The Best Books That Will Ignite Your Own Thoughts About The Development Of The Human Mind

Simon Clark Author Of Vampyrrhic
By Simon Clark

The Books I Picked & Why

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

By Joseph Campbell

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Why this book?

Remarkably similar myths recur throughout the world: the ordinary person who becomes a killer of giants, or the many legends of The Flood. Many scholars in the nineteenth century believed the first versions of these myths originated in a now lost ancient civilization, perhaps Lemuria or Atlantis. Campbell’s book examines elements that are common to many legends and concludes that societies independently develop similar stories that reflect our life journeys. We are unique, yet the pattern imprinted on our life is, so often, one we share with every other human being.


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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?

Jaynes controversially suggested that humans were suddenly gripped by a radical transformation of the psyche in the Mediterranean-area Bronze Age, four thousand years ago, when our ancestors spontaneously experienced a kind of software upgrade inside their heads, resulting in them acquiring a new mechanism that operated their minds. This collective mind-storm resulted, some claim, in the collapse of many Bronze Age civilizations. Before this dramatic revolution of the psyche, humans possessed (according to Jaynes) the “double brain of bicameralism” – this meant that ancient humans, in their bicameral phase, had a fundamentally different mental state to that of people today. Essentially, one half of the brain told the other half what to do. Back then, bicameral people heard their thoughts in the form of auditory hallucination. Is Jayne’s theory plausible? If he is right, what happens if humanity experiences another collective upgrade of the mind? What will be the consequences? Will we become kinder and wiser men and women? Or will our own civilization collapse?


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Problems of the Future and Essays

By Samuel Laing

Problems of the Future and Essays

Why this book?

Published 1893, Laing considers all kinds of searching questions relating to astronomy, geology, spiritualism, poetry, taxation, finance, and much more. Clearly a possessor of a powerful intelligence, Laing endeavors to make sense of the universe and human life with the limited information he had at his disposal, compared to what we know today. How does the sun burn, he asks? Is it made from coal? A notion he dismisses with rational precision. Later, he considers the arms race from his nineteenth century viewpoint and uncannily predicts a “Great War” that will engulf most of Europe, with “Constantinople” being the likely catalyst of “the blood-rain deluges of the greatest war the world has ever seen”.


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Oxford Companion to World Mythology

By David Leeming

Oxford Companion to World Mythology

Why this book?

Writers need to feed their minds. What better way than by reading myths from around the world, about flying serpents, the search for a golden fleece, talking turtles and much, much more. Myths and legends are rich depositories of human experience, fears and ambitions – many of the myths undoubtedly date back to the epoch when we first shaped sounds into words and began telling each other stories carved from fundamental truths. This book is a treasure house of myth from famous major ancient cities to isolated settlements where a few dozen men and women led their own lives. This book is a useful pitstop for writers of fiction to refuel their imaginations.


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The Soul of the Ape & My Friends the Baboons

By Eugene Marais

The Soul of the Ape & My Friends the Baboons

Why this book?

Early in the twentieth century, Marais studied a troop of baboons, studying their behavior, gaining insights into how this primate thinks, and, moreover, drawing conclusions about the development of the human psyche. Marais believed that the human unconscious mind, which he called “the subliminal soul” and which still “shapes our thoughts and actions”, is the ancient animal mentality, submerged beneath the evolution of the conscious mind. Therefore, he postulates, the hereditary mind that belonged to our pre-human ancestors is very much alive and well within us.


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