Case Studies in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's second hypothesis - that before the development of consciousness, humans operated under a previous mentality called the bicameral mind.
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Case Studies in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Post by lenny52682 »

I am presently trying to research the results of the breakdown of the bicameral mind in specific civilizations. I have gleaned some information from the OC and Reflections. However, the ways in which specific bicameral civilizations collapsed seems hard to come by, oftentimes. We seem to have more information on the specific causes for the collapse of bicamerality, than on how these causes specifically affected the respective civilizations involved. Can anyone recommend a source that might contain some of the information that I am seeking?
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Re: Case Studies in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Post by Moderator »

There's no quick answer. You are talking about a major research project here. There is so much research that still needs to be done, following Jaynes's (and Michael Carr's) model.

One would have to go through original literature of the civilization in question, tracing the concept of mind-related words (keeping in mind frequent problems with the translation of ancient texts), looking at practices and rituals related to religion and divination, etc., as well as other vestiges of bicamerality. One could examine concepts such as genius among the Romans, for example.

Some of the best evidence right now could potentially come from recently contacted tribes, however this would require major funding. Some of the comments I've read online questioning why Jaynes did not conduct anthropological research himself imply that it just a simple matter of getting on a plane and doing it. Of course the reality of such an undertaking is much more complicated.
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