Costin Alamariu: An Incoherent Pervert

Discussion of the influence of Jaynes's theory on works of fiction, film, and in popular culture.
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Costin Alamariu: An Incoherent Pervert

Post by minnespectrum »

I wonder if anyone here has heard of a book called Bronze Age Mindset, written by “Bronze Age Pervert” (believed to be a pseudonym of a man named Costin Alamariu). “Bronze Age Pervert” is highly active on social media under that name, and his book has gained a following among some (mostly young) far-rightists, Trump staffers, manosphere influencers, and the like.

I haven’t read the book, but I’ve certainly heard about it. There was even a state legislator from here in Minnesota who raised a few eyebrows by recommending the book on Twitter (back when it was still called that). More grimly, Bronze Age Mindset has been cited as an influence by at least one mass shooter:

The book itself expresses a view that has been variously described as Nietzschean, vitalist, neopagan, and/or fascist (it probably is all of these things to some extent). The writing style is deliberately offensive and is often written sloppily on purpose, like stereotypical caveman speech. In some ways, it’s like a 2010s, extremely-online version of Might Is Right, a book from 1896 which was also published under a pseudonym (“Ragnar Redbeard”) and advocated similar ideas. Alamariu in real life was a student of the neoconservative political philosopher Leo Strauss, so it’s likely his thinking was an influence as well.

It’s not really clear whether Alamariu was consciously influenced by Julian Jaynes or not. They do share a biographical connection, since both men have strong ties to Newton, Massachusetts. However, the era of Ancient Greek history which Alamariu’s book extols, roughly coincides with what Jaynes considered to be the bicameral era. So it’s hard to avoid comparing the two. Alamariu’s book seems to be a polemic against consciousness itself, in the Jaynesian sense.

Alamariu also alludes to the visions of gods that ancient people experienced, but unlike Jaynes, he claims that modern people don’t have these encounters anymore because they are no longer worthy to interact with gods. He claims modern humans, or “bugmen”, have degenerated into a state that can scarcely be said to be truly alive anymore, and to which even animals living in the wild are superior. Accordingly, he has no use for the idea of social justice or progress, or even for much of modern technology.

Julian Jaynes himself would certainly have rejected Alamariu’s call to abandon modern consciousness and “return” to the mindset and society that came before. I suspect that Jaynes would also have recognized another flaw in Alamariu’s attitude and those of other like-minded individuals. Namely, that while he valorizes the archaic civilization, he also advocates a kind of Nietzschean egoism: his “real men” enjoy absolute freedom, live for themselves, and aren’t bound by modern niceties like altruism, empathy or the like. And yet, it’s hard to “live for yourself” as a bicameral person when you don’t even really have a sense of self (according to Jaynes), nor anything that can be described as free will. So it seems like Alamariu and his followers severely misunderstand what the “Bronze Age mindset” actually was.

I mean, Alamariu is no historian, and his book is explicitly polemical in nature, so you can’t really expect it to display an accurate understanding of history or of the pre-modern psyche. However, its popularity demonstrates that Jaynes’ thesis—that the transition from the Archaic to the Axial Age civilization fundamentally changed the human mentality and laid the groundwork for our modern civilization—remains relevant. Obviously, there are still people who are uncomfortable with that change, thousands of years later.
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Re: Costin Alamariu: An Incoherent Pervert

Post by bmcveigh »

I think a key sentence is: "there are still people who are uncomfortable with that change [from bicamerality to consciousness], thousands of years later." Yes, it seems many individuals in the modern world are afraid of personal accountability, responsibility, and genuine freedom. It is is easier to take orders from others and just fall in line, i.e., rather than self-authorization, relying on an authorization from others is attractive.
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