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Chinese Pictograms and the Bicameral Mind

Masanori Ishimori and Takashi X. Fujisawa
The Jaynesian, 2007, Volume 1, Issue 1.

Excerpt:

... Shirakawa (2002), speaking about ancient inscriptions on oracle-bones and tortoise-shells, suggests that pictographic writing originated in the way gods communicated with kings during the theocracy period. The king had to demonstrate divine sanction for his rule by means of written characters.

The amalgamation of different ethnic and cultural groups into one nation makes it necessary to establish a common language, or at least a common form of communication. Chinese pictograms proved to be the ideal means for ensuring that the king's edicts were understood wherever they were read, while also supporting the idea that the king's words were the "voice of god." Moreover, as the use of pictograms to represent ideas strengthened the association between external and internal mental space, subjective consciousness may have grown while the bicameral mind may have weakened. ...