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The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Author: Julian Jaynes
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547527543
Pages: 512
Year: 2000-08-15
At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion -- and indeed our future.
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Author: Julian Jaynes
Publisher: Mariner Books
ISBN: 0618057072
Pages: 491
Year: 2000
At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion -- and indeed our future.
The Master and His Emissary

The Master and His Emissary

Author: Iain McGilchrist
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 030014878X
Pages: 597
Year: 2009
Why is the brain divided? The difference between right and left hemispheres has been puzzled over for centuries. In a book of unprecedented scope, Iain McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent brain research, illustrated with case histories, to reveal that the difference is profound—not just this or that function, but two whole, coherent, but incompatible ways of experiencing the world. The left hemisphere is detail oriented, prefers mechanisms to living things, and is inclined to self-interest, where the right hemisphere has greater breadth, flexibility, and generosity. This division helps explain the origins of music and language, and casts new light on the history of philosophy, as well as on some mental illnesses. In the second part of the book, McGilchrist takes the reader on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists, from Aeschylus to Magritte. He argues that, despite its inferior grasp of reality, the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. This is truly a tour de force that should excite interest in a wide readership.
Between the Rivers

Between the Rivers

Author: Harry Turtledove
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1429914963
Pages: 416
Year: 2007-04-01
At the sun-drenched dawn of human history, in the great plain between the two great rivers, are the cities of men. And each city is ruled by its god. But the god of the city of Gibil is lazy and has let the men of his city develop the habit of thinking for themselves. Now the men of Gibil have begun to devise arithmetic, and commerce, and are sending expeditions to trade with other lands. They're starting to think that perhaps men needn't always be subject to the whims of gods. This has the other god worried. And well they might be...because human cleverness, once awakened, isn't likely to be easily squelched.
The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness

The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness

Author: David Gelernter
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 1631490842
Pages: 288
Year: 2016-02-22
A “rock star” (New York Times) of the computing world provides a radical new work on the meaning of human consciousness. The holy grail of psychologists and scientists for nearly a century has been to understand and replicate both human thought and the human mind. In fact, it's what attracted the now-legendary computer scientist and AI authority David Gelernter to the discipline in the first place. As a student and young researcher in the 1980s, Gelernter hoped to build a program with a dial marked "focus." At maximum "focus," the program would "think" rationally, formally, reasonably. As the dial was turned down and "focus" diminished, its "mind" would start to wander, and as you dialed even lower, this artificial mind would start to free-associate, eventually ignoring the user completely as it cruised off into the mental adventures we know as sleep. While the program was a only a partial success, it laid the foundation for The Tides of Mind, a groundbreaking new exploration of the human psyche that shows us how the very purpose of the mind changes throughout the day. Indeed, as Gelernter explains, when we are at our most alert, when reasoning and creating new memories is our main mental business, the mind is a computer-like machine that keeps emotion on a short leash and attention on our surroundings. As we gradually tire, however, and descend the "mental spectrum," reasoning comes unglued. Memory ranges more freely, the mind wanders, and daydreams grow more insistent. Self-awareness fades, reflection blinks out, and at last we are completely immersed in our own minds. With far-reaching implications, Gelernter’s landmark "Spectrum of Consciousness" finally helps decode some of the most mysterious wonders of the human mind, such as the numinous light of early childhood, why dreams are so often predictive, and why sadism and masochism underpin some of our greatest artistic achievements. It’s a theory that also challenges the very notion of the mind as a machine—and not through empirical studies or "hard science" but by listening to our great poets and novelists, who have proven themselves as humanity's most trusted guides to the subjective mind and inner self. In the great introspective tradition of Wilhelm Wundt and René Descartes, David Gelernter promises to not only revolutionize our understanding of what it means to be human but also to help answer many of our most fundamental questions about the origins of creativity, thought, and consciousness.
The Jaynes Legacy

