Ramifications of Julian Jaynes’s Theory of Consciousness for Traditional General Semantics

Philip Ardery, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, 2004, 61, 1, 83-93.

Abstract: Explores why general semantics theorists for over 70 years generally have overlooked the human behaviors that give rise to the sharpest and most violent of today’s conflicts of world views – namely, religious behaviors. Introduces theories formulated by cultural anthropologist Julian Jaynes which “explain” religion and which have helped extensionalize my own definition of the so-called “verbal levels,” a general semantics term I previously had defined intentionally.

Excerpt: … Jaynes, who by the evidence currently available knew nothing of General Semantics, does not make God or religion a central concern in his writing. However, he uses religious data to bolster his theories of human language development and the origin of consciousness. In his book and his papers, Jaynes presents religion as deeply-rooted human behavior, free of “supernatural” components and capable of a doctrinal expression wholly compatible with General Semantics. …