Personal Experiences in Childhood

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's second hypothesis - the bicameral mind, specifically the subtopic of auditory hallucinations and imaginary companions in children, and imaginary companions as a vestige of the bicameral mind.
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Personal Experiences in Childhood

Post by ImproperUsername »

Although this forum is not very active, I will post about my experiences with the hope that perhaps there will be others who will post about their own.

I recall a few instances from my childhood when I had visual or auditory hallucinations. I was not then, nor ever, psychotic.

When very young, I once "saw" a ghost. It was 2D, solid white, and moved like an amoeba. It was about six feet long and floated horizontally about 6 feet above the ground, outdoors.

Occasionally, I had auditory hallucinations. This happened often enough that I assumed that the experience was common to everyone.

The most notable occasion happened thus:
I was in the 2nd grade and was on the playground during recess at school. There was a younger child who wore braces on her legs. I saw her fall. Then I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to "Pick her up." One does not ignore God, and so even though I was very shy and also fearful of the child's older sister who was a bully, I dutifully went and lifted the child to her feet. The effect of the voice was almost physical. It came to me in kind of a whoosh.

As I recall, that was the only time that I heard "God." Other times, I merely heard a bodiless voice call my name, or say something like "There she is." I was an unusually religious child. I took the Sunday School lessons very seriously, although the other children appeared to be unaffected. That may have had something to do with hearing God. We did not have television. This was back in the late 50's/early 60's, and not everyone did have TV back then. So, my development was largely unaffected by that.

I was well cared for, but my childhood was somewhat stressful, because my mother was (I now understand) bipolar. Her mania manifested as periods of intense energy, anxiety, and temper tantrums. Very elderly now, she has visual and auditory hallucinations. I have a cousin who is schizophrenic. Alcoholism runs in the family (self medication?).

When I read "The Origin of Consciousness..." about 30 years ago, it made perfect sense to me and I consider it to be one of the most important books I have ever read.
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Re: Personal Experiences in Childhood

Post by rt45 »

Thinking on personal experience another thought comes to mind. The impersonal What for example of primitive tribes such as aboriginals of the Australian outback they have a history far exceeding 3000 years and an aural tradition going back for almost that long. Would they have developed consciousness (of the sort we recognised) through a change in neural structure DR Jayne describes or are / were they in the Bicameral state when the first encountered peoples form other lands.

There are other isolated tribes being found even today with limited (from our perspective) language skills but still appear to be aware and self-aware. Could the change in neural structure DR Jayne proposes be in some part software involving the making of connections through the corpse calousm other than just the formation of said.

I could even go so far as to suggest that the effect (consciousness integrated thought) can be diminished or overridden by extreme conditioning such as severe shock or even religious fanaticism. In such a state a 'modern' human mind could be 'switched' to a Bicameral state in terms of operation if not structure.

All this is leap I admit but a Bicameral mind may not be obvious in normal dealings schizophrenics can be high functioning even in the minds of an episode.
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