The best books on the bicameral mind

The Books I Picked & Why

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

By Julian Jaynes

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Why this book?

To understand the bicameral mind, start with Princeton psychologist Julian Jaynes’s own explanation of his theory. Jaynes carefully walks readers through all of the historical, literary, archeological, psychological, and neuroscientific evidence for the bicameral mind the mentality that humans operated under prior to developing subjective consciousness. Understanding precisely how Jaynes defines consciousness — and why his narrow definition is so important — is absolutely critical to understanding his theory. You will also learn how vestiges of the bicameral mind have shaped our modern world. Bolstered by recent findings in neuroscience as well as other new evidence, Jaynes’s theory remains as relevant and thought-provoking as when it was first proposed.


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The Julian Jaynes Collection

By Julian Jaynes

The Julian Jaynes Collection

Why this book?

After reading Jaynes’ The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, readers often have many questions about the theory. In this volume, Julian Jaynes answers all of the most frequent questions about his origin of consciousness and a previous mentality called the bicameral mind. The Julian Jaynes Collection includes rare and never before seen articles, lectures, interviews, and in-depth discussions that both clear up misconceptions as well as extend Jaynes's theory into new areas such as the nature of the self, dreams, emotions, art, music, therapy, and the consequences and future of consciousness. The Julian Jaynes Collection is guaranteed to greatly increase your understanding of Julian Jaynes’s fascinating theory.


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The Minds of the Bible: Speculations on the Cultural Evolution of Human Consciousness

By Rabbi James Cohn

The Minds of the Bible: Speculations on the Cultural Evolution of Human Consciousness

Why this book?

In The Minds of the Bible Rabbi James Cohn takes a deeply thought-provoking look at the Old Testament through the lens of Julian Jaynes’s theory. Rabbi Cohn explains how, when properly dated, the evolution of mental language can be traced through the oldest to the most recent books in the Old Testament, providing a written record of the development of subjective consciousness. Rabbi Cohn also explains how culture and language can have a profound impact on how we think. A gifted writer, Rabbi Cohn’s book is engaging, informative, and easy to understand.


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The 'Other' Psychology of Julian Jaynes: Ancient Languages, Sacred Visions, and Forgotten Mentalities

By Brian J. McVeigh

The 'Other' Psychology of Julian Jaynes: Ancient Languages, Sacred Visions, and Forgotten Mentalities

Why this book?

In The ‘Other’ Psychology of Julian Jaynes, Brian J. McVeigh  one of the world’s foremost scholars of Julian Jaynes’s theory — both provide new empirical evidence for the theory, extends Jaynes’s theory into new areas, and explains how Jaynes's thinking actually resonates with a “second” or “other” psychological tradition that explores the cultural-historical evolution of psyche. This thought-provoking book will deepen your understanding of many aspects of Jaynes’s theory, including evidence for the transition from bicamerality to subjective consciousness in ancient history, the surprising ubiquity of hearing voices in modern times (a vestige of the bicameral mind), the transformative power of metaphorical language to shape our thoughts, and much more.


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Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited

By Marcel Kuijsten

Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited

Why this book?

The first new book that was published on Julian Jaynes’s theory in several decades, Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness reignited the worldwide debate about Jaynes’s controversial theory of the origin of consciousness and a previous mentality called the bicameral mind. This book includes an in-depth biography of Julian Jaynes, essays by Jaynes, and the discussion and analysis of Jaynes's theory from a variety of perspectives such as clinical psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, anthropology, linguistics, and ancient history. Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness is a must-read for Jaynes enthusiasts or anyone seeking an in-depth understanding of Jaynes’s theory.


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