Pre-Literate Societies

In his theory, Julian Jaynes describes the role hallucinations played in an earlier mentality, prior to the development of subjective consciousness. Based on Jaynes’s theory, it could be predicted that hallucinations and visions could be found among pre-literate tribal peoples. This was documented in early anthropological studies of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (see, for example, Primitive Mentality by Levy-Bruhl), and has since been been confirmed by more recent studies. Below is a small sample of research supporting this aspect of Jaynes’s theory.

Articles

Books

The Stone Age Hunters

The Stone Age Hunters
Clark, Grahame (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967)
Cited by Jaynes on pgs. 136, 151, 166.

Prehistoric Societies

Prehistoric Societies
Clark, Grahame and Stewart Piggott (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967)

Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle

Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle
Everett, Daniel L. (Vintage, 2009)
A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with the Pirahã, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil. Daniel Everett arrived among the Pirahã with his wife and three young children hoping to convert the tribe to Christianity. Everett quickly became obsessed with their language and its cultural and linguistic implications. The Pirahã have no counting system, no fixed terms for color, no concept of war, and no personal property. Everett was so impressed with their peaceful way of life that he eventually lost faith in the God he’d hoped to introduce to them, and instead devoted his life to the science of linguistics. Part passionate memoir, part scientific exploration, Everett’s life-changing tale is riveting look into the nature of language, thought, and life itself.

Primitive Mentality

Primitive Mentality
Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien (1923/2018)
The primitive mind does not differentiate the supernatural from reality, but rather uses “mystical participation” to manipulate the world. According to Bruhl, moreover, the primitive mind doesn’t address contradictions. The modern mind, by contrast, uses reflection and logic. Bruhl believed in a historical and evolutionary teleology leading from the primitive mind to the modern mind.

How Natives Think

How Natives Think
Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien (1910/2015)
In this work, first published as Les Fonctions Mentales dans les Societes Inferieures, Levy-Bruhl speculated about what he posited as the two basic mindsets of mankind; “primitive” and “Western.” The primitive mind does not differentiate the supernatural from reality, but rather uses “mystical participation” to manipulate the world. According to Levy-Bruhl, moreover, the primitive mind doesn’t address contradictions. The Western mind, by contrast, uses speculation and logic. Like many theorists of his time, Levy-Bruhl believed in a historical and evolutionary teleology leading from the primitive mind to the Western mind. Sociologist Stanislav Andreski argued that despite its flaws, Levy-Bruhl’s How Natives Think was an accurate and valuable contribution to anthropology, perhaps even more so than better-known work by Claude Levi-Strauss.

The Savage Mind

The Savage Mind
Lévi-Strauss, Claude (The University Of Chicago Press, 1966)