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To The Batcave. A Brief Jaynesian Critique of Plato’s Allegory.

“No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
And no one knows what it’s like
To be hated
To be faded to telling only lies

But my dreams they aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be…”

— Pete Townshend, Behind Blue Eyes




Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and his Theory of Forms overlap, and are among the first extant musings on the idea that there is a distinction between the thing itself, and the representation or illusionary representation of the thing.

In the Allegory of the Cave, we have Plato, in Books VII-VIII of the Republic, again arguing for an enlightened ruling class of philosophers.

Contextualized by his familial connection to Critias, one of the Thirty Tyrants, the Plato who calls for the banishing, or exiling, of poets, and the housing of soldiers in communal homes devoid of what we would now call, property rights, is revealed as a man working out the beta test for what would later become standard issue fascism on both the left and the right, as well as the inherent corruption of oligarchy.

The allegory has over the centuries been used primarily as a political football.

It is also used as a political football within the limited fields of university philosophy departments.

But primarily, from Hannah Arendt, to her sometime friend, Martin Heidegger, to dozens, if not hundreds of other thinkers, the Allegory has been contextualized by 20th century wars – fascism vs communism, and communism vs capitalism, with corollaries in liberalism and conservatism.

While these areas have both political chicanery and legitimate ideological concerns, what has gone missing is any consideration of the psychology (and thus biology) of why Plato conceived of the structure of the allegory.

The premise is of what we would now call a thought experiment.

In this experiment we are asked to imagine a cave, with an opening that draws in large amounts of light. There is a bright fire, and people, chained to a blank cave wall.

On the wall shadows, cast by the fire move, change shape and are interpreted by the people trapped in the cave.

All of their understanding of reality, of what is true, is based on an illusion.

One of them manages to gain freedom only to discover the sun; the blinding light that is the source of life.

Eventually adjusting to this new reality they come to understand the distinction between the appearance or illusion or shadow of reality and reality (the truth) of things.

They return to the cave to explain this to those still chained but, because they are chained and can only see the shadows on the cave wall, they dismiss the enlightened individual and ultimately, after ridicule, they kill him.

Needless to say this is in addition to other things, a hint of the fisher king myth, the passion of Christian dogma, as well as being a template for Dostoyevsky’s Karamazov, where we are told, by the Grand Inquisitor, should Christ actually return, he’d be killed all over again to maintain the status quo. The basic idea also makes an appearance in one of Kafka’s notebooks where he describes people running around delivering messages without meaning because they would rather be slaves or messengers for kings and queens than be free.

In other words, it’s a story with legs.

But stepping away from the shadows on the cave wall, we might ask, why that metaphor and why then?

As we’ve discussed in previous posts (see notes below) we take as our starting point the idea that Julian Jaynes was essentially correct.

Human consciousness shifted from a bicameral state to a post bicameral state and extant documents, like the Iliad and the Odyssey and portions of the Old Testament, strongly suggest a centuries’ long transition.

Per Jaynes, we take as read the idea that bicameral consciousness was strange; more automaton than self-aware.

When bicameral humans thought, it was, for them, an external voice of command, rather than the self, aware of itself.

From Gilgamesh suddenly, and with no apparent reason, “choosing” to kill, to Ulysses, acting like one of the flat, one dimensional figures on an ancient vase, to Abraham hearing god’s command, the world as Jaynes describes it, was one behind vacant eyes.

Building on this, we have speculated that the trigger (or at least one of the primary triggers) was the consumption of some form of ergot.

We know from archeological records that barley and wheat cults were extensive.

We know that ergot, qua ergot, was not discovered until the early 19th century.

We know that increasingly large temple-cities, with barley cults, flourished and did so not in spite of increases in disease, and pests and overcrowding but because of those things – with each as a vector within the grid of bicameralism, barley-wheat-ergot, and the emergence of language, consciousness, and ritual.

We have touched on the idea that “Socrates” (perhaps an invention of Plato, perhaps not) was put on trial in part for “worshiping the wrong gods.”

This blasphemy we posit, represented a crisis in the long period of transition.

City states, and temple-cities, came and went, subject to weather, earthquakes, disease, and wars.

The transition from bicameral vacant eyed automaton, to self-aware thinker, was more three steps forward, two steps back than a straight trajectory.

As food came and went, so too did evolutionary progress.

“Socrates” we are told, would suddenly be in thrall to voices – his daemon – which he had to obey.

The Trial of “Socrates” is then in a sense an allegory that fulfils the design or template of the Allegory of the Cave.

He has freed himself, returned with the previously good word, and as a result, is executed.

Consider than that the emergence of the metaphor of shadows, of a split between the thing itself and the representation of the thing in its pure form, is a reflection of a slowly emerging self-awareness – not just of nascent political issues but of the mind that contemplates itself.

Plato’s anxiety was indeed focused on politics. But it was, we speculate, also focused on something it could not comprehend – the connection between food and evolution.

The relative stability of Athens, its relative wealth, bureaucracy, and the consumption of food in consistent, evolutionary significance, was not visible on the wall of the cave.

What was visible was a gnawing sense of change.

Consider this from Book VII of the Republic (emphasis added):

“But what you have begotten for yourselves and for the rest of the city-like leaders and kings in hives; you have been more and perfectly educated and are able to participate in both lives. So you must go down, each in his turn, into the common dwelling of the others, and get habituated to it, and in getting habituated to it, you will see then thousand times better than the men there, and you’ll know what each of the phantoms is, and of what is a phantom…And thus the city will be governed by us. And by you in a state of waking, not in a dream, as many cities nowadays are governed by men who fight over shadows…”

Plato, regardless of his tyrannical impulses, was becoming aware that there were voices, shadows, that held sway and exercised their power over others who, per Jaynes, still acted with vacant eyes.

Plato, as totem for the transition perceived an emerging distinction between those who were aware that the shadows were inside the mind, and those who still, (from a biological necessity he did not comprehend), believed the shadows, were external voices of command.

Plato however does not banish bicameral mind. He reimagines it as possessing self-awareness. Thus the cave, is a metaphor, representing a dimly perceived, bicameral consciousness.

In, the Theory of Forms, he posits the ability to conceive of an ideal form – for example, “table” and the multitude of tables.

“Table” is an ideal form that exists outside of time. It is pure.

All tables, tall, short, square or round, are imperfect representations of the ideal.

The enlightened philosopher, having left the cave, understands this.

Excavations of this concept have for centuries focused on the meaning rather than the form (sic!).

The issue here is not whether or not Plato is correct but is focused on why he went to such elaborate lengths to codify the distinction.

