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Listening for Ancient Voices: Julian Jaynes's Theory of the Bicameral Mind in Tibet, Part Two

Todd Gibson
In Marcel Kuijsten (ed.), Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind: The Theories of Julian Jaynes (Julian Jaynes Society, 2016).


It is likely that readers of this essay unfamiliar with Jaynes will have mentally rebelled against some of the conclusions drawn in Part One, if for no other reason than they are so far outside the usual approaches to Tibet's early history (though it seems to the present writer that the intellectual framework employed here is no more different from the several others currently in vogue than these are from each other). Nevertheless, without having read The Origin of Consciousness, it is understandable that one night consider this point of view (and Jaynes's theory itself) merely speculative: amusing and mildly plausible (or perhaps even completely fanciful), but not backed by any sort of hard evidence. Is there, for example, any direct evidence at all of neurologically-produced voices in post-Imperial Tibetan religious life?

As it happens, there is a lot.