Jaynes bluntly declares "There is in general no consciousness in the ILIAD." Analyzing Homer's great epic, Jaynes came to the conclusion that the characters of the Trojan siege did not have conscious minds, no introspection, as we know it in the modern human. [Julian Jaynes, THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1976, p. 69]
Whether Achilles or Agamemnon, there was no sense of subjectivity. Rather they were men whom the gods pushed about like robots. The gods sang epics through their lips. Jayne declares that these Iliadic heroes heard "voices," real speech and directions from the gods--as clearly as those diagnosed epileptic or schizophrenic today.
Pursuing the bicameral mind, Jaynes focuses on the corpus callosum, the major inter-connector between the brain's hemispheres. In human brains the corpus callosum can be likened to a small bridge, a band of transverse fibers, only slightly more than one-eighth of an inch in diameter. This bridge "collects from most of the temporal lobe cortex but particularly the middle gyrus of the temporal lobe in Wernicke's area." And it was this bridge that served as the means by which the "gods" who dwelled in one hemisphere of the human brain were able to give "directions" to the other hemisphere. It is like thinking of the "two hemispheres of the brain almost as two individuals." Hence the bicameral mind! [Ibid, p. 117]
Jaynes finds supporting evidence in the surviving remnants of almost every major world religion and civilization. Direct interaction between gods and men appears in the artwork, literature and religious traditions of most ancient cultures. "Early civilizations were all theocracies with God at the top," Jaynes says, adding that "when they talk about the 'word of god,' they actually heard him in their hallucinations." Jaynes points out that the statuary of many pagan religions depicts idols with mouths agape, as if the gods were speaking to the people.
However, Jaynes notes that idols produced in later periods consistently portray mute gods, a fact that conveniently fits into his theory of mind evolution. As the bicameral mind broke down and humans gained consciousness, he argues, they heard the voices in their mind with less frequency. Between the second and first millenium B.C., man eventually lost his "contact with the gods" and gained contact with himself.
The philosopher Daniel Dennett, in an article written in 1986 for the journal Canadian Psychology entitled Julian Jaynes's Software Archeology, suggested that Jaynes was wrong about quite a few of his supporting arguments, especially the importance he attached to hallucinations, but that these things were not essential to his main thesis, which may well be right. Dennett asserts that if Jaynes's argument is recast, using the modern computational metaphor, it makes a lot of sense. The hardware of the human brain may perhaps be the same today as it was thousands of years ago, but there must have been much more recent changes in the software of our data processing system for us to have become the way we are today. Dennett concludes his article by stating:
Jaynes' idea is that for us to be the way we are now, there has to have been a revolution -- almost certainly not an organic revolution, but a software revolution -- in the organization of our information processing system, and that has to come after language. That, I think, is an absolutely wonderful idea, and if Jaynes is completely wrong in the details, that is a darn shame, but something like what he proposes has to be right; and we can start looking around for better modules to put in the place of the modules that he has already given us.
This is something I always wondered about. God seemed to have talked to a lot of people back in the day, but for some reason, went silent long ago.
reply to post by KellyPrettyBear
I would say that this is essentially, the main motivation behind New Age concepts.
Ancient tales also talk about people being able to perform magic. Maybe a stronger link with the higher self enabled ancients to do amazing things.
Would make sense Abrahamic religions claim a God talks to them (in what language)? And entrusts them of all billion people on the world, to deliver messages for all Mankind.
Schizo also tend to have that high brain activity, hearing voices, and insisting on ideas/theories as fact *cough*
reply to post by JayinAR
Just pointing out the logical opposite to your statement
I think you need to do considerably more to prove that the concept is inherently flawed.