after eating the fruit of what? The Tree of the KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. Suddenly mankind experiences shame in their nakedness, they exercise deceit in trying to lie to God, man is cursed to toil in the fields, woman is cursed by multiplied pain in childbirth and a "desire" (lust?) for her husband. Genesis isn't about sin entering the world, it is about the dawn of consciousness in mankind. Since that time the oral and written histories have been told and retold, many times, I am certain, in ways that meet the teller's particular agenda. Over time this incredible story of our acquisition of consciousness became the story of how we "sinned against God."

The extreme caveat to this position is that it completely dismantles the concept of "original sin," an absolute necessity for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Suddenly there is no need for redemption, either through animal sacrifice or that of Jesus as Redeemer of all mankind. Oops. I suspect Jaynes was fully aware of this ultimate outcome, but he would also have been aware of the blow-back such a claim would make. He may have thought it sufficient to simply ascribe the origin of the concept of the gods to our bicameral hallucinations. In either case all three religions are equally undone.

As an aside, I suspect the genealogies of Genesis are not a history of the generations since creation, but rather a history of the generations since consciousness. I can't attest to their accuracy, especially the lifespans of the pre-diluvian patriarchs, but I think there is some significant history here. There are other portions of the Pentateuch which are also probably misinterpreted histories of our pre-conscious past, if only we can decipher them correctly.

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Gods, Voices and the Bicameral Mind               Julian Jaynes Collection               Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness               The Minds of the Bible               Abstracts from the 2013 Julian Jaynes Society Conference on Consciousness and Bicameral Studies



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