Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind: The Theories of Julian Jaynes


Edited by Marcel Kuijsten

SKU: JJS001 Category:


Softcover Edition

Discover an alternative view of the history of the human mind

Does consciousness inevitably arise in any sufficiently complex brain? Although widely accepted, this view — inherited from Darwin’s theory of evolution — is supported by surprisingly little evidence. Offering an alternate view of the history of the human mind, Julian Jaynes’s ideas challenge our preconceptions of not only the origin of the modern mind, but the origin of gods and religion, the nature of mental illness, and the future potential of consciousness. The tremendous explanatory power of Jaynes’s ideas force us to reevaluate much of what we thought we knew about human history.

Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind both explains Julian Jaynes’s theory and explores a wide range of related topics such as the ancient Dark Age, the nature of dreams and the birth of Greek tragedy, poetic inspiration, the significance of hearing voices in both the ancient and modern world, the development of consciousness in children, vestiges of bicameralism and the transition to consciousness in early Tibet, the relationship of consciousness and metaphorical language, and how Jaynes’s ideas compare to those of other thinkers.

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From the back cover of Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind:

“… [O]ne of the most thought-provoking and debated theories about the origin of the conscious mind.” — Andrea Cavanna, M.D., in Consciousness: Theories in Neuroscience and Philosophy of Mind

“[Jaynes’s] proposal is too interesting to ignore.” — David Eagleman, Ph.D., in Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

“… I sympathize with Julian Jaynes’s claim that something of great import may have happened to the human mind during the relatively brief interval of time between the events narrated in the Iliad and those that make up the Odyssey.” — Antonio Damasio, Ph.D., in Self Comes to Mind

“… Scientific interest in [Jaynes’s] work has been re-awakened by the consistent findings of right-sided activation patterns in the brain, as retrieved with the aid of neuroimaging studies in individuals with verbal auditory hallucinations.” — Jan Dirk Blom, M.D., Ph.D., in A Dictionary of Hallucinations

Click “Add to cart” above to purchase Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind directly from the Julian Jaynes Society.

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
It is helpful to read other views on Jaynes' main work

I have not finished reading all of this latest book but as I had read the "The Origin of Consciousness" some years ago, I am now finding it useful to compare my original understanding with other people's, in the trade, so to speak.. "The Origin..." made a deep impression at the time and I still have the extensive comments I made then. It seemed invisible to mainstream academic psychology; now I can compare my response with others because at that time I thought it was an important work and I still do. Now, we might say "Its time has come".

Brain evolution and the origin of gods

I have not finished the book--preoccupied with life and work during a pandemic, but thus far, it is fascinating and answering some questions I have had since I was in Junior High. I cannot recommend this book too highly. It is liberating and thank my lucky stars I have found it (like "Caesar's Messiah) while cognitive function allows me to understand it and celebrate the thesis and the author.

Five Stars

A magnificent book of essays on Julian Jaynes fascinating theory, extending and enhancing his ideas for the 21st Century. The Julian Jaynes Society has done an excellent job (through Marcel Kuijsten) of presenting cogent and intelligent articles.

Educational for common folk like myself.

Great book! The bicameral mind theory is indeed very interesting. The evidence supporting this theory is educational for common folk like myself who are not up to speed with past or present compelling psychological hypotheses.

Five Stars