We posit that he was experiencing bicameral transition anxiety.

The ideal form was the increasingly distant external voice of command.

The representation of the ideal was the increasingly mundane reality of objects; of blunt utilitarian facts.

The obsession to codify the distinction may have been produced by the slow emergence of a post “Socratic” consciousness that did not hear voices.

It may have heard echoes and it may from time to time, due to lapses in food (again, ergot-heavy barley and wheat or other triggers) had episodes of bicameral or “Socratic” consciousness.

But as the trial suggest, this subversion of the increasingly dominant bureaucracy of ritual (in which “god” transitions from a sudden voice of command in a burning bush, or a whirlwind, or in Sirens, becomes instead a voice that is mediated, ritualized, and experienced at regular times and in appointed places) could no longer be tolerated.

It is possible then to excavate his cave, and the structure of the allegory, separately from a purely political consideration.

The allegory then is not only about freedom with a codified politics, (right, left, center, etc) but it is an allegory as meta-narrative; it is a shadow of a shadow reflecting something dimly understood.

Plato shimmers on the wall of a cave.

Moving through the flickering light, Julian Jaynes, paints figures for us, and we might, just maybe, see them and understand.





This is as the title states, a brief look at a vast subject.

For a deeper and wider excavation see the articles below:

And for an interesting look at methodology within this field, see:


35 comments on “To The Batcave. A Brief Jaynesian Critique of Plato’s Allegory.

  1. We’ve discussed much of this before. But I’m still fascinated by the ergot angle. It is so strange that for most of agriculture wheat was too difficult to farm, too undependable as a source of food, and too expensive for most people until the 19th century. Wheat farming had been around for millennia upon millennia and yet was a minor food source for most of that time, compared to other grains. So, why was wheat such an important crop in many societies, particularly in the ancient world? One answer is that it was all about the ergot.

    We now live in a society with a food system that is centered on wheat as a food source. It’s hard for us to realize this was not always the case. The shift from wheat as a carrier of ergot to wheat as the primary grain for bread-making may have been one of the most transformative shifts, especially when considering the other aspects of wheat that appear to be related to addiction, autism, etc. This affect does not seem to occur with the other grains, although I’m not sure about barley. There is something about wheat that has long been understood as important.

    I’d like to know more about what was happening with agriculture during the period of Classical Greece. In general during the Axial Age, that was the main transition from largely wild grain fields to a more orderly and controlled agriculture. But I don’t when that kind of change happened for the Greek city-states and how even was that change. I’m sure wealthier people, such as Plato, could afford to eat more grains. Then again, it might not have been a matter of wealth, if the grain supply was simply limited. What were they growing and how was it being used? I wonder if there are any good books that analyze the historical records and archaeological evidence.

    As with Plato, we are still plagued with a gnawing sense of change. We point in all kinds of directions. Yet we can’t quite pinpoint the source of irritation. There is something missing, something not seen correctly or clearly or at all. This underlies the anxiety and paranoia, fear and conflict. Philip K. Dick was always good for capturing this mindset — from Time Out of Joint:

    “The soft-drink stand fell into bits. Molecules. He saw the molecules, colorless, without qualities, that made it up. Then he saw through, into the space beyond it, he saw the hill behind, the trees and sky. He saw the soft-drink stand go out of existence, along with the counter man, the cash register, the big dispenser of orange drink, the taps for Coke and root beer, the ice-chests of bottles, the hot dog broiler, the jars of mustard the shelves of cones, the row of heavy round metal lids under which were different ice creams. In its place was a slip of paper. He reached out of his hand and took hold of the slip of paper. On it was printing, block letters. SOFT-DRINK STAND”

    That amuses me. Everything is potentially somehow wrong or false or deceiving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rauldukeblog says:

      I know a limited amount about the wheat question.

      That there was an apollonian cult in ancient rome that included deliberately allowing “rust” to form on the wheat to help with “visions.”

      The second thing is that Egypt was a major source of wheat and of strategic importance to the Romans.

      As you suggest it seems likely one answer to the issue of wheat was ergot.

      In my expanded Faulkner’s Sparrow’s post there’s a note about a recent book covering the excavations of ruins in turkey and a lot of postulating by the author on why the community would bother with the effort when it was not cost effective relative to consumption and issues of rodents, and disease.

      Again the answer seems obvious – “addiction” which of course is sarcastic on my part but still a factor and also a signifier meaning status, hierarchies, rituals and of course in a Jaynesian sense voices of command the probably included command to perform more rituals.

      I don’t remember where exactly but there’s a scene in the Iliad where they ritually sacrifice an ox and the wording reads like the notes to Jaynes;-)

      In fact I’m working on an expansion of the Sparrow’s post having found a fairly substantial number of bicameral symbols.

      But to your point – surely there are good books or at least dissertations scholarship on harvests and food consumption in antiquity.

      Yet more research;-)

      I think the thing with Plato is what I’m currently call bicameral transition anxiety (quick, call Pfizer!;-)) but that could be wrong or only a glimpse.

      Of course one of the issues is how much material has been lost.

      You start digging and you hit footnote after footnote about other writers from that era who survive in reference only or perhaps there’s a fragment.

      The result is “Plato” becomes a focal point.

      But I agree there’s something odd at work – the obsessions are fascinating.

      PKD is always perfect for upending the SOFT DRINK STAND of the mind;-)

      So much of what we assume is the settled or official narrative flies into an entirely different form if we change one small strand or aspect of the frame.

      As with the cave the discussions all center on politics and philosophy with nothing about the why – why did he think it and why then?

      Plato says: Drink Coke!;-)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One can see where authoritarianism comes in. If truth and reality are no longer obvious and easily accessible, if only an intellectual elite can discern and determine the ultimate, then it naturally follows that authoritarianism is the only answer.

        After the loss of archaic authorization of the bicameral mind, some new authority was needed but the voices of authorization were no longer as easily heard. A disconnection had fallen between people and the voices of authorization. Those who could maintain control to the access of voice-hearing rituals, substances, etc could control society.

        Order no longer comes organically as part of a communal experience but must be enforced from above. And in response, there are those who rebel, defy, or simply don’t conform or fit in. The dynamic of authoritarianism and anti-authoritarianism emerges. This is what I refer to as the reactionary paradigm that, when pushed to the extreme, becomes the creative destruction of capitalism.

        Psychological disconnects were also being expressed as social disconnects. Society was becoming stratified according to class and caste. But at the same time, an instability was built into it, everything reacting to everything else, impelling society forward.

