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Feb16-11, 05:39 AM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
You have read Jayne's curious success, the Bicameral Mind then.

Yes, along with Onian's Origins of European Thought, Snell's Discovery of the Mind, etc. -- relics of my academic years (which are by now also ancient history). But thank you for the reference to Danziger, I'll put it on my want-list.

I still like Jaynes' book, which has an interesting take on what we mean by "consciousness". He points out that we can do most everything we do without being conscious of it at all... like driving all the way through town to work, while thinking about something else, oblivious to what you're passing on the road, yet all the while maneuvering around potholes, etc. We only really need to be conscious when we're dealing with new and challenging situations, he suggests. And he goes on to ask how people might have dealt with such situations before there was the kind of developed “sense of self” that came with philosophy and the emergence of “self-reflective” internal dialogue.

This was a fine effort to imagine a really different kind of consciousness. The odd thing is that he’s dealing with the period of transition from oral to written culture, but missed the significance of that change. It's so difficult not to take for granted the basic tools we ourselves use in being conscious, like the ability to record spoken language.

Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
What really shocked me when I first started out was how poor my introspective abilities actually were. It took years of practice (and good theories about what to expect to find) to really feel I was catching the detail of what actually took place.

Yes, you’re right – and of course, all the deep layers of consciousness that we evolved when we were young have long been covered up by the more sophisticated and more verbal layers we’ve built on top of them. We have no memory at all of our earliest years, since the neural structures to support conscious recollection we still undeveloped.