The Jaynes Legacy

Author: Lawrence Wile
Publisher: Andrews UK Limited
ISBN: 1845409728
Pages: 250
Year: 2018-01-03
Julian Jaynes' 1976 book, The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, continues to arouse an unsettling ambivalence. Richard Dawkins called it "either complete rubbish or a work of consummate genius, nothing in between". The present book suggests that the bicameral mind is a phantasm; the dating of the origin of consciousness contradicts archeological and literary evidence; and the theory contributes nothing toward explaining why some physical states are conscious while others are not because the nonconscious bicameral brain is neurophysiologically equivalent to the conscious brain. However, the author pays tribute to Jaynes's work as a work of "consummate genius" because it compels us to re-evaluate the significance of humankind's earliest traditions and texts that might shine light on the "very suspicious totem of evolutionary mythology" that consciousness has evolved continuously and gradually from worms to man. The present book suggests that the evolution of the relationship between consciousnesses, mass, energy, and spacetime radically changed nearly 6,000 years ago during the epigenetic, evolutionary degeneration of a little-known, threadlike structure originating from the center of the central nervous system called Reissner's fiber. The earliest Egyptian, Hebrew, Indian and Chinese traditions, buried beneath the dust of fallen Babel and thousands of years of distortions and disguisings, describe this process during the origin of religion and mystical traditions.
Medicine, Mind, and the Double Brain

Medicine, Mind, and the Double Brain

Author: Anne Harrington
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691024227
Pages: 354
Year: 1989-01-21
The study concentrates on, without being strictly limited to, the years 1860-1900 and encompasses explorations into the concepts of symmetry and asymmetry in early nineteenth-century neurology.
The Recursive Mind

The Recursive Mind

Author: Michael C. Corballis
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400851491
Pages: 312
Year: 2014-04-27
The Recursive Mind challenges the commonly held notion that language is what makes us uniquely human. In this compelling book, Michael Corballis argues that what distinguishes us in the animal kingdom is our capacity for recursion: the ability to embed our thoughts within other thoughts. "I think, therefore I am," is an example of recursive thought, because the thinker has inserted himself into his thought. Recursion enables us to conceive of our own minds and the minds of others. It also gives us the power of mental "time travel"--the ability to insert past experiences, or imagined future ones, into present consciousness. Drawing on neuroscience, psychology, animal behavior, anthropology, and archaeology, Corballis demonstrates how these recursive structures led to the emergence of language and speech, which ultimately enabled us to share our thoughts, plan with others, and reshape our environment to better reflect our creative imaginations. He shows how the recursive mind was critical to survival in the harsh conditions of the Pleistocene epoch, and how it evolved to foster social cohesion. He traces how language itself adapted to recursive thinking, first through manual gestures, then later, with the emergence of Homo sapiens, vocally. Toolmaking and manufacture arose, and the application of recursive principles to these activities in turn led to the complexities of human civilization, the extinction of fellow large-brained hominins like the Neandertals, and our species' supremacy over the physical world. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
Consciousness Explained

Consciousness Explained

Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316439487
Pages: 528
Year: 2017-02-07
"Brilliant...as audacious as its title....Mr. Dennett's exposition is nothing short of brilliant." --George Johnson, New York Times Book Review Consciousness Explained is a a full-scale exploration of human consciousness. In this landmark book, Daniel Dennett refutes the traditional, commonsense theory of consciousness and presents a new model, based on a wealth of information from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Our current theories about conscious life-of people, animal, even robots--are transformed by the new perspectives found in this book.
Self Comes to Mind

Self Comes to Mind

Author: Antonio Damasio
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 030747495X
Pages: 398
Year: 2012
A leading neuroscientist addresses key questions about the origins and mechanisms of human consciousness, drawing on decades of research to challenge beliefs about the separateness of consciousness from the body while presenting a revisionist perspective built on traditional approaches. By the author of Descartes' Error. Reprint.
The "Other" Psychology of Julian Jaynes

