Books Referencing Julian Jaynes’s Theory

Below is a sampling of the thousands of books that reference Julian Jaynes’s theory, showing its wide-ranging, ongoing influence — some of them may surprise you. (Inclusion in this list does not constitute an endorsement by the Julian Jaynes Society.)

Authors A – C | D – F | G – I | J – L | M – P | Q – Z

An Alchemy of Mind

An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain
Diane Ackerman

“There was a time, Julian Jaynes suggests … when we heard voices inside the head, not backchat from a familiar brain, we thought, but otherworldly beings telling us what to do.”

Zen Cat
Judith Adler and Paul Coughlin

“Consciousness is always open to many possibilities because it involves play. It is always an adventure. — Julian Jaynes”

The Future of Art in A Digital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness
Mel Alexenberg

“According to Jaynes, it is a pre-conscious state when the human mind is unaware of its awareness. It forms the basis of idolatry in which the large eyes of Middle Eastern idols trigger one hemisphere of the brain to speak to the other hemisphere making the idolater believe that he is hearing a divine voice commanding him to act and instructing him on how to act.”

The Future of the Self
Walter Truett Anderson

“In the 1970s psychologist Julian Jaynes offered the startling thesis that people of the Homeric era did not possess a personal consciousness that we would recognize as such.”

Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided
Ronald Aronson

Postures of the Mind: Essays on Mind and Morals
Annette Baier

“A fascinating alternative account of how our ancestors coped with such situations is to be found in Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in teh Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.”

Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry
David Baker and Ann Townsend

“… Jaynes surmises that the early Classical mind, still bicameral, shows us the coming-into-consciousness of the modern human, shows our double-minded awareness as, originally, a haunted hearing of voices.”

Odysseus, Hero of Practical Intelligence: Deliberation and Signs in Homer’s Odyssey
Jeffrey Barnouw

“By ‘then’ in the first line [Jaynes] means in the period of the breakdown (‘the internal Phase II’) of the so-called bicameral mind of Phase I, in which hallucinated voices of gods instigate all human actions. … Jaynes equates phrenes in the Iliad with respiratory apparatus or lungs… “

The Cultural Animal: Human Nature, Meaning, and Social Life
Roy F. Baumeister

“This view of consciousness is also consistent with a remarkable book on the emergence of human consciousness by Julian Jaynes. … He proposed that early human beings operated entirely on the basis of automatic proceses. Rulers gave commands and the brain repeated them to keep the person carrying them out.”

The Source: Journey Through the Unexplained
Art Bell and Brad Steiger

“Julian Jaynes stated … that the ‘voice of divinity’ that prophets and seers have heard down through the ages is simply the brain talking to itself. According to his thesis, humankind existed for thousands of centuries, functioning ant-like colonies and being directed by hallucinatory voices that survive today in schizophrenics.”

Doctoring the Mind: Is Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good?
Richard P. Bentall

“According to Jaynes, because the ancient Greeks had no sense of ‘I’ with which to locate their mental processes, their inner thoughts were perceived as coming from the gods, which is why the characters in the Iliad find themselves in frequent communication with supernatural entities.”

Madness Explained
Richard P. Bentall

“Jaynes noted the similarity between the ancient Greeks’ experiences, and the experiences of modern-day schizophrenia patients, and it was this aspect of the book that had such a dramatic impact on Marius Romme’s patient.”

Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture
William L. Benzon

“…The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind created a minor sensation with an astonishingly quixotic and original thesis: human consciousness originated in ancient Greece sometime between Homer and the Athenian Golden Age.”

The Reenchantment of the World
Morris Berman

“Even total mimesis is not barbaric in a bicameral, or totally primary-process world, as Julian Jaynes has demonstrated.”

Wandering God: A Study in Nomadic Spirituality
Morris Berman

“Julian Jaynes speaks to this issue quite eloquently when he writes, “It is as if all life evolved to a certain point, and then in ourselves turned at a right angle and simply exploded in a different direction.'”

50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists
Russell Blackford

“And during my wanderings in this dark wood, I bumped into Julian Jaynes’s theory of the bicameral mind. … I didn’t need to be told that this theory must be highly controversial. But it explains a lot, including the ghostly voices of schizophrenics and the heavenly visions of epileptics, to say nothing of the rampaging rages of the heroes and prophets of yore.”

