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Voice of Reason: Julian Jaynes's Enduring Ideas on Hearing Voices and Our Emerging Consciousness

Marcel Kuijsten, interviewed by John Soderlund
New Therapist Magazine, July/August 2004, 32.

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We like to think of ourselves as a particularly conscious species. But the consciousness of 21st century human beings is not a done deal. At least not according to the theories of Julian Jaynes, the controversial thinker whose theory of the bicameral mind has survived the vigourous challenges it has experienced in the past 25 years. First propounded in his book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Jaynes' theory argues that in less conscious time our predecessors based profound decisions on voices that were not unlike those experienced by sufferers of schizophrenia. But the difference was that such voices were understood as directives emanating straight from the gods or other supreme authorities. Only with the gradual emergence of consciousness did these voices begin to be usurped in their authority by our conscious faculties of reasoning. In this exclusive interview, New Therapist invites Marcel Kuijsten, Executive Director of the Julian Jaynes Society, to extend Jaynes' radical thinking to the psychotherapeutic realm.