Bicameral Mind Theory in contrast with other theories

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's second hypothesis - that before the development of consciousness, humans operated under a previous mentality called the bicameral mind.
Post Reply
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:11 am

Bicameral Mind Theory in contrast with other theories

Post by lenny52682 »

When studying Bicameral Mind theory one is compelled to examine the mentality of the ancient world in a very different light. In so doing one has to try to avoid the temptation to project his current conscious mindset onto a theoretically non conscious era.

This, however, was not an issue for many other Anthropologists who arrived at their own theories of primitive magic, religion, animism, totemism, etc. without the any bicameral rationales. Sir James Frazier, for example, offers a very different picture of the ancient culture and psyche. He places a great deal of emphasis on soul and the peculiar beliefs and rituals that the ancients used to protect and preserve the soul. Jaynes theory, by contrast, hinges on the importance of hallucinatory voices not death, beliefs, etc.

Did Jaynes attempt to reevaluate other anthropological conceptions of the man living in his bicameral era and beyond?

How do notions of the soul, the afterlife, reincarnation, etc. square with bicameral mind theory?

If accepted, does bicameral mind theory effectively rule out many of these other ideas regarding man prior the conscious era?

If so, how did anthropologists like Frazier arrive at such mistaken conclusions?
Site Admin
Posts: 351
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2005 1:03 pm

Re: Bicameral Mind Theory in contrast with other theories

Post by Moderator »

The short answer would probably be that the ideas of Frazier and others were heavily influenced by preconceptions about the existence of the soul, afterlife, etc., while Jaynes was able to approach the behaviors observed in tribes and ancient civilizations with more objectivity. (See Stove's chapter "The Oracles and Their Cessation" in Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness for further discussion of this.)

As a scientist, Jaynes most likely did not see objective evidence for concepts such as the soul, an afterlife, or reincarnation, but would argue that concepts like life after death and gods arose in large part because of the continued hearing of the voice of deceased leaders and relatives.
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:31 pm

Re: Bicameral Mind Theory in contrast with other theories

Post by angileena »

Nice surprise about this shorter form. Can you tell us what it is you are talking/writing about?
Has any info. about this shorter form been posted before (and i just missed it)?
If need some help for guide, then get the latest exams.
Post Reply

Return to “2.0. Hypothesis Two: The Bicameral Mind”