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The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

BookLogging - JulianJaynes. An influence on NealStephenson, particularly evident in his The Big U and Snow Crash.


From the end of chapter 1, "The Consciousness of Consciousness". p46 in the recent Mariner Books trade paperback edition.

Is Consciousness Necessary?

Let us review where we are, for we have just found our way through an enormous amount of ramous material which may have seemed more perplexing than clarifying. We have been brought to the conclusion that consciousness is not what we generally think it is. It is not to be confused with reactivity. It is not involved in hosts of perceptual phenomena. It is not involved in the performance of skills and often hinders their execution. It need not be involved in speaking, writing, listening, or reading. It does not copy down experience, as most people think. Consciousness is not at all involved in signal learning, and need not be involved in the learning of skills or solutions, which can go on without any consciousness whatever. It is not necessary for making judgments or in simple thinking. It is not the seat of reason, and indeed some of the most difficult instances of creative reasoning go on without any attending consciousness. And it has no location except an imaginary one! The immediate question therefore is, does consciousness exist at all?


Indeed, language is an organ of perception, not simply a means of communication.

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last edited December 4, 2011