The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

By Julian Jaynes

I just couldn't resist a book about where the voice in your head comes from when today's post is about imagining other people's voices. I have no idea at how well regarded this book is currently as a credible explanation of where consciousness came from, but it makes a fantastic tool for imagining what if the world really were that way? What would it mean? The book argues that "consciousness" - an almost unending voice in your head that narrates your thoughts and what's going on and is perceived as "yourself" is actually a rather recent phenomenon. Jaynes says that the Old Testament documents a culture going through the transition, and that you see similar evidence in Mesopotamian history as well. There's nothing immediately practical here, but it's enjoyably mind-blowing. Plus, season one of Westworld will make a lot more sense, so there's also that.

Buy it here.

Jeff RussellScience, Psychology