Bicameral Dreams vs. Conscious Dreams

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's first hypothesis, that consciousness (as he carefully defines it) is based on language, specifically the subtopic of dreams, lucid dreams, and conscious vs. bicameral or visitation dreams as a way to gauge the development of consciousness in children and cultures.
Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 351
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2005 1:03 pm

Bicameral Dreams vs. Conscious Dreams

Post by Moderator »

There seem to be distinct differences between the dreams of those we might call bicameral — i.e., the ancient Greeks and primitive tribal peoples — and the dreams of modern, conscious individuals.

In modern dreams we often see ourselves moving around in various situations, observing scenes, taking actions, etc., whereas bicameral dreams often consist of a visitation by a spirit or god, who then delivers a message or issues a command.

This is a topic Jaynes undoubtedly covers in his unpublished chapter on dreams, but unfortunately I have not read it and it remains in the possession of Prof. William Woodward.

For more on this topic, please see related posts under the discussion of E.R. Dodds' book "The Greeks and the Irrational" (under Chapter 4: Dream-Pattern and Culture Pattern):

and the discussion of the dreams of primitive peoples by Levy-Bruhl in "Primitive Mentality" (Chapter 3: Dreams):
Post Reply

Return to “1.01. Hypothesis One: Consciousness Based On Language | Subtopic: Consciousness & Dreams”