Ulysses and Julian Jaynes

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's third hypothesis - dating the development of consciousness to roughly 1500-1200 BCD in Egypt, Greece, and Mesopotamia (the transition occurred at different times in different places around the world). Includes analysis of ancient texts (such as the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Bible), linguistics, and archeological evidence from ancient civilizations as it pertains to the transition from the bicameral mind to consciousness.
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jpjeral
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Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:34 am

Ulysses and Julian Jaynes

Post by jpjeral »

Note from the author ( Jean-Paul Vincent Jeral <[email protected]> )
--------------------

I realize that this article may be shallow, "old hat", badly written,
inaccurate (oh!) or insufficiently documented.

My apologies if it is the case.

I am only now back in "thinking" mode after more than two decades of mindless,
furious computer and web programming (paid) activity, and after three years
of inactivity due to illness.

My initial training was in electronics and closed-loop control systems.

English is not my mother tongue - it is French.
I am Belgian but live in Italy at the present time.

---------------

Ulysses and Julian Jaynes

In Greek Mythology, Ulysses is often referred to
as "wily" - in french "Ulysse le ruse" [1].

He displays Metis ("wisdom," "skill," or "craft") [2],
and we can read that "the whole Trojan Horse thing was his idea" [1],
as were the various ruses used along his trip back home.
E.g. with the Cyclop,

- what is your name ?
- my name is "nobody".

Further he is aware of the difference between him an the other men,
in the encounter with the sirens he is - by his decision - the only
one who has not his ears plugged.

Having read Julian Jaynes [3], I posit that Ulysses
could be the archetype representation for the first humans who did break
the walls of their bicameral mind and to use this new, unified mind -
this breakup of course did give them a superiority
in the field of cunning, in a world otherwise populated by "zombies".

Pessimistic note: today (because it is easier than to think) many have reverted
to the old ways of relying on the pre-packaged voices for advice: no more the voices
in their heads but in the traditions and ideologies (christianism, marxism, capitalism, ...)
and in the media (political figures).

References:
[1] http://www.shmoop.com/ulysses-tennyson/title.html
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metis_%28mythology%29
[3] The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind



Jean-Paul V. Jeral
01 August 2011
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Re: Ulysses and Julian Jaynes

Post by Moderator »

Yes, this is a nice observation.

You might enjoy Judith Weissman's discussion of this same topic in the first chapter of her book Of Two Minds: Poets Who Hear Voices.
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