2.3. The Causes of Consciousness

An old Sumerian proverb has been translated as “Act promptly, make your god happy. “1 If we forget for a moment that these rich English words are but a probing approximation of some more unknowable Sumerian thing, we may say that this curious exaction arches over into our subjective mentality as saying, “Don’t think: let there be no time space between hearing your bicameral voice and doing what it tells you.”

This was fine in a stable hierarchical organization, where the voices were the always correct and essential parts of that hierarchy, where the divine orders of life were trussed and girdered with unversatile ritual, untouched by major social disturbance. But the second millennium B.C. was not to last that way. Wars, catastrophes, national migrations became its central themes. Chaos darkened the holy brightnesses of the unconscious world. Hierarchies crumpled. And between the act and its divine source came the shadow, the pause that profaned, the dreadful loosening that made the gods unhappy, recriminatory, jealous. Until, finally, the screening off of their tyranny was effected by the invention on the basis of language of an analog space with an analog ‘I’. The careful elaborate structures of the bicameral mind had been shaken into consciousness.

These are the momentous themes of the present chapter.

* * * *

The Instability of Bicameral Kingdoms

In the contemporary world, we associate rigid authoritarian governments with militarism and police repression. This association should not be applied to the authoritarian states of the bicameral era. Militarism, police, rule by fear, are all the desperate measures used to control a subjective conscious populace restless with identity crises and divided off into their multitudinous privacies of hopes and hates.

In the bicameral era, the bicameral mind was the social control, not fear or repression or even law. There were no private ambitions, no private grudges, no private frustrations, no private anything, since bicameral men had no internal “space” in which to be private, and no analog to be private with. All initiative was in the voices of gods. And the gods needed to be assisted by their divinely dictated laws only in the late federations of states in the second millennium B.C.

Within each bicameral state, therefore, the people were probably more peaceful and friendly than in any civilization since. But at the interfaces between different bicameral civilizations, the problems were complex and quite different.

Let us consider a meeting between two individuals from two different bicameral cultures. Let us assume they do not know each other’s language and are owned by different gods. The manner of such meetings would be dependent upon the kind of admonitions, warnings, and importunings with which the individual had been reared.

In peaceful times, with the god of the city basking in prosperity, the human tilling of his fields, the harvesting, storing, and sorting out of his produce all going on without hitch or question, as in a colony of ants, it could be expected that his divine voice would be basically amicable, and that indeed all man’s voicevisions would tend to be beautiful and peaceful, exaggerating the very harmony this method of social control was evolved to preserve.

Thus, if the bicameral theocracies of both individuals meeting have been unthreatened for their generation, both their directive gods would be composed of friendly voices. The result may have been a tentative exchange of gestural greetings and facial expressions that might grow to friendship, or even an exchange of gifts. For we can be very certain that the relative rarity of each other’s possessions (coming from different cultures) would make such an exchange mutually wished for.

This is probably how trade began. The beginning of such exchanges goes back to food sharing in the family group which grew into exchanges of goods and produce within the same city. Just as the harvested grain of the first agricultural settlements had to be doled out by certain god-given rules, so, as labor became more specialized, other products, wine, adornments, clothes, and the building of houses, all had to have their god-set equivalents to each other.

Trade between different peoples is simply the extension of such exchanging of goods to another kingdom. Texts from 2500 B.C. found in Sumer speak of such exchanging as far away as the Indus Valley. And the recent discovery of a new city site at Tepe Yahya, halfway between Sumer and the Indus Valley, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, whose artifacts clearly indicate that it was the main source of steatite or soapstone, used for utensils extensively in Mesopotamia, establish it as a center of exchange between these bicameral kingdoms.2 Small two-inch-square tablets have been found with counting marks on them which were probably simple exchange rates. All this was during a peaceful era in the middle of the third millennium B.C. I shall suggest later that extensive exchanging of goods between bicameral theocracies may in itself have weakened the bicameral structure that made civilization possible.

Now let us return to our two individuals from different cultures. We have been discussing what occurs in a peaceful world with peaceful gods. But what if the opposite were the case? If both came from threatened cultures, both would probably hear warlike hallucinated voices directing each to kill the other, whereupon hostilities would follow. But the same result would happen if either came from a threatened culture, putting the other into a posture of defense, as either the same god or another directed him as well to engage in fighting.

