Did the Bicameral Mind Evolve to Create Modern Human Consciousness?

by Robert Lamb

What is consciousness and how did it emerge in human beings?

Great thinkers have pondered these questions for ages – and the subject continues to intrigue us. We know that our mental state sets us apart from other animals. We also know we’re a product of evolution. Gradual changes occurred over time to make us what we are today. One of those changes is the emergence of consciousness.

But when exactly did this change take place? When did humans, or perhaps our pre-human ancestors, shift from a life of instinctual existence to a life of reason, reflection and inner complexity? Furthermore, what were we like before the change? How do we imagine humans without a modern consciousness?

Various hypotheses have tackled these mind-blowing questions, entailing everything from the limitations of human attention to quantum theory. The true answer remains elusive. Today, we are going to consider a single, somewhat controversial hypothesis: the bicameral mind. …

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