The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Aug 15, 2000 - Psychology - 508 pages
National Book Award Finalist: “This man’s ideas may be the most influential, not to say controversial, of the second half of the twentieth century.”—Columbus Dispatch
 
At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion—and indeed our future.
 
“Don’t be put off by the academic title of Julian Jaynes’s The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Its prose is always lucid and often lyrical…he unfolds his case with the utmost intellectual rigor.”—The New York Times
 
“When Julian Jaynes . . . speculates that until late in the twentieth millennium BC men had no consciousness but were automatically obeying the voices of the gods, we are astounded but compelled to follow this remarkable thesis.”—John Updike, The New Yorker
 
“He is as startling as Freud was in The Interpretation of Dreams, and Jaynes is equally as adept at forcing a new view of known human behavior.”—American Journal of Psychiatry

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Paul_S - LibraryThing

I have not read something that has changed my mind and the view of the world as much as this in years. I understand this hypothesis is probably impossible to prove one way or another but it has ... Read full review

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User Review  - dougb56586 - LibraryThing

According to the author, language is a prerequisite of consciousness, and civilization is possible without consciousness. In fact, the author says that earlier than about 3000 years ago, the ancient ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Julian Jaynes (1923-1997) achieved an almost cult-like reputation for this controversial book, which was his only published work.

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