There is thus no middle ground in intertheocracy relations. Admonitory voices echoing kings, viziers, parents, etc., are unlikely to command individuals into acts of compromise. Even today, our ideas of nobility are largely residues of bicameral authority: it is not noble to whine, it is not noble to plead, it is not noble to beg, even though these postures are really the most moral of ways to settle differences. And hence the instability of the bicameral world, and the fact that during the bicameral era boundary relations would, I think, be more likely to end in all-out friendship or all-out hostility than anything between these extremes.

Nor is this the bottom of the matter. The smooth working of a bicameral kingdom has to rest on its authoritarian hierarchy. And once the priestly or secular hierarchy is disputed or upset, its effects would be exaggerated in a way that in a police state would not occur. Once cities become a certain size, as we have already seen, the bicameral control must be extremely precarious. The hierarchy of priests to sort out the various voices and give them their recognitions must have become a major preoccupation as bicameral cities grew in size. One jar to this balance of human and hallucinated authority, and, like a house of cards, the whole thing might collapse. As I have mentioned in both previous chapters, such theocracies occasionally did indeed suddenly collapse without any known external cause.

In comparison with conscious nations, then, bicameral nations were more susceptible to collapse. The directives of gods are limited. If on top of this inherent fragility, something really new occurred, such as a forced intermingling of bicameral peoples, the gods would be hard pressed to sort anything out in a peaceable way.

The Weakening of Divine Authority with Writing

These limitations of gods were both relieved and greatly exacerbated in the second millennium B.C. by the success of writing. On the one hand, writing could allow a civil structure such as that of Hammurabi to remain stable. But, on the other, it was gradually eroding the auditory authority of the bicameral mind. More and more, the accountings and messages of government were placed in cuneiform tablets particularly. Whole libraries of them are still being discovered. Letters of officials became a commonplace. By 1500 B.C., even miners high in the rocky wastes of Sinai incised their names and their relationships to the goddess of the mine on its walls.3

The input to the divine hallucinatory aspect of the bicameral mind was auditory. It used cortical areas more closely connected to the auditory parts of the brain. And once the word of god was silent, written on dumb clay tablets or incised into speechless stone, the god’s commands or the king’s directives could be turned to or avoided by one’s own efforts in a way that auditory hallucinations never could be. The word of a god had a controllable location rather than an ubiquitous power with immediate obedience. This is extremely important.

The Failure of the Gods 

This loosening of the god-man partnership perhaps by trade and certainly by writing was the background of what happened. But the immediate and precipitate cause of the breakdown of the bicameral mind, of the wedge of consciousness between god and man, between hallucinated voice and automaton action, was that in social chaos the gods could not tell you what to do. Or if they did, they led to death, or at the intimate least to an increase in the stress that physiologically occasioned the voice in the first place, until voices came in an unsolvable Babel of confusion.

The historical context of all this was enormous. The second millennium B.C. was heavy laden with profound and irreversible changes. Vast geological catastrophes occurred. Civilizations perished. Half the world’s population became refugees. And wars, previously sporadic, came with hastening and ferocious frequency as this important millennium hunched itself sickly into its dark and bloody close.

It is a complex picture, the variables evoking these changes multileveled, the facts as we have them now not at all certain. Almost yearly they are revised as each new generation of archaeologists and ancient historians finds fault with its predecessors. As an approximation to these complexities, let us look at the two major elements of these upheavals. One was the mass migrations and invasions of peoples all around the eastern Mediterranean due to the volcanic eruption of Thera, and the other was the rise of Assyria, in three great phases, warring its way reign by reign westward to Egypt, northward to the Caspian, incorporating all of Mesopotamia, forming a very different kind of empire from any that the world had known before.

The Assyrian Spring 

Let us first look at the situation in northern Mesopotamia around the city that belongs to the god Ashur, as the second millennium B.C. opens.4 Originally a part of Akkad, and then of Old Babylonia two hundred miles south, by 1950 B.C., this peaceful bicameral city on an upper reach of the gentle Tigris has been left pretty much to itself. Under the guidance of Ashur’s chief human servant, Puzen-Ashur I, its benign influence and wealth begin to expand. More than in any nation before it, the feature of that expansion is exchange of goods with other theocracies. About two hundred years later, the city owned by Ashur becomes Assyria, with exchange posts as much as seven hundred miles by road away to the northeast in Anatolia or present-day Turkey.