        By the way, I like your thought on “bicameral transition anxiety”. I sometimes wonder if the entirety of the past few millennia has been one big transition. Toward what is anyone’s guess. Maybe since the ending of animism for most of humanity, with the last traces erased with bicameralism, all historical periods are simply transitions from one anxiety-inducing instability to the next.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. rauldukeblog says:

        I think you’ve really hit on something with the split that occurs and leads to tyrannical regimes. Plato certainly fits that. In Book VII where he first discusses the cave he goes on at length about what we would today call a tyranny fusing what now would be seen as left and right wing oppression.

        If the long fading of bicameralism is as it seems the corresponding rise of control from above by “elites” takes on a new facet.

        As to “BTA” I have had for a while the sense that it’s still going on.

        I’ve seen some behaviour that seemed so “unconscious” that in retrospect Jaynes seems the obvious descriptor.

        ” Maybe since the ending of animism for most of humanity, with the last traces erased with bicameralism, all historical periods are simply transitions from one anxiety-inducing instability to the next.”

        funny you should say that – I just finished a draft on a post about the current mini obsession with Jia tolentino. i read her essays and they were not just badly written but what hit me was the inability to grasp the consistency of anxiety.

        Here’s a rough draft of the anxiety issue:

        Anxiety is relative to the inverse of data.
        Anxiety is both relative to the inverse of data and generally constant regardless of the amount of data available.
        The less you know the more anxiety you have about that which is close and familiar and the more you know the greater the anxiety about that which is distant and unfamiliar.

        It may be that the long schism between consciousness and the world/voices has left people in a state of anxiety.

        Some people though may still be more bicameral than others.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Let me add that I appreciate your linking my post. I put a fair amount of work into it. It was basically a work in process that began last year. Reading McVeigh’s discussions with Jaynes brought it back to mind. It was fascinating to actually see Jaynes call himself a Whorfian. So it seems strange, to my mind, that even McVeigh in his own writings had never mentioned this intriguing detail.

    Still, I felt kind of bad about writing it. I felt like all I was doing was complaining. And I realize that my sense of respect for Jaynesian scholars might be less than obvious to someone casually reading it. I didn’t intend it as an attack on those scholars I have learned so much from, as I’m sure you understand. But I felt a need to communicate something, if all I accomplished for the moment was making an observation.

    It’s true that, instead of complaining about the omission of linguistic relativity, I could make a positive contribution by simply writing about how linguistic relativity applies to Jaynesian scholarship. If others haven’t shown the connections, the evidence and the examples, well then maybe I should. And I probably will, eventually. It might take a while before I get around to that project, though. When I do, it might be a partial continuation of or tangent from my ongoing theorizing about symbolic conflation. There is tough nut I’ve been trying to crack for years.

    The omission itself somehow seemed significant in my mind. I’m not sure why. That post was basically a way of setting forth a problem to be solved. The significance is that linguistic relativity would offer the real world examples of how Jaynesian views of consciousness, authorization, narratization, etc might apply to our everyday experience. It would help explain why such complex analysis, intellectually brilliant as it is, is relevant at all to the actual world we live in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rauldukeblog says:

      No mworries here. For what it’s worth i wouldn’t stress about it as there’s nothing wrong per se with poking a system in need of a good jab. It happens all the time. Groups become sclerotic or porcine and someone has to say hey, you need to do x y and z.

      And it’s a vast problem with the Jaynesians just another example.

      Still, if it helps, add an editorial note to the post?


      1. I wasn’t exactly worried. I just realize that I sometimes come across as a complaining curmudgeon or simply someone with a bad attitude. And to an extent, that might be a fair assessment with decades of depression under my belt. But I’d like to think there is a point to my occasional (hopefully constructive) criticisms.

        My jabs at the Jaynesian world come from a place of love. Jaynes is one of the main inspirations to my thought. And I enjoy reading Jaynesian scholarship more than about any other field. I just want to see it expand, to become even more impressive. Besides, I’ve never been one for respectability, whether in politics or intellectual pursuits.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. rauldukeblog says:

        Well not to me. The world is generally full of zombies or self-righteous prigs. There’s plenty to complain about and sacred cows usually need a poke;-)

        The Jaynesian world is no different.

        I knew a guy years ago who had started a blog about the Beats generally and collecting William Burroughs books/ephemera and arcana specifically.

        After several years it became very popular. It got mentioned in passing on NPR or some other media platform and in 24 hours they had 300,000 hits and their server crashed.

        Soon after they received an offer to have their work archived at columbia Univ and to receive a large grant.

        They refused.

        I asked why and the guy I knew said: because then if we say something critical about someone who is donating 10 million to have the school build a new wing and name it after him, we’ll be told to shut up “for the sake of diversity and congenial debate yada yada.”

        It’s like the old joke about complaining about service and being told to go to the “complaint department” where the person you want to complain about changes hats and says: what’s the problem?

        One of the issues in this system is the constant assault on the individual who says, I don’t agree.

        We point morally superior fingers at the Chinese (who are hardly morally clean) but what’s the difference?

        In China they say: the nail that sticks out must be hammered into place.

        We claim to be all about the individual (from tom Cruise’s “Maverick” to Rambo, etc) but it’s all about conformity.

        You wont hear someone at a jungian conference explaining how cool m??Freud was;-)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Let me drop a thought here. It’s a spark from our dialogue above and over in my post.

    It’s about respectability — respectability politics, respectability scholarship, respectability class identity, etc. I see this as being core to Jaynesian consciousness, since respectability is ultimately about authority and authorization. This is the trap of the demiurgic ego-mind in its demand to rule, to be respected.

    But the other side of it is the reactionary mind. The respectability mind is paralyzed by how the reactionary mind co-opts (Borg-like) its rhetoric, its agenda and then outmaneuvers it. That isn’t a problem for Jaynesian consciousness, though. The paralysis, as with symbolic conflation, is how it maintains itself.

    That is why the Clinton Democrats are more focused on staying in power, even by giving the election away to Trump. The reactionary mind and the respectability mind both get what they want, what they need to further their own continuation. It’s about control, the central issue for both the reactionary and the respectable, a concern that creates alliance and cooperation even as they play the game of being opponents.

    This has everything with the tricksy quality of the mind, things not being as they appear, as they are portrayed. The narrative that dominates always deceives. That is its purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s no accident that Trump was elected under these conditions. He is the opposite of respectable and so he led the charge of the backlash against respectability politics. The political elite response is to double down on respectability rhetoric, not that their actions are all that respectable in the scheme of things nor is the social order itself all that respectable, as shown by declining public trust.

