Julian Jaynes Society October 2020 Newsletter

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Julian Jaynes Society October 2020 Newsletter
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Julian Jaynes Society

October 2020

Dear Members and Friends,

Just a quick update on the latest Julian Jaynes Society projects and other related news, including:

  • a new Spanish edition of Julian Jaynes’s The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,
  • a new book by Brian J. McVeigh,
  • the latest updates to the Julian Jaynes Society Member Area,
  • and a second season of Philip Pullmans’s His Dark Materials.
If you haven’t visited the Julian Jaynes Society recently, be sure to check out our redesigned website and Member Area.


Marcel Kuijsten,
Executive Director

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El Origen de la Conciencia

For our Spanish speaking friends in Spain, Mexico, Latin America, and around the world, El Origen de la Conciencia en la Ruptura de la Mente Bicameral — the Spanish edition of Jaynes’s book — is now available from the Julian Jaynes Society for Amazon Kindle!

Read Jaynes in your native Spanish, or practice your Spanish while revisiting Julian Jaynes’s theory.

Now available on all Amazon sites worldwide.

Julian Jaynes’s book is also available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Persian.
Read more

Buy on Amazon
The Psychology of the Bible

The latest book by Brian J. McVeigh on Julian Jaynes’s theory is now available, with both paperback and Kindle editions!

“The Psychology of the Bible explores how the Old Testament provides perspective into the tumultuous transition from an earlier mentality to a new paradigm of interiorized psychology and introspective religiosity that came to characterize the first millennium BCE. By examining the Old Testament’s historical background and theopolitical context … this book interprets biblical passages through a new lens. It analyzes divine voices, visions, and appearances of heavenly messengers … as neurocultural phenomena and explains why they were so common. This book also answers why definitions of God changed so radically, illuminates the divinatory role of idols and other oracular aids … provides a framework for appreciating why ‘wisdom literature’ became so significant, and more.”

Buy on Amazon >

We’ve added a large amount of new content to the Julian Jaynes Society Member Area recently, including new audio of a lecture by Julian Jaynes, new video of a lecture by Julian Jaynes, a new Newspaper Archives section with Jaynes book reviews and lecture announcements, and six new videos from the Julian Jaynes Society Conference on Consciousness and Bicameral Studies:

James Cohn

James Cohn – A Jaynesian Philology: The Bible as a Written Timeline of the Dawn of Consciousness

Arash Daklan

Arash Daklan – How to Make a Conscious Chess-Player Machine: Making Artificial Intelligence out of Julian Jaynes’s Theory

Malcolm David Lowe

Malcolm David Lowe – How Languages Create Mind Space and the ‘Analog I’

Bill Rowe

Bill Rowe – The Other Origin of Consciousness: Infancy and its Relationship to Julian Jaynes’s Theory

Jan Sleutels

Jan Sleutels – The Contingency of Mind: Situating Jaynes in the Changing Landscape of Contemporary Philosophy of Mind

Andrew Stehlik

Andrew Stehlik – Polytheism, Monotheism, and Beyond

If you haven’t logged in recently, be sure to check out these and other recent updates. If you’d like to join or if your membership has lapsed, you can sign up here to gain instant access to the Member Area:

Join the Julian Jaynes Society
His Dark Materials and the Bicameral Mind

Philip Pullman, who wrote His Dark Materials, drew inspiration from Julian Jaynes, with the characters’ spirit-animals (called dæmons) serving the function of the bicameral guiding voice. In addition, the main character Lyra uses a device called an “alethiometer” that provides an example of divination, which was widespread throughout the ancient world after the breakdown of the bicameral mind.

From his collection of essays Daemon Voices:

“Epic heroes, in fact, seem to be at some distance from themselves. This realisation lies behind the … tantalisingly rich idea of Julian Jaynes, whose book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind puts forward the … suggestion that human beings only became conscious in the modern sense during the past four thousand years; that until then, they heard the promptings of conscience, or temptation, or inspiration, as the voices of gods … with no sense that their own minds were responsible. He instances Achilles in the Iliad, experiencing his own reluctance to strike Agamemnon as the goddess Athena seizing his golden hair and pulling him back.”

Those interested in gaining a better understanding of the bicameral experience of hearing a voice guiding one’s behavior should enjoy this series.

Season 2 of His Dark Materials premieres on November 16, 2020 on HBO in the U.S. and BBC One in the UK.

More recent news on the JJS Blog
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