Exchange of goods between cities had been going on for some time. But it is doubtful if it was as extensive as that practiced by the Assyrians. Recent excavations have revealed karums or, in smaller towns, ubartums, the exchange posts just outside several Anatolian cities in which the trading took place. Particularly interesting excavations have been made of the karum just outside Kiiltepe: small buildings whose walls have no windows, stone and wooden shelves on which are cuneiform tablets yet to be translated, and sometimes jars with what appear to be counters within them.5 The writing, indeed, is old Assyrian, and, presumably brought there by these traders, is the first writing known in Anatolia.

Such trade was not, however, a true market. There were no prices under the pressures of supply and demand, no buying and selling, and no money. It was trade in the sense of equivalences established by divine decree. There is a complete lack of reference to business profits or loss in any of the cuneiform tablets that have so far been translated. There are occasional exceptions, even a suggestion of ‘inflation,’ perhaps during a famine year when the exchanges became different, but they do not seriously impair Polanyi’s view, which I am following here.6 

Let us consider these Assyrian merchants for a moment. They were, we may presume, merely agents, holding their position by descent and apprenticeship, and carrying out exchanges much as their fathers had done for centuries. But there are so many questions that face the psychohistorian at this point. What would happen to the bicameral voices of these merchants as much as seven hundred miles from the source of their city-god’s voice, and in daily contact and probably (though not necessarily) speaking the language of bicameral men ruled by a different pantheon of voices? Is it possible that something like a protosubjective consciousness occurred in these traders at the boundaries of different civilizations? Did they, returning periodically to Ashur, bring with them a weakened bicamerality that perhaps spread to a new generation? So that the bicameral tie between gods and men was loosened?The causes of consciousness are multiple, but at least I do not think it is a coincidence that the key nation in this development should also have been that nation most involved in exchanges of goods with others. If it is true that the power of the gods and particularly of Ashur were being weakened at this time, it could account for the absolute collapse of his city in 1700 B.C., beginning the dark ages of Assyrian anarchy that lasted two hundred years. For this event there is no explanation whatever. No historian understands it. And there is little hope of ever doing so, for not a single Assyrian cuneiform inscription from this period has ever been found.

The reorganization of Assyria after its collapse had to wait upon other events. In 1450 B.C., Egypt pushed the Mitanni out of Syria right across the Euphrates into lands between the two great rivers that had once been Assyrian. But a century later the Mitanni were conquered by the Hittites from the north, thus making possible the rebuilding of an Assyrian empire in 1380 B.C. after two centuries of anarchic darkness.

And what an empire it is! No nation had been so militaristic before. Unlike any previous inscriptions anywhere, those of middie Assyria now bristle with brutal campaigns. The change is dramatic. But the success of the Assyrian invasions as they relentlessly savage their way toward world domination is like a ratchet catching at the whorl of catastrophes of another kind.

Eruption, Migration, Conquest 

The collapse of the bicameral mind was certainly accelerated by the collapse under the ocean of a good part of the Aegean people’s land. This followed an eruption or series of eruptions of the volcano on the island of Thera, also called Santorini, now an Aegean tourist attraction, barely sixty-two miles north of Crete.7 Then, it had been part of what Plato8 and later legend called the lost continent of Atlantis, which with Crete made up the Minoan empire. The major part of it and perhaps parts of Crete as well were suddenly 1ooo feet underwater. Most of the remaining land of Thera was covered with a 150-foot-deep crust of volcanic ash and pumice.

Geologists have hypothesized that the black cloud caused by the eruption darkened the sky for days and affected the atmosphere for years. The air shock waves have been estimated at 350 times more powerful than a hydrogen bomb. Thick poisonous vapors puffed out over the blue sea for miles. A tsunami or huge tidal wave followed. Towering 700 feet high and traveling at 350 miles per hour, it smashed into the fragile coasts of the bicameral kingdoms along the Aegean mainland and its islands. Everything for two miles inland was destroyed. A civilization and its gods had ended. 

Just when it happened, whether it was a series of eruptions or a two-stage affair with a year between the eruption and the collapse, will require better scientific methods of dating volcanic ash and pumice. Some believe it to have occurred in 1470 B.C.9 Others have dated the collapse of Thera between 1180 and 1170 B.C. when the whole of the Mediterranean, including Cyprus, the Nile delta, and the coast of Israel, suffered universal calamity of a magnitude that dwarfed the 1470 B.C. destruction.10

Whenever it was, whether it was one or a series of eruptions, it set off a huge procession of mass migrations and invasions which wrecked the Hittite and Mycenaean empires, threw the world into a dark ages within which came the dawn of consciousness. Only Egypt seems to have retained the elaboration of its civilized life, although the exodus of the Israelites about the time of the Trojan War, perhaps 1230 B.C., is close enough to be considered a part of this great world event. The legend of the parting of the Red Sea probably refers to tidal changes in the Sea of Reeds related to the Thera eruption.