      The narrative of respectability is breaking down. That creates a precarious situation. Trying to reinforce respectability, however, is a lost cause and will probably have the opposite of the intended effect. Yet Trump is part of the same respectability dynamic. He demands others to respect him. And he promised his followers that he would bring respect back to them. So, it’s simply the shadow side of respectability politics, part of the circling of the drain.

      The problem is respectability is its a weak force of authorization. It doesn’t have the power of archaic authorization. If we continue on this path, respectability politics and other demands for respect will give way to outright authoritarianism, the ultimate of respectability — give authority respect or suffer the consequences.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rauldukeblog says:

        Your comment prompted me to think of M. Obama’s they go low we go high rhetorical gambit.

        It succeeded in the hidden sense that there was no serious examination of it.

        It was a perfect respectability assertion and devoid of any discussion even by people who might disagree – no discussion of the idea that the system in its entirety is crooked.

        “Trump” is as you say but addtionally what I observe is that there is no large scale or serious assertion by his critics that because he is insane they must stop discussing his statements as if they have any political merit or any ideological consciousness.

        Of course since they lack the self awareness required we get either Trump is nuts and his policies are x, y and z, or we get an engement with his rhetoric as if he’s a legitimate political and ideological figure.

        I recall a year or so ago the Barbie “Journalists” on MSNBC refusing and even castigating any attempot to denigrate Trump voters – obviously because those people are eyeballs and clicks but also out of the symbiosis between the seeming antagonistic cadres who cannot free themselves from the circular firing squad.

        Here’s Franz K. 1917:

        “They were given the choice of becoming kings or the kings’ messengers. As is the way with children, they all wanted to be messengers. That is why there are only messengers, racing through the world and, since there are no kings, calling out to each other the messages that have now become meaningless. They would gladly put an end to their miserable life, but they do not dare to do so because of their oath of loyalty.”

        Notice that the anti-Trump cadres refuse to attack Pelosi. There is zero discussion of “were capitalists get used to it” in and of itself and no discussion even among the so called left of how that is part of the Trump plague vector.

        Of course there’s no discussion of the liberals and conservatives employing Mussolini and Franco and the Nazis.

        Saying were capitalists get used to it points “liberalism” at the underclass, and they in part turn to fascism exactly as they did before.

        Pelosi’s comment is authoritarian because it says indirectly freedom has a fixed course – debate is dead, alternatives do not exist you must accept being a drone.

        Instead we get “Pelosi” as a feminist icon who wields the phalic gavel to dethrone the “patriarchy” and its odious tribal chief.

        “Trump” of course is that but “Pelosi” is his hand maid as is the system she represents.

        Everyone is complicit – the liberals, the “Progressives” and so on.

        As you say “respectability politics” is a dead end.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. rauldukeblog says:

      Logical. Here’s a fascinating bit from another one of those pesky French intellectuals:

      “Paradoxically, the games of culture are protected against objectification by all the partial objectifications which the actors involved in the game perform on each other: scholarly critics cannot grasp the objective reality of society aesthetes without abandoning their grasp of the true nature of their own activity; and the same is true of their opponents. The same law of mutual lucidity and reflexive blindness governs the antagonism between ‘intellectuals’ and ‘bourgeois’ (or their spokesmen in the field of production). And even when bearing in mind the function which legitimate culture performs in class relations, one is still liable to be led into accepting one or the other of the self-interested representations of culture which ‘intellectuals’ and ‘bourgeois’ endlessly fling at each other.”

      — Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction, A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste

      We can dwell on the specifics but in keeping with your point I think we return to the question: is consciousness a maladaption?

      No matter how I approach this subject I end up at that point and the answer is yes – hence all of the issues – trickery, confusion, impusles thata re counterproductive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For some reason, I had never thought about ‘respectability’ in a broad sense, as some kind of deeper impulse that cuts across society. Furthermore, I hadn’t thought about how respectability is all about Jaynesian authorization and hence how it relates to Jaynesian consciousness, although I’m still thinking through the implications of that thought.

        Authorization of respectability from political left (Hillary Clinton) or right (Donald Trump), from religion (Lou Dobbs) or academia (Julian Jaynes). What does this represent in general and in specific cases? What is the framing of metaphor, metonymy, and narrative? What is being authorized, how, and to what end?

        Assertion of respectability is the demand that others recognize and acknowledge, agree to and accept the legitimacy of your preferred voice of authorization. This is the struggle within the consciousness paradigm. There is no automatic, stable source of authorization but a constant battle of wills, of voices competing for the public mind.

        Archaic authorization didn’t need any respectability. That is because, within the bicameral mind a functioning bicameral society, there was no questioning of authorization. It was a given, a shared reality.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. rauldukeblog says:

        First what popped into my head is a line from The Catcher in the Rye:

        Games my ass (says Holden) sure it’s agame if you’re on the side with all the winners.

        With the collapse of bicameral consciousness we have the rise of systems that fulfil the same purpose but deny that they are external voices of command.

        Instead we have the illusion of freedom and the myth that truth and talent rise to the top.

        Of course what we really have is a spectrum of coercion.

        There’s the blunt form of some gang beating you to death (assorted three letter agencies, governments, gangs, mafia, etc and who do it for different overlapping reasons like religion but “religion” is also “business” and visa versa).

        The media promotes respect by allowing the correct types on the air or in their pages.

        “Published in the NY Times” or a “regular guest on MSNBC” – and while the “alternative media” (as we’ve discussed) barks at the establishment, they follow the same script.

        Case in point: Someone i knew in grad school has a novel being published next month by a “respectable” small press.

        Lots of positive advance buzz.

        Multiple writers (though few of large stature) have pointed out that one of the key factors for “success” (“respect) in publishing is to attend an MFA program (factory) ape the style of a “mentor” (but to not surpass them stylistically) and they in turn will agree to recommend you (confer “respect”) and as a favor their agent/editor/publisher will publish your book and see to it that the same network of “respect” speaks favorably about you.

        Well sure enough, said writer attended a writing program, aped the style of a teacher at the program, and now gains “respect” which of course is like everything else – a con job based on a set of corrupt connections.

        This is systemic.

        If i had to guess I’d say the only place left in this country where actual talent is on display is in sports – despite its systemic corruption.

        As they say in sports – the ball doesn’t lie.

        But everything else stinks.

        Humanity has been lost more or less since Plato thought of the cave and/or since “God vanished from the bible.”

        In The Time of the Assassins Henry Miller said of the modern era – nothing but crisis, hallucinations and breakdowns.

        And demands for respect.

        And then respect becomes the key to survival.