Consciousness: An Introduction
Susan Blackmore

“The most recent origin for consciousness was suggested by American psychologist Julian Jaynes, in his controversial book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Going back 3000 years to the earliest written records, he searched for clues to the presence or absence of a subjective conscious mind.”

A Dictionary of Hallucinations
Jan Dirk Blom

“… 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.”

The Witch in the Waiting Room: A Physician Investigates Paranormal Phenomena in Medicine
Robert S. Bobrow

“A 1976 book by Princeton psychologist Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, theorizes that our earlier, more primitive, brains, prior to 1000 B.C., were more like the brains of today’s schizophrenics or mystics, seeing visions, hearing voices — i.e. sensing a presence.”

A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art in Theatre
Anne Bogart

“Julian Jaynes in his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, places the beginning of self-consciousness in Western civilization at around 1400 BC, during the Minoan period of Greece.”

The Dream Weaver: One Boy’s Journey through the Landscape of Reality
Jack R. Bowen

“‘We cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of … How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate!’ … — Julian Jaynes”

Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion?
Mary Boyle

“Jaynes has developed a rather more elaborate theory of the suppression of hallucinatory experiences which, he suggests, paralleled the development of what we think of as consciousness and the ability to reflect on our own behavior and mental processes.”

Social Symptoms of Identity Needs: Why We Have Failed to Solve Our Social Problems and What to do About It
Mark Bracher

“According to Bruno Snell and Julian Jaynes, the identities of the ancient Greeks experiencing their impulses as autonomous, divine forces in relation to which they were largely powerless. The movement from this disjointed sense of self (impulsive identity) to a more or less continuous and unified sense of self (imperial identity) was long and arduous, and is both modelled and chronicled in Homer’s epics.”

David Brin

“Great minds have been trying to explain consciousness for centuries … Julian Jaynes called it the ‘analog I’. The power to name some central locus ‘me’ seems to give intensity and focus to each individual human drama.”

What Is Your Dangerous Idea?: Today’s Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable
John Brockman (ed.)

“Julian Jaynes, in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, argued that there was something qualitatively different about the human mind in ancient civilization. On first reading, Breakdown seemed one of the craziest books ever written, but Jaynes may have been on to something.” (Gregory Cochran)

The Mind: Leading Scientists Explore the Brain, Memory, Personality, and Happiness
John Brockman (ed.)

“Julian Jaynes, a peculiar but wonderful man, was a research associate at Princeton. Some people said he was a genius; I didn’t know him well enough to know.” (Martin Seligman)

Brave Girl Eating: A Family’s Struggle with Anorexia
Harriet Brown

“[Julian Jaynes] pointed to the many biblical and literary references to earlier peoples hearing voices or seeing visions, which they interpreted as messages or visitations from God or the gods. In fact, Jaynes believed, they were communications from the other side of the brain. “




Creativity and Consciousness: Philosophical And Psychological Dimensions
Jerzy Brzezinski, Santo Di Nuovo, Tadeusz Marek, Tomasz Maruszewski (eds.)

“To examine the genesis of consciousness, Jaynes proposed that we examine the earliest writings of mankind, including cuneiform and hieroglyphics … After investigating ancient Greek texts, Jaynes found no evidence of consciousness. He found no decision making, no introspection, and no remembering.”

The Call Of Solitude: Alonetime In A World Of Attachment
Ester S. Buchholz

“Princeton psychologist Julian Jaynes’s depiction of the bicameral mind and consciousness as a relatively recent behavior of our species may be illuminating. I am struck by his idea that modern human minds are vestigial glimpses of the way things were, neurologically speaking.”

Can We Be Good Without God?: Biology, Behavior, and the Need to Believe
Robert Buckman

“[Jaynes] suggested that consciousness — that is, awareness of one’s self as a person and personality — did not evolve steadily or even early in humankind’s history. Jaynes suggested that what we nowadays regard as ‘our own thoughts’ were originally perceived by the person as voices coming from the spirits of their dead ancestors.”

Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals
John A. Buehrens

“For an interesting theory about the origins of prophetic speech, based in brain physiology, and of the evolutionary steps that may have contributed to the ‘end of prophecy,’ see Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.”

The Bipolar Handbook: Real-Life Questions with Up-to-Date Answers
Wes Burgess

“Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. A theory of consciousness that may be especially interesting to persons with bipolar disorder.”