The result is that, in the space of a single day, whole populations or what survive of them are suddenly refugees. Like files of dominoes, anarchy and chaos ripple and lurch across the frightened land as neighbor invades neighbor. And what can the gods say in these ruins? What can the gods say, with hunger and death more strict than they, with strange people staring at strange people, and strange language bellowed at uncomprehending ears? The bicameral man was ruled in the trivial circumstance of everyday life by unconscious habit, and in his encounters with anything new or out of the ordinary in his own behavior or others’ by his voice-visions. Ripped out of context in the larger hierarchical group, where neither habit nor bicameral voice could assist and direct him, he must have been a pitiable creature indeed. How could the storings up and distillings of admonitory experience gained in the peaceful authoritarian ordering of a bicameral nation say anything that would work now?

Huge migrations begin moving into Ionia and then south. The coastal lands of the Levant are invaded by land and sea by peoples from eastern Europe, of whom the Philistines of the Old Testament were a part. The pressure of the refugees is so great in Anatolia that in 1200 B.C. the puissant Hittite empire collapses, driving the Hittites down into Syria where other refugees are seeking new lands. Assyria was inland and protected. And the chaos resulting from these invasions allowed the cruel Assyrian armies to push all the way into Phrygia, Syria, Phoenicia, and even to the subjugation of the mountain peoples of Armenia in the north and those of the Zagros Mountains to the east. Could Assyria do this on a strictly bicameral basis?

The most powerful king of this middle Assyria was TiglathPileser I (1115-1077 B.C.). Note how he no longer joins the name of his god to his name. His exploits are well known from a large clay prism of monstrous boasts. His laws have come down to us in a collection of cruel tablets. Scholars have called his policy “a policy of frightfulness.”11 And so it was. The Assyrians fell like butchers upon harmless villagers, enslaved what refugees they could, and slaughtered others in thousands. Bas-reliefs show what appear to be whole cities whose populace have been stuck alive on stakes running up through the groin and out the shoulders. His laws meted out the bloodiest penalties yet known in world history for even minor misdemeanors. They make a dramatic contrast to the juster admonishments that the god of Babylon dictated to bicameral Hammurabi six centuries earlier.

Why this harshness? And for the first time in the history of civilization? Unless the previous method of social control had absolutely broken down. And that form of social control was the bicameral mind. The very practice of cruelty as an attempt to rule by fear is, I suggest, at the brink of subjective consciousness.

The chaos is widespread and continuing. In Greece it is darkly known as the Dorian invasions. The Acropolis is in flames by the end of the thirteenth century B.C. Mycenae no longer exists by the end of the twelfth century B.C. It has been ground out into legend and wonder. And we can imagine the first aoidos, still bicameral, wandering entranced from ruined camp to camp of refugees, singing the bright goddess through his white lips of the wrath of Achilles in a golden age that was and is no more.

Even from somewhere around the Black Sea, hordes that some called the Mushku, known in the Old Testament as Meshech, thrust down into the ruined Hittite kingdom. Then twenty thousand of them drifted further south invading the Assyrian province of Kummuh. Hordes of Aramaeans continuously pressed in on the Assyrian from the western deserts and continued to do so up into the first millennium B.C.

In the south, more of these refugees, called in hieroglyphics the “People from the Sea,” attempt to invade Egypt by the Nile delta at the beginning of the eleventh century B.C. Their defeat by Rameses III can still be seen on the north wall of his funerary temple at Medinet Habu in western Thebes.12 The invaders in ships, chariots, and on foot, with families and oxcarts of possessions, stream through these murals in refugee fashion. Had the invasion been successful, it is possible that Egypt might have done for the intellect what Greece was to do in the next millennium. And so the People from the Sea are pressed back eastward into the clutch of Assyrian militarism.

And finally all these pressures become too great for even Assyrian cruelty. In the tenth century B.C., Assyria itself cannot control the situation and shrivels back into poverty behind the Tigris. But only to breathe. For in the very next century, the Assyrians begin their reconquest of the world with unprecedented sadistic ferocity, butchering and terroring their way back to their former empire and then beyond and all the way to Egypt and up the fertile Nile to the holy sun-god himself, even as Pizarro was to take the divine Inca captive two and a half millennia later on the opposite side of the earth. And by this time, the great transilience in mentality had occurred. Man had become conscious of himself and his world.