        In fact (this just occurred to me) consider the rise in the last 20+ years of phrases centered on the concept of respect”
        Don’t dis me, or show respect, or don’t disrespect x, y or z.

        In direct inverse proportion to the loss of respect and the rise of the oligahrcs and the mass state apparatus with its war monger in chief and the sucks to your assmar I have the conch shell tribalism.


      3. You beat me to the punch on individuality. I was just thinking about that. The narrative of Jaynesian consciousness is that of individuality. And so we look to the individual to find consciousness and explain it. Even those familiar with Jaynesian theory can fall into this trap.

        We like to think that we are free, autonomous agents. It flatters our ego to believe this. The voices of authorization offer respectability not only in society but within our identity. We pretend that we are choosing the voices that define us when, in reality, it is the voices that possess us.

        If we want to understand consciousness, we might be better off looking out into the world and not into our own head or even the heads of others. That isn’t to knock neuroscience and such, but it is funny that a study found that scientific studies with an image of a brain scan were taken as being more authoritative and convincing.

        I was listening to a video with Joe Rogan talking about Trump. The general he assassinated, it was rumored, had been trolling Trump on Twitter. He had been dissing him. And Trump showed him what respect looks like. Then Trump’s followers could vicariously in that respect asserted through state violence. I don’t know if that is what actually happened, but it seems entirely plausible.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. rauldukeblog says:

        I define fate as other people.

        The “I” exists and yet it only exists because of others.

        Some people are better/differently adjusted to this.

        Trump of course is not well adjusted in any sense as the past few years and now the current scene proves.

        I mentioned in a recent post that a seldom understood aspect of power is not taking action.

        There’s a scene about that in Dances with Wolves where one of the tribe says the chief is too important to go talk to one dude with a smart horse and the chief says: You’re right. That’s why I’ms ending you.

        For a bottomless pit of selfishness like Trump everything is the same so some Iranian psycho “disrespects him on Twitter” and he treats it as if Pearl Harbor has just been bombed.

        Of course this is typical of a lot of people – the guy who feels threatened by the slightest provocation and resorts to disproportionate violence.

        I was waiting for a friend once, downtown Chicago and was watching the crowd and this guy snapped at me saying stop looking at me!

        Not quite a Jaynesian automaton but that may be a distinction w/o a difference;-/

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Collective identities are interesting. I still would love to see someone study this in the Jaynesian community and Jaynesian scholarship. How has the language that Jaynes used and the biographical sketches written about him shaped the identity, practice, and voice of authorization among Jaynesians? Do Jaynesian scholars tend to copy his style of writing, thought, structure of arguments, types of evidence, etc? Is there a shared Jaynesian identity developing?

        This would apply to me as well, as I’ve read all the Jaynesian texts and have been part of the community for some time. How has it influenced me? I remember listening to WSB so often that I internalized his voice to such an extent that I could hear him as part of my thoughts. Even earlier, I read A Course in Miracles in high school and I recall how it felt like it somehow rearranged my brain, odd as that might seem. I had a similar experience in first using the internet when I was spending a lot of time on a Myers-Briggs forum, a community that has a very specific way of speaking and thinking.

        I’m not exactly sure what any of this means. But I’m thinking how easy we are influenced, typically without any awareness. In particular, any expression of language has immense power. We are used to thinking of this in terms of political rhetoric or the framing of news media or the theology behind a sermon. It happens in other ways, of course. It’s just we don’t think about this as much in other areas of our lives. Reading a book, scholarly or otherwise, feels so personal and, except when in school, usually a personal choice. Yet that is all the more reason these voices can slip past our defenses.

        Just some thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. rauldukeblog says:

        One of the most difficult things to do is to be authentic (and that’s a problematic word) and separate or be aware of how we’re being influenced if not controlled.

        The question of self examination or meta awareness among scholars is of course back to the gang of irritatingly smart Postmodists because of course they were saying let’s look at our own systems; how do we communicate about our own beliefs, etc.

        At its worst you end up with Pol Pot style self confessions but at its best ideally one could develope a system that gets better – improves methodology.

        I’ve thought for some time that the school system at the college level needs to be changed so that we get rid of the BA and make university degrees MA over 5-6 years.

        Have students take cross discipline classes, etc.

        But doing that without changing the rest of the system would be counterproductive.

        as it stand snow groups just splinter – Structuralists don’t talk to post mods and post mods don’t talk to whomever and so on. jungians hate Freudians and etc.

        One of the things i try to do is sit in a room in a place that’s not “normal” – that is for example I’ll lie down on the kitchen floor (usually when no one is around;-)) just to rattle my own set patterns of observation.

        We of cours elive in a very tightly regimented world so such actions are difficult to find time for and of course if practiced among the unsuspecting or in the “wrong” place can cause alarm which of course just goes to show how controlled people are.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. “I define fate as other people. The “I” exists and yet it only exists because of others.”

        That is a good way of putting it. The way I was thinking of it was that individuality is a collective phenomena. Individuality, oddly, is a social role that we are taught and that is enforced by society. The “I” requires the social input of an entire society ordered according to Jaynesian consciousness.

        Try to not act like an individual and see how far you get before someone locks you up or worse. Or isolate someone in a room or a desert island for long enough and their sense of individuality would probably disappear and be replaced with bicameral voices, like in the movies Swiss Army Man and Cast Away.

        “I mentioned in a recent post that a seldom understood aspect of power is not taking action.”

        I made that point in my post about the upper middle class white guy who berated me at work. He berated me because he thought he had the privilege to do so, but also he felt the need to do so because he had to prove his limited authority.

        Someone much wealthier than him would have been so confident in their social position they wouldn’t have bothered to acknowledge me. Trump is an example of new wealth that still needs to be demonstrated and proven.


      8. “One of the most difficult things to do is to be authentic (and that’s a problematic word) and separate or be aware of how we’re being influenced if not controlled.”

        Our language is inadequate. As I see it, we are always controlled by voices, in the way that RAW argued we are always in reality tunnels. At best, maybe we can choose or influence which voices we are controlled by. Whatever voices we are around the most are those that become internalized and so gain authorization over us. So, choose wisely your environment.

        A similar phenomenon occurs with parenting. Much of the research shows that, in our modern society, parents have little direct influence over their children. Instead, peers and other things have a greater impact. But the power a parent has is choosing where the family lives and hence choosing the child’s environment, peers, and other influences.

        “The question of self examination or meta awareness among scholars is of course back to the gang of irritatingly smart Postmodists because of course they were saying let’s look at our own systems; how do we communicate about our own beliefs, etc.”