Introduction to Algebra
Peter J. Cameron

“Logic is how we ought to think if objective truth is our goal – and the everyday world is very little concerned with objective truth. Logic is the science of justification of conclusions we have reached by natural reasoning. — Julian Jaynes”

New England White
Stephen L. Carter

“You’re just a message from the other half of my brain. A throwback to atavistic times, when the left brain was not in charge. Julian Jaynes proved it, and I believe him. He was a psychologist, in case you don’t know, and my brother and I were named after him.”

Palace Council
Stephen L. Carter

“Behind her, Zora and Locke were building impressive sand castles with Mona Veazie’s twins, Julia and Jay, named for the psychologist Julian Jaynes, one of Mona’s heroes.”

Drama, Psychotherapy and Psychosis: Dramatherapy and Psychodrama with People who Hear Voices
John Casson

“Jaynes in a study of the Iliad and the Odyssey analysed the nature of the voices of the gods and suggested that in the ancient world, voice hearing was a normal way that people made important decisions. Voice hearers have found this book helpful.”

Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation
Thom F. Cavalli

“For psychologist Julian Jaynes, the matter is quite clear: ‘It is generally agreed that the ancient Egyptian language … was concrete from first to last. To maintain that it is expressing abstract thoughts would seem to me an intrusion of the modern idea that men have always been the same.'”

Consciousness: Theories in Neuroscience and Philosophy of Mind
Andrea Eugenio Cavanna and Andrea Nani

“American psychologist Julian Jaynes authored one of the most thought-provoking and debated theories about the origin of the conscious mind…”

Man’s Fate and God’s Choice: An Agenda for Human Transformation
Bhimeswara Challa

“In his book Julian Jaynes proposes that ancient consciousness was radically different from modern consciousness. He suggests that ancient human beings had no sense of an interior, directing self.”

Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings
David J. Chalmers (ed.)

“Thus Julian Jaynes describes Greeks becoming conscious when — in between the time of the Iliad and the Odyssey, they become more reflective.” (Ned Block)

Michelangelo’s Notebook
Paul Christopher

“She remembered a book she’d seen in her mother’s office back in Columbus: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by a man named Julian Jaynes.”

Consciousness and Emotion in Cognitive Science: Conceptual and Empirical Issues
Andy Clark (ed.)

“Julian Jaynes has argued, persuasively, that its capacities for self-exhortation and self-reminding are a prerequisite for the sorts of elaborating and long-term bouts of self-control without which agriculture, building projects, and other civilized and civilizing activities could not be organized.” (Daniel Dennett)

Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: How Intelligence Increases When You Think Less
Guy Claxton

“… as Julian Jaynes has suggested, as the ‘voice of the gods,’ or as a vital ingredient of the human personality.”

The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship: An Examination of Epistemic Autocracy, From the 19th to the 21st Century
Paul Collins and Phillip Collins

“Just as Julian Jaynes’s ancient cultures, where the internally heard speech of the gods was prompted by props like the corpse of a chieftain or a statue, so, too, our internalized media echoes are triggered by products, props, or situations in the environment.” (quoting Joyce Nelson)

Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth and the Trickster
Allan Combs and Mark Holland

“In this book [Jaynes] argues that in ancient times, prior to about the first millennium B.C., the right hemisphere of the brain had a language center which functioned quite independently of the left.”

Did Man Create God?: Is Your Spiritual Brain at Peace With Your Thinking Brain?
David E. Comings

“Consciousness resides at the nexus of the mind-body problem. A poetic description of consciousness was given by Julian Jaynes…”

Artificial Intelligence: A Philosophical Introduction
Jack Copeland

“According to Julian Jaynes, ‘it is perfectly possible that there could have existed a race of men who spoke, judged, reasoned, solved problems, indeed did most of the things we do, but who were not conscious at all.’ If this sounds outrageous to you, it is probably because you are taking the word ‘conscious’ in what I will call the baseline sense.”

The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Building and Rebuilding the Human Brain
Louis Cozolino

“Inspired by both split-brain research and his readings of ancient texts, the neuropsychologist Julian Jaynes developed a theory of the evolution of human consciousness based on the increasing ability of the left hemipshere to inhibit input from the right.”

The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis Regis)
Aleister Crowley and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (Trans.)

“See Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, for a brilliant thesis that accounts for the loss of widespread individual contact with the numinous.”

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Mihaly Csikszentmihal

“A stab in the direction of speculating about how consciousness emerged in human beings was made by Jaynes, who ascribes it to the connection between the left and right cerebral hemispheres, which he speculates occurred only about 3,000 years ago.”

Authors A – C | D – F | G – I | J – L | M – P | Q – Z