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Julian Jaynes and Ezekiel's Wheel

Peter Novak
Journal of Religion and Psychical Research, January 2002, 25 (1).


As a follow-up to the discussion of the binary soul doctrine in my book, "The Division of Consciousness," a further discussion of the binary soul doctrine is given highlighted by Julian Jaynes' hypothesis and the four modes of perspective.


Sometimes, according to the ancient world's Binary Soul Doctine, the two halves of the mind function entirely independently of one another. In fact, it is entirely natural and commonplace for them to do this after death, according to many ancient spiritual traditions. But most people can't even imagine such a division existing inside their minds; for the average person living today, the union between the conscious and unconscious usually seems so complete that it's hard to even accept the idea that the human psyche is comprised of two distinct components.

But the human mind may have not always worked the way it does today. Julian Jaynes, a professor of psychology at Princeton, argues that many thousands of years ago the two halves of the mind may have had a very different relationship than they do today, a relationship much closer to that described by the Binary Soul Doctrine, in which the conscious and the unconscious functioned far more independently of one another than they do today.* ...

*Note, this reflects a slight misunderstanding of Jaynes's theory. During the bicameral phase, neither side was conscious.