The Phenomenon of Ancient Trepanning

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's second hypothesis - that before the development of consciousness, humans operated under a previous mentality called the bicameral mind.
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The Phenomenon of Ancient Trepanning

Post by JBrubaker »

I was watching a video on early Canaanite archaeology, and showed a picture of a skull with a hole bored in the top right portion of the parietal bone, a position similar to many others I've seen over the years in instances of trepanning.

The narrator was saying the people of the time did it to release evil spirits from a person, but out of the blue, it struck me, NO!
It was done to let the person hear the gods again!

Consider: in a bicameral society on the brink of becoming conscious, not everyone becomes self-aware at the same moment; it's an individual and gradual process. So if one person in a small community becomes self-aware, and stops hearing the voice of the local gods or his ancestors, he might mention it to his neighbors and kinsman. So their solution would be to drill a hole in the conscious person's skull to provide a channel for the voices again.

But on the other hand, it may be the reverse, as common opinion has it, to release spirits that were talking to a schizophrenic. In a newly conscious community, some individuals still heard the voices of gods, and had to be dealt with as unauthorized prophets.
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Re: The Phenomenon of Ancient Trepanning

Post by Moderator »

Thank you, that's an interesting observation. This is definitely another practice that can benefit from a possible Jaynesian interpretation.
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