Psychic Phenomena as Bicameralism with Strong Intuition

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's second hypothesis - the bicameral mind, specifically the subtopic of auditory hallucinations in the normal population.
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Psychic Phenomena as Bicameralism with Strong Intuition

Post by LutherSetzer »

Dear wife dragged me, kicking and screaming, to a group "reading" with the neighborhood "psychics" who claim to channel the voices of angels. I have seen famous skeptic James Randi show how easy these things are to fake via facial reaction readings and the asking of key questions. That said, I have little doubt these two women believe they really are hearing the voices of angels. The older one had a traumatic childhood and an abusive marriage before breaking free of all that and starting to hear voices of angels. The younger one discovered her "gifts" in her late teenage years. They own a psychic shop in the local historic area of town.

I was surprised at how well they read the persons in the room. A group of eleven clients sat in a semi-circle as the two "psychic" women entered a "trance" state to "channel their angels." They made pretty accurate statements about me considering how little they knew about me.

The experience brought to mind the passages in the original Jaynes text about oracles, etc. and the wide influence they had. Somehow these bicameral women in ancient times made accurate enough statements to influence whole civilizations without immediately destroying them. I am still reading the book, but I am left to "assume" somewhat safely that what I witnessed was a modern manifestation of bicameralism with the women "automatically" reading valid meaning into my mannerisms and then hearing voices in their heads to reiterate those meanings.

There were also claims of seeing "angel wings" on some of the clients, but my main concern is with what they heard, hence I selected this sub-forum about auditory hallucinations.

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Re: Psychic Phenomena as Bicameralism with Strong Intuition

Post by Moderator »

I think that your basic intuitions on this are spot on.

Obviously there's a wide range with psychics... everything from basic charlatans who've read a few books on reading people (you can buy them on Amazon) and just view it as a way to make a living, to those that are actually hearing voices and having visions, and believe what they are saying. The latter are far more rare. It is interesting that in your experience the one psychic's voices were initiated by trauma.

But in either case, reading people, and knowing basic universal feelings, needs, and beliefs, etc. is definitely a skill that can be developed (it would be interesting to hear more specifics about your experience).

Having said that, I did once have an interesting experience that leaves me open to wondering if with some of the "highly gifted" ones, something more might actually be going on. Many years ago I was involved in a well designed experiment where, during the first round, I was designated as the "sender." At a specific time, the "receivers" were to document their impressions of where I was, and seal them in an envelope. The next day, results were compared.

I wanted to find a location that would be as highly unambiguous as possible. I eventually found the campus football stadium, which I was able to enter but was completely empty at the time, other than one person running the stairs for exercise. It's an odd feeling to be alone in a structure that large.

The next day, the other students involved were all very clearly wrong. However, two visiting "experts" had answers that seemed, at least to me, to be beyond mere chance. One of the experts had written that they had an impression of me being very small inside of an enormous structure. The other had received the impression of there being "rows and rows" .... of many flat rows (presumably the bleachers). Keep in mind, I could have literally been anywhere ... sitting in the library, walking in the woods, eating at a restaurant, sitting at home, etc. Maybe they were just lucky guesses, or maybe there's still more to be discovered in this area that remains beyond our current comprehension.

There are stories of other "experts" such as Ingo Swann that offer tantalizing details... sketches of military installations, etc. in experiments conducted by the CIA. But ultimately the project was abandoned.
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