        That is the type of thing that Jaynesian scholars have yet to confront. They’ve avoided that entire debate, as have most others in related fields. Unless you study philosophy or modern literature, debates about postmodernism and such simply don’t come up, even though they are debates central to all scholarship, inside and outside of academia.

        “At its worst you end up with Pol Pot style self confessions but at its best ideally one could develope a system that gets better – improves methodology.”

        That is why I think it’s so important to bring this kind of thing into Jaynesian scholarship. The understanding of consciousness, authorization, and all that are potentially powerful tools for increased awareness, both self-awareness and social awareness.

        “I’ve thought for some time that the school system at the college level needs to be changed so that we get rid of the BA and make university degrees MA over 5-6 years. Have students take cross discipline classes, etc.”

        People argue that not everyone needs to go to college. The argument is that employment these days might be better served by technical schools or apprenticeships.

        That is fine. But that isn’t the point of higher education which originally was designed for a broad liberal arts education that would create independent thinkers, responsible citizens, and brilliant leaders. That purpose of a liberal arts education is needed now more than ever. Fuck whether college increases one chances of getting a job. This is about how we survive as a society, which won’t be possible with an ignorant citizenry.

        A basic college education should be considered an extension of a requisite public education. That is even more important as jobs become automated. Our present solution is the creation of bullshit jobs to keep the masses so preoccupied and exhausted that they don’t revolt. But that is a waste of wealth, resources, and human potential.

        Besides, that path will eventually doom our society because it is no real solution. If we are going to survive the coming crises, we are going to need the full intelligence and talent of the entire population at work in solving problems and in seeking advances and innovation.

        “But doing that without changing the rest of the system would be counterproductive.”

        It would require a total overhaul of society. It would mean redefining the meaning and purpose of individuality, of work, and much else.

        “One of the things i try to do is sit in a room in a place that’s not “normal” – that is for example I’ll lie down on the kitchen floor (usually when no one is around;-)) just to rattle my own set patterns of observation.”

        That is a good thing to do. I spend much of my life walking from one place to another, and this tends to put me in a pensive mood. I like to observe the world around me, but also to contemplate my place within it and how it affects me.

        Living in a modern urban environment is such an odd thing. Everything is so orderly and it elicits orderly behavior. There are sidewalks, crosswalks, multi-use trails, bike lanes, roads, berms, signs, stoplights, and on and on. They tell us how to behave. City planning is a form of authorization of behavior, telling us what to do.

        And rarely is it required for an authority like a police officer to enforce it. No one has to tell you to walk straight down the sidewalk because the rules of walking in a city have been so internalized that one has to struggle against entrained and enculturated behaviorist responses to act in contrary.

        “We of cours elive in a very tightly regimented world so such actions are difficult to find time for and of course if practiced among the unsuspecting or in the “wrong” place can cause alarm which of course just goes to show how controlled people are.”

        That applies to my linguistic experiments. I avoid talking in third person or past tense when around other people. But sometimes on my early morning walks before anyone else is awake, I will narrate my thoughts and activities out loud. If someone happened to hear me muttering as i passed by and noticed I was speaking oddly, they’d think I was crazy. And by society’s standards, maybe I am crazy.

        There was a funny incident involving another variety of experimentation. It was during my early 20s when I was doing a lot of LSD. I had done it enough that I felt confident in tripping alone, which normally is advised against. On this one occasion, I went out to the park and was far away from where I expected to come across people. But apparently someone was walking their dog on that back trail.

        All I know is that I was attacked by what I perceived as an immense licking tongue, which after the experience I assume must have been a dog. It totally didn’t bother me to be tongue-lashed by a strange canine while totally tripping out, though the dog’s owner might’ve been disturbed by the event. Fortunately, this is a liberal college town where a drugged-out individual is not entirely unusual. But in another situation, this might have not ended well.

        Let me throw out something else on my mind.

        Many aspiring writers have had the common experience of reading a particular author so intensively that they starts mimicking the author’s writing style, even if unintentionally. This demonstrates how Jaynesian consciousness operates. And it works this way in everything else. Jaynesian consciousenss is the process of internalization, the creation of an introspective mindspace as a theater where narratives can be played out.

        Instead of hearing bicameral voices in the world, we internalize voices, that of parents, ministers, teachers, news anchors, radio talk show hosts, public intellectuals, etc. They become characters and narrators in our mind, but what is interesting is how little aware of this we typically are. These voices play on automatic in our minds and they direct or model our actions. It’s only on a rare occasion that some of us notice them narrating our lives and influencing our behavior.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. rauldukeblog says:

        Dog and LSD…either a nightmare or hilarious;-)

        As to voices I assume this is why so many ,meditation practices focus on internal quiet.

        And in keeping with the idea of meta awareness it has always been interesting to me that there are no books (that I’ve found which is hardly proof) about the why of Buddhism – not what it is or what this person said vs another but why?

        It’s like everything else – Jaynesian and so on – no discussion of the thing itself and its methods (I know there are books about Buddhist practices but what I’m getting at is why would a significant portion of human consciousness be devoted to stilling the voice(s) of human consciousness? Answer: It’s a response to the vanishing of the voice of command which has been replaced by voices?).

        My college comment was just an aside. It’s hardly a requirement. One of my favorite examples is William Faulkner who had a 4th grade public school education from Alabama or Mississippi in the first decade of the 20th century.

        So much for being edjamcated;-)

        I think you’re right – minus the external voice of command what’s happened are competting narratives and people latch on to one or several and become caught in a loop.

        It’s almost like a biological need that can’t really be met because the mind isn’t wired for it so it’s developed a hybrid with often catastrophic results.


    3. I was thinking more about respect and respectability, authority and authorization. That was part of the clash I had at work with the upper middle class white guy. In our respective social positions, we were both used to speaking with a kind of authority. By class and likely career, he was probably used to being in the role of authority figure and automatically treated that way when he was out in the world. He had all of the outward forms of respectability and he carried himself with a sense of privilege.

      My situation is different, but I also possess or am possessed by a voice(s) of authorization. As a city government employee, I’m in the position of public servant and bureaucratic functionary with the force of government, police, and union behind me and, in a sense, speaking through me. I’ve grown accustomed to speaking with or from a voice of authority, as I tell customers with total confidence something along the lines of, “That is city policy” or “Your options are…” When I threaten to call the police, which rarely happens, it isn’t an idle threat, and I have the knowledge that the police will take my side in almost any conflict.

