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The Neurology of the Bicameral Mind and Ecstatic Epilepsy

Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:48 am
by markdzima
Does anyone have an idea of how the neurological model of the Bicameral Mind mind might be used to explain the religious hallucinatory phenomena associated with ecstatic epilepsy? For examples of these religious hallucinatory phenomena, see my YouTube video "Sick Mystics",

Re: The Neurology of the Bicameral Mind and Ecstatic Epileps

Posted: Thu May 05, 2011 1:32 pm
by Moderator
This is an interesting subject and is touched on briefly in Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness (pages 120–126).

The idea is that language evolved along with auditory hallucinations, which coming from the right hemisphere had an external quality to them. They also contained an air of authority in order for them to be unquestionably followed. The external, authoritative quality and sense of meaningfulness associated with the voices can lead to what we would today describe as religious-type experiences.

In temporal lobe epilepsy, we see excitation of the right (and sometimes also left) temporal lobe leading to sudden religious conversions and hyper-religiosity. Jaynes's bicameral mind theory offers the best explanation (that I am aware of) as to why auditory hallucinations and religiosity would both be associated with the right temporal lobe area. Dr. Michael Persinger's work on the feeling of a sensed presence during right temporal lobe stimulation is also relevant here.