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The "other" psychology of Julian Jaynes : ancient languages, sacred visions, and forgotten mentalities

Author: Brian J McVeigh
Publisher: Exeter, U.K. : Imprint Academic, La Vergne, TN : Distributed in the USA by Ingram Book Company [2018] ©2018
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In his provocative but critically acclaimed theory about the origin of introspectable mentality, Julian Jaynes argued that until the late second millennium people possessed a different psychology: a "two-chambered" (bicameral) neurocultural arrangement in which a commanding "god" guided, admonished, and ordered about a listening "mortal" via voices, visions, and visitations. Out of the cauldron of civilizational  Read more...
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Named Person: Julian Jaynes; Julian Jaynes
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Brian J McVeigh
ISBN: 9781845409517 1845409515
OCLC Number: 1004264964
Description: vii, 264 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents: Machine generated contents note: ch. 1 Julian Jaynes and the Promise of the "Other" Psychology --
ch. 2 The Neurocultural Malleability of Psyche --
ch. 3 Bronze Age Super-Religiosity: Linguistic Evidence for Pre-conscious Mentalities --
ch. 4 Ancient China: Social Complexity, Cognitive Adaptation, and Linguistic Change --
ch. 5 The Metaphors of Mind-Words in Modern Mandarin --
ch. 6 Hallucinations as Superceptions: Hearing Voices as Adaptive Behavior --
Conclusion: Final Thoughts --
Psychohistorical Ruptures and Stratigraphic Psychology --
Appendices --
A. Types of Ceptions --
B. Types of Adaptive Mentalities --
C. Statistical Analyses for Chapter 3 --
D. Datasets for Chapter 3 --
E. Statistical Analyses for Chapters 4 and 5 --
F. Datasets for Chapters 4 and 5 --
G. Abnormal Hallucinations.
Responsibility: Brian J. McVeigh.

Abstract:

In his provocative but critically acclaimed theory about the origin of introspectable mentality, Julian Jaynes argued that until the late second millennium people possessed a different psychology: a "two-chambered" (bicameral) neurocultural arrangement in which a commanding "god" guided, admonished, and ordered about a listening "mortal" via voices, visions, and visitations. Out of the cauldron of civilizational collapse and chaos, an adaptive self-reflexive consciousness emerged better suited to the pressures of larger, more complex sociopolitical systems. Though often described as boldly iconoclastic and far ahead of its time, Jaynes's thinking actually resonates with a "second" or "other" psychological tradition that explores the cultural-historical evolution of psyche. Brian J. McVeigh, a student of Jaynes, points out the blind spots of mainstream, establishment psychology by providing empirical support for Jaynes's ideas on sociohistorical shifts in cognition. He argues that from around 3500 to 1000 BCE the archaeological and historical record reveals features of hallucinatory super-religiosity in every known civilization. As social pressures eroded the god-centered authority of bicamerality, an upgraded psychology of interiorized self-awareness arose during the Late Bronze Age Collapse. A key explanatory component of Jaynes's theorizing was how metaphors constructed a mental landscape populated with "I's" and "me's" that replaced a declining worldview dominated by gods, ancestors, and spirits. McVeigh statistically substantiates how linguo-conceptual changes reflected psychohistorical developments; because supernatural entities functioned in place of our inner selves, vocabularies for psychological terms were strikingly limited in ancient languages. McVeigh also demonstrates the surprising ubiquity of "hearing voices" in modern times, contending that hallucinations are bicameral vestiges and that mental imagery--a controllable, semi-hallucinatory experience--is the successor to the divine hallucinations that once held societies together. This thought-provoking work will appeal to anyone interested in the transformative power of metaphors, the development of mental lexicons, and the adaptive role of hallucinations.

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