      Back some years ago, my gate would regularly malfunction and get stuck in the up position and, when people started to drive through, I could make almost anyone stop simply by telling them to do so: “Stop!”. Using a voice of authority to command obedience is an ability I have learned, although I rarely make use of this ability, but it did amuse me at the time that I was able to cause people to abruptly stop their car as if I possessed some kind of super-human mind control. I try not to abuse my power and rarely are their issues where it would be required.

      That conflict with the upper middle class white guy was a rare situation, as he caught me off guard when my brain was shutting down after a long shift. I’m usually fairly formal, stoic, and non-reactive at work. I’m a blank wall, even when customers have tantrums. But something about this guy irritated me beyond normal in his hassling me first with a lecture and then with a threat. He obviously wasn’t prepared for my response, as I’m familiar with the upper middle class white male identity and I’m not normally intimidated by the authority it entails. I’ve spent my lifetime with a father that fits that demographic and so standing my ground is something I’ve had much experience in.

      Still, I can’t dismiss the factor that the conflict ultimately wasn’t between two individual people but between two voices of authorization possessing and speaking through two people in their separate social roles and positions. It’s amusing when I think about it that way. The even funnier part might be that I too have an inner upper middle class white male within me, from my upbringing. I can invoke that demographic spirit of authorization from the depths of my psyche, no matter that I’m now mere working class. Unlike someone who grew up working class, as a class position it doesn’t as fully possess me. So, maybe the clash came from two people who were too close in demographic background. Whose voice of authorization was greater wasn’t all that clear, and neither of us would back down.

      It really does amuse me. And I don’t carry any bad feelings toward that guy, as he could do me no real harm, however much he might bluster. We all internalize and get possessed by the voices that surround us. I’m no exception, but I try to not fall into the trap of being so possessed by a voice of authorization that I become inflated with self-importance and self-righteousness. That is when people become insufferable and sometimes it really can lead to harm toward others, especially if in a situation of authoritarian power. We should always try/challenge/question the spirits that seek to possess us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rauldukeblog says:

        The sometimes great writer, Roberto Bolano, has a line in one of his novels: There’s a time for fists and a time for poetry and this I decided, was a time for fists.

        There’s no getting around such confrontations – sometimes – for many reasons.

        Sometimes, x really is just an asshole.

        But of course I take your point – self-awareness is crucial.

        The system (and probably as a reflection of the maladaptive system of consciousness) forces conflict between comepeting voices of power.

        As I mentioned the other day the why of buddhism strikes me as more interesting than the particulars.

        The whole tradition of “mystics” and so on who opt for withdrawal and silence speaks (sic;-)) to the need to assert a silent “voice” of authority over the self and in turn over all other voices – by a kind of negation.

        But while being in the world that’s all but impossible so we have to find other strategies.

        Easier said than done – so there are millions of offers – do x y and z and your life will be better.

        Yada yada yada.

        And again one returns to self-awareness.

        The proverbial razor’s edge path.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. rauldukeblog says:

        speaking of Jaynes and everything else I just came across this quote and added it to the Sparrow’s essay:

        “And life? Life itself? Was it perhaps only an infection, a sickening of matter? Was that which one might call the original procreation of matter only a disease, a growth produced by morbid stimulation of the immaterial? The first step toward evil, toward desire and death, was taken precisely then, when there took place that first increase in the density of the spiritual, that pathologically luxuriant morbid growth, produced by the irritant of some unknown infiltration; this, in part pleasurable, in part a motion of self-defense, was the primeval stage of matter, the transition from the insubstantial to the substance. This was the Fall.”
        — Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The voice of that quote resonates with another Thomas, that of LIgotti.


      4. rauldukeblog says:

        I think you mentioned him previously? Regardless thanks for the tip. added to the list.


      5. The Conspiracy against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror
        by Thomas Ligotti
        p. 218

        Without death— meaning without our consciousness of death— no story of supernatural horror would ever have been written, nor would any other artistic representation of human life have been created for that matter. It is always there, if only between the lines or brushstrokes, or conspicuously by its absence. It is a terrific stimulus to that which is at once one of our greatest weapons and greatest weaknesses— imagination. Our minds are always on the verge of exploding with thoughts and images as we ceaselessly pound the pavement of our world. Both our most exquisite cogitations and our worst cognitive drivel announce our primal torment: We cannot linger in the stillness of nature’s vacuity. And so we have imagination to beguile us. A misbegotten hatchling of consciousness, a birth defect of our species, imagination is often revered as a sign of vigor in our make-up. But it is really just a psychic overcompensation for our impotence as beings. Denied nature’s exemption from creativity, we are indentured servants of the imaginary until the hour of our death, when the final harassments of imagination will beset us.


      6. I don’t know if the guy in question was actually an asshole or just in a foul mood that day. But it’s the same difference, as far as I’m concerned. He was no real threat to me. When a chihuahua bites, I can kick it away with little fear or effort. But if a pitbull goes for my throat, I’m going to fight with full force. That situation at work was not a time for fists, literally or metaphorically.

        I could stand my ground without worrying about consequences. And I certainly had no need to bow down in deference. We were, in a sense, on equal footing. Whether or not he wanted to do me harm (and I doubt that was the case), he wasn’t likely going to be able to succeed in harming me nor I him, unless we got into an actual fistfight but that wasn’t the sort of situation it was. He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who carries a gun and would come back to take care of me, although I wouldn’t be absolutely surprised if that is how my life ends one day, by the hand of an angry customer. It goes with the territory, an ever present possibility.

        This guy was a respectable person, which constrains his paths of action. Such people tend not to be a personal threat in a physical sense. Then again, even middle class white people turn violent sometimes. I can never forget the one year in this town, though a fairly small population, when a bunch of middle class white people went berzerk: two professors accused of sexual wrongdoing committed suicide, a mother tried to kill herself and her children by driving into the river, and a banker fallen into shame shot his entire family and then himself. Most violence in the US is among people who know each other, not between strangers, and that probably is even more true for middle class whites.

        Now if I still lived in the South, it would be a different situation. People are much more violent-prone down there. And being a stronger class-based society, deference is much more of an expectation and a requirement. A white guy of the upper classes whose privilege wasn’t honored would be more of a risk to a mere peon such as me. The Jaynesian collective cognitive imperative of an honor culture more likely would compel someone to violence. But since I’m in the mild-mannered Midwest, that is less of an issue. That is even more true in this even extremely mild-mannered liberal town.

        This is what is called situational awareness. So, no harm, no foul, and no worries. I have the luxury to take these kinds of conflicts lightly and even be amused by them. The stakes are much lower. So, I can ponder such things and take them as opportunities for self-awareness — a very middle class attitude about life, I must say, at least a common middle class attitude for the Midwest, the kind I was raised with. Some of my aloofness about life is maybe inborn personality, if such a thing exists, but much of it does come from the the upper middle class whiteness that shaped me.

