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Consciousness, Hallucinations, and the Bicameral Mind: Three Decades of New Research

Marcel Kuijsten
In Marcel Kuijsten (ed.), Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited (Julian Jaynes Society, 2006).

Excerpt:

... Jaynes maintained that we are still deep in the midst of this transition from bicamerality to consciousness; we are continuing the process of expanding the role of our internal dialogue and introspection in the decision-making process that was started some 3,000 years ago. Vestiges of the bicameral mind — our longing for absolute guidance and external control — make us susceptible to charismatic leaders, cults, trends, and persuasive rhetoric that relies on slogans to bypass logic. The tendency within us to avoid conscious thought by seeking out authoritative sources to guide our actions has led to political movements such as Marxism-Leninism and Nazi Germany, cult massacres such as Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate, and fundamentalist religions worldwide. By focusing on our inner dialogue, reflecting on past events, and contemplating possible future outcomes, we expand the role of consciousness in decision-making, enhance our ability to engage in critical thinking, and move further away from the commanding guidance of authoritative voices and non-thinking, stimulus-response behavior. ...