How Consciousness Began

So far, all our analysis has been about how and why the bicameral mind collapsed. It could indeed be asked at this point why man did not simply revert to his previous condition. Sometimes he did. But the inertia of the more complex cultures prevented the return to tribal life. Man was trapped in his own civilization. Huge cities simply are there, and their ponderous habits of working keep going even as their divine control lapses away. Language too is a brake upon social change. The bicameral mind was an offshoot of the acquisition of language, and language by this time had a vocabulary demanding such attention to a civilized environment as to make a reversion to something of at least 5000 years earlier almost impossible.

The facts of the transition from the bicameral mind to the subjective conscious mind are what I try to develop in the ensuing two chapters. But just how it happened is the consideration here, and this needs a great deal more research. What we need is a paleontology of consciousness, in which we can discern stratum by stratum how this metaphored world we call subjective consciousness was built up and under what particular social pressures. All that I can present here is a few suggestions.

I would also remind the reader of two things. First, I am not talking here of the metaphoric mechanisms by which consciousness was generated that I discussed in I.3. Here I am concerned with their origin in history, why those features were generated by metaphors at a particular time. Secondly, we are speaking only about the Near East. Once consciousness is established, there are quite different reasons why it is so successful, and why it spreads to the remaining bicameral peoples, problems which we shall take up in a later chapter.

The observation of difference may be the origin of the analog space of consciousness. After the breakdown of authority and of the gods, we can scarcely imagine the panic and the hesitancy that would feature human behavior during the disorder we have described. We should remember that in the bicameral age men belonging to the same city-god were more or less of similar opinion and action. But in the forced violent intermingling of peoples from different nations, different gods, the observation that strangers, even though looking like oneself, spoke differently, had opposite opinions, and behaved differently might lead to the supposition of something inside of them that was different. Indeed, this latter opinion has come down to us in the traditions of philosophy, namely, that thoughts, opinions, and delusions are subjective phenomena inside a person because there is no room for them in the ‘real,’ ‘objective’ world. It is thus a possibility that before an individual man had an interior self, he unconsciously first posited it in others, particularly contradictory strangers, as the thing that caused their different and bewildering behavior. In other words, the tradition in philosophy that phrases the problem as the logic of inferring other minds from one’s own has it the wrong way around. We may first unconsciously (sic) suppose other consciousnesses, and then infer our own by generalization.

The Origin of Narratization in Epics

It sounds strange to speak about gods learning. But occupying a good part of the right temporal-parietal region (if the model of I.5 is correct), they, too, like the left temporal-parietal region, or perhaps even more so, would learn new abilities, storing up new experience, reworking their admonitory function in new ways to meet new needs.

Narratization is a single word for an extremely complex set of patterning abilities which have, I think, a multiple ancestry. But the thing in its larger patterning, such as lifetimes, histories, the past and future, may have been learned by dominantly lefthemisphered men from a new kind of functioning in the right hemisphere. The new kind of functioning was narratization, and it had previously been learned, I suggest, by the gods at a certain period of history.

When could this have been? It is doubtful if there can ever be a certain answer, partly because there is no sharp boundary between the relation of an event that has just happened and an epic. Also our search into the past is always confounded with the development of writing. But it is interesting that about the middle of the third millennium B.C., or just before, there seems to arise a new feature of civilization in southern Mesopotamia. Before what is known as the Early Dynastic II period, excavations show that towns or cities in this area were not fortified, had no defenses. But thereafter, in the principal regions of urban development, walled cities arose at a fairly constant distance from one another, the inhabitants farming the intervening fields and occasionally fighting each other for control of them. At about this same period came the first epics that we know of, such as the several about Emmerkar, the builder of Uruk, and his relations with the neighboring city-state of Aratta. And their topics are precisely this relationship between neighboring states.

My suggestion is that narratization arose as a codification of reports of past events. Writing up to this time ? and it is only a few centuries since its invention ?- had been primarily an inventory device, a way of recording the stores and exchanges of a god’s estates. Now it becomes a way of recording god-commanded events, whose recitation after the fact becomes the narratization of epics. Since reading, as I have suggested in the previous chapter, may have been hallucinating from the cuneiform, it may, then, have been a right temporal lobe function. And since these were the recordings of the past, it is the right hemisphere that becomes at least the temporary seat of the reminiscence of gods.