The "Other" Psychology of Julian Jaynes

Author: Brian J. McVeigh
Publisher: Andrews UK Limited
ISBN: 1845409736
Pages: 359
Year: 2018-01-17
In his provocative but critically acclaimed theory about the origin of introspectable mentality, Julian Jaynes argued that until the late second millennium people possessed a different psychology: a "two-chambered" (bicameral) neurocultural arrangement in which a commanding "god" guided, admonished, and ordered about a listening "mortal" via voices, visions, and visitations. Out of the cauldron of civilizational collapse and chaos, an adaptive self-reflexive consciousness emerged better suited to the pressures of larger, more complex sociopolitical systems. Though often described as boldly iconoclastic and far ahead of it time, Jaynes's thinking actually resonates with a "second" or "other" psychological tradition that explores the cultural-historical evolution of psyche. Brian J. McVeigh, a student of Jaynes, points out the blind spots of mainstream, establishment psychology by providing empirical support for Jaynes's ideas on sociohistorical shifts in cognition. He argues that from around 3500 to 1000 BCE the archaeological and historical record reveals features of hallucinatory super-religiosity in every known civilization. As social pressures eroded the god-centered authority of bicamerality, an upgraded psychology of interiorized self-awareness arose during the Late Bronze Age Collapse. A key explanatory component of Jaynes's theorizing was how metaphors constructed a mental landscape populated with "I's" and "me's" that replaced a declining worldview dominated by gods, ancestors, and spirits. McVeigh statistically substantiates how linguo-conceptual changes reflected psychohistorical developments; because supernatural entities functioned in place of our inner selves, vocabularies for psychological terms were strikingly limited in ancient languages. McVeigh also demonstrates the surprising ubiquity of "hearing voices" in modern times, contending that hallucinations are bicameral vestiges and that mental imagery - a controllable, semi-hallucinatory experience - is the successor to the divine hallucinations that once held societies together. This thought-provoking work will appeal to anyone interested in the transformative power of metaphors, the development of mental lexicons, and the adaptive role of hallucinations.
Muses, Madmen, and Prophets

Muses, Madmen, and Prophets

Author: Daniel B. Smith
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1594201102
Pages: 254
Year: 2007
A history of this phenomenon traces the medical community's understanding and treatment of it throughout the ages and draws on literary, psychological, and anthropological perspectives to discuss how patients have managed the disorder and found inspirati
The Rage of Achilles

The Rage of Achilles

Author: Terence Hawkins
Publisher:
ISBN: 1934081205
Pages: 197
Year: 2009
Blood. Guts. Pride. Wrath. The ancient clash of armies outside the walls of Troy is a cornerstone of Western literature. In The Rage of Achilles, Terence Hawkins brilliantly reimagines that titanic encounter. His stunningly original telling captures the brutality of the battlefield, the glory and the gore, in language that never relents. Raw and compelling, The Rage of Achilles tells the story of Achilles, a monstrous hero, by turns vain and selfish, cruel and noble; of Paris, weak and consumed by lust for his stolen bride; of Agamemnon, driven nearly to insanity by the voices of the gods; and of Trojans and Achaeans, warriors and peasants, caught up in the conflict, their families torn apart by a decade-long war. The Rage of Achilles is an exhilarating story that has captured the imaginations of readers for thousands of years restored to immediacy.
Human Traces

Human Traces

Author: Sebastian Faulks
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307389448
Pages:
Year: 2008-03-11
Sixteen-year-old Jacques Rebière is living a humble life in rural France, studying butterflies and frogs by candlelight in his bedroom. Across the Channel, in England, the playful Thomas Midwinter, also sixteen, is enjoying a life of ease-and is resigned to follow his father's wishes and pursue a career in medicine. A fateful seaside meeting four years later sets the two young men on a profound course of friendship and discovery; they will become pioneers in the burgeoning field of psychiatry. But when a female patient at the doctors' Austrian sanatorium becomes dangerously ill, the two men's conflicting diagnosis threatens to divide them--and to undermine all their professional achievements. From the bestselling author of Birdsong comes this masterful novel that ventures to answer challenging questions of consciousness and science, and what it means to be human. From the Trade Paperback edition.
I Am a Strange Loop

I Am a Strange Loop

Author: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465030785
Pages: 412
Year: 2007
An original, endlessly thought-provoking, and controversial look at the nature of consciousness and identity argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the "strange loop," a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains.