Visual Thinking

Discussion of consciousness: what it is, what it isn't, Jaynes's ideas vs. other theorists, consciousness and language, studies of cognition in non-human species, etc.
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jamesadrian
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Visual Thinking

Post by jamesadrian »

It seems that the kind of mind space we now have is geometric and was developed as a result of the development of language. I would like to understand how this relates to visual thinking.

From at least the age of five, and thought my adult life, I have routinely done what I regard as visual thinking in the form of dreams and daydreams and goal-oriented imaginings of named and unnamed objects moving and interacting. Original work in engineering involves this kind of thinking. Would Jaynes classify this as thinking?

So much of what Julian Jaynes has written has been about language creating consciousness. Is there written material that addresses visual thinking? Did it exist in the bicameral mind?

Thank you for your help.

Jim Adrian

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Re: Visual Thinking

Post by Moderator »

Jaynes mentions somewhere that visual thinking, for example, imagining an apple and slowly rotating it, takes place in consciousness, but he believes this ability was first learned through language. In other words, it is through metaphorical language that the mental space for visual thinking to occur is first set up (see p. 55 and p. 449).

He also describes how visual thought may have taken the form of a visual hallucination during the bicameral era. He gives an example (I will have to look it up) of how during bicameral times one might have hallucinated something along the lines of blueprints for a building, for example.

All of these things that come into our consciousness today from our non-conscious mind could have taken the form of hallucinations during the bicameral period.

This can be a major stumbling block for people when trying to understand the theory... that much of the "insights" we experience in consciousness today were not absent in the bicameral period but was in hallucinatory form.

jamesadrian
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Re: Visual Thinking

Post by jamesadrian »

Moderator,

Thank you for this very clarifying answer.

Jim Adrian

benjamindavidsteele
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Re: Visual Thinking

Post by benjamindavidsteele »

You might want to look into eidetic memory. It would be related to the mnemonic systems that were dominant prior to written text. Lynne Kelly has some books on this. She notes that the Australian Aborigines can follow the songlines from memory.

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