We should note in passing how different the reading from stable cuneiform tablets in Mesopotamia was from the oral recomposing of the epics in Greece by a succession of aoidoi: It is possible that the oral tradition in Greece was an immense benefit in its demand that ‘Apollo’ or the ‘Muses’ in the right hemisphere become the sources of memory and learn how to narratize so as to keep the memories of Achilles together in the epic pattern. And then, in the chaos of transilience to consciousness, man assimilates both this memory ability and the ability to narratize memories into patterns.

The Origin of the Analog ‘I’ in Deceit 

Deceit may also be a cause of consciousness. But we must begin any discussion of the topic by making a distinction between instrumental or short-term deceit and long-term deceit, which might better be expressed as treachery. Several examples of the former have been described in chimpanzees. Female chimpanzees will ‘present’ in sexual posture to a male to whisk away his banana when his prandial interest is thus distracted. In another instance, a chimpanzee would fill his mouth with water, coax a disliked keeper over to the cage bars, and spit the water in his face. In both such instances, the deceit involved is a case of instrumental learning, a behavior pattern that is followed immediately by some rewarding state of affairs. And it needs no further explanation.

But the kind of deceit that is treachery is quite another matter. It is impossible for an animal or for a bicameral man. Long-term deceit requires the invention of an analog self that can ‘do’ or ‘be’ something quite different from what the person actually does or is, as seen by his associates. It is an easy matter to imagine how important for survival during these centuries such an ability would be. Overrun by some invader, and seeing his wife raped, a man who obeyed his voices would, of course, immediately strike out, and thus probably be killed. But if a man could be one thing on the inside and another thing on the outside, could harbor his hatred and revenge behind a mask of acceptance of the inevitable, such a man would survive. Or, in the more usual situation of being commanded by invading strangers, perhaps in a strange language, the person who could obey superficially and have ‘within him’ another self with ‘thoughts’ contrary to his disloyal actions, who could loathe the man he smiled at, would be much more successful in perpetuating himself and his family in the new millennium.

Natural Selection 

My last comment brings up the possibility that natural selection may have played a role in the beginning of consciousness. But in putting up this question, I wish to be very clear that consciousness is chiefly a cultural introduction, learned on the basis of language and taught to others, rather than any biological necessity. But that it had and still has a survival value suggests that the change to consciousness may have been assisted by a certain amount of natural selection.

It is impossible to calculate what percentage of the civilized world died in these terrible centuries toward the end of the second millennium B.C. I suspect it was enormous. And death would come soonest to those who impulsively lived by their unconscious habits or who could not resist the commandments of their gods to smite whatever strangers interfered with them. It is thus possible that individuals most obdurately bicameral, most obedient to their familiar divinities, would perish, leaving the genes of the less impetuous, the less bicameral, to endow the ensuing generations. And again we may appeal to the principle of Baldwinian evolution as we did in our discussion of language. Consciousness must be learned by each new generation, and those biologically most able to learn it would be those most likely to survive. There is even Biblical evidence, as we shall see in a future chapter, that children obdurately bicameral were simply killed.13


This chapter must not be construed as presenting any evidence about the origin of consciousness. That is the burden of several ensuing chapters. My purpose in this chapter has been descriptive and theoretical, to paint a picture of plausibility, of how and why a huge alteration in human mentality could have occurred toward the end of the second millennium B.C.

In summary, I have sketched out several factors at work in the great transilience from the bicameral mind to consciousness: (1) the weakening of the auditory by the advent of writing; (2) the inherent fragility of hallucinatory control; (3) the unworkableness of gods in the chaos of historical upheaval; (4) the positing of internal cause in the observation of difference in others; (5) the acquisition of narratization from epics; (6) the survival value of deceit; and (7) a modicum of natural selection.

I would conclude by bringing up the question of the strictness of all this. Did consciousness really come de novo into the world only at this time? Is it not possible that certain individuals at least might have been conscious in much earlier time? Possibly yes. As individuals differ in mentality today, so in past ages it might have been possible that one man alone, or more possibly a cult or clique, began to develop a metaphored space with analog selves. But such aberrant mentality in a bicameral theocracy would, I think, be short-lived and scarcely what we mean by consciousness today.

It is the cultural norm that we are here concerned with, and the evidence that that cultural norm underwent a dramatic change is the substance of the following chapters. The three areas of the world where this transilience can be most easily observed are Mesopotamia, Greece, and among the bicameral refugees. We shall be discussing these in turn.