        There is definitely a Midwestern sensibility mixed in about class, as Midwesterners don’t tend to flaunt overt class identity to the same degree. Part of being a middle class Midwesterner is, for example, to put on the pretense of being working class such as doing one’s own yardwork. This created some class confusion when I lived in the Deep South. I was not only aloof but sometimes downright oblivious to proper class roles. I always laugh at the thought of how I worked at McDonald’s in high school, not something middle class white kids did in the Deep South. To demonstrate my obliviousness, I often used my father’s always clean new Buick LeSabre to drive to work, a car that my bosses couldn’t come close to affording. Looking back on it, there was an element of privilege to that class blindness. It contributes to why I still can be dismissive of class in my present working class job.

        Also, consider that intellectuality is an important middle class value. My father taught me to be calmly curious and questioning, critical and analytical — something he learned from his own college-educated parents (his father a minister, his mother a school teacher) and from a lifetime of experience as a college graduate with an engineering degree, as a military officer, as a factory manager, and finally as a business manager. My father’s sense of authority probably rubbed off on me. I have immense confidence in my own mental capacities that he instilled in me. A random stranger is not going to shake that confidence. It is said that, knowledge is power. And I think that is true in more ways than one, far from limited to the specific knowledge one possesses.

        Do I choose self-awareness, rather than brewing in anger or whatever? Not exactly. How could I choose otherwise? This is part of how I was raised and hence the voices I internalized. If I betrayed this middle class value, emphasized by the middle class church of my youth, then it would be jarring to my entire sense of identity. A voice of authorization, in possessing me, compels me to ‘self-awareness’. It really is a compulsion. And as demonic possession goes, ‘self-awareness’ is one hell of a force, as demanding as it is impossible. Obviously, that doesn’t stop me from falling into conflict on occasion. As you say, “The system (and probably as a reflection of the maladaptive system of consciousness) forces conflict between comepeting voices of power.” There are other voices at play, as always. And the demiurgic system demands its due.

        Now we get to the most intriguing part of your comment. “As I mentioned the other day the why of buddhism strikes me as more interesting than the particulars.” Since you brought that up, the wheels of my mind have been whirring along. There is a new post in the process of being written, but presently it is in a state of cognitive vomit that needs to be formed into something coherent. Ah, yes, “the need to assert a silent “voice” of authority over the self and in turn over all other voices – by a kind of negation.” That is a strange thing, even the desire to defeat and defang those lingering bicameral voices, as if in silence one would finally be free. But free from what? Free from our own human nature? Of course, “while being in the world that’s all but impossible so we have to find other strategies.” I am looking for other strategies, but I’m not sure toward what end.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. rauldukeblog says:

        a lot of wat you’re saying resonates as i lived in Baltimore for nearly a decade and now four years in the midwest.

        People tend to forget (if they think of it at all) but Baltimore is the South.

        It combines post industrial waste land violence with Southern themese of violence.

        It was shocking to come to Chicagoland where people are so much more polite (with obvious exceptions). Of course “downtown” Baltimore can fit inside the city three or four times with room left over.

        Someone in baltimore remarked about the gun violence here (North Side v south Side) and I said the North is to the South like zurich to whatever and when they said so there’s no or less violence on the North side I said oh no there’s plenty, it’s just conducted indoors on computers.

        Another example of narratives and narrative power.

        People just don’t think deeply so they accept a to b to c explanations.

        The thing about the guy in the car is – well there’s a lot – but one is that it’s not out of the question for someone like that to have a gun and use it.

        As to the fists vs poetry idea I think it is apt and metaphorically and in the sense that one can find accounts like yours that end in violence.

        An extreme case was how i ran into a guy in San Francisco who years later went to prison for anotorius murder.

        I was about 16 and out with the crew heading to a local park when the guy and his very large Akita passed by and the dog snapped at me – seriously.

        I jumped and told him to get a better grip on his dog.

        He turned, stared at me with what I would later understand to be the eye sof a psychopath.

        He and his wife were later convicted of murder when their dogs (Presser Canarios – very large Portuguese Mastiffs) attacked their neighbor and killed her.

        There is no doubt were living in a sick system.

        Imagine a different one – FDR’s four freedoms are the basic template and add in a four day work week and lengthy European style vacations.

        I suspect the drop in anxiety would be profound along with a corresponding drop in violence.

        However if the system (consciousness) is flawed then there would be some other social dilemma and we might be back to the issue of VOC (voices of command) and the process might start all over again.

        As to cognitive vomit – well puke away;-)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the members of the FB Jaynes group has been posting passages from Tor Norretranders’ The User Illusion. Here is his latest posting:

    “Civilization is about removing information about our surroundings; discarding information about nature so our senses are not burdened with all that information and our consciousness can concentrate on other matters. We cut away loads of information from our surroundings in order to devote ourselves to the inner lives inside our heads and in society. The relationship between human beings and their inner lives becomes more important and takes up more room in our awareness, precisely because we do not have to spend all our time thinking about the weather. Instead we can think about one another.”

    He includes a couple paragraphs beyond that, but that gives you the gist. That is a good description of Jaynesian consciousness and indeed Norretranders is building off of Jaynes’ work. That passage explains the internalization process in how it creates an isolated self with insular expeirence within a media-drenched-and-dominated society — such that, “Our surroundings become so little of a burden to us that we can certainly allow ourselves to relocate consciousness half a second behind reality so we can talk about it.”

    That is part of the internalization of voices I was discussing above. The authorization of what is external is lessened to the degree that the voices of authorization become contained within consciousness. Rather than voices of the gods, spirits and ancestors, we are ruled by the voices within our enculturated minds, the voices of a heavily mediated human world. The animistic and bicameral world is now silent. Our focus becomes increasingly narrowed down, excluding the openness of self to the world that once was common (e.g., the extended self of many hunter-gatherers). We are now fully in Plato’s cave.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rauldukeblog says:

      Interesting. Of course with that as a premise one can consider mass media and its many critics all discussing how it creates narratives which epople internalize.

      If Fox said it, it must be true.

      Or: The internet says there’s a pedophile ring being run from a pizza joint in DC.

      People are so susceptible to this sort of thing.

      And probably (again) because human consciousness is a maladaptation.

      It’s a broken circuit.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m going to start a new comment thread. The other one was getting lengthy.

    “Dog and LSD…either a nightmare or hilarious;-)”
    I found it to be quite amusing and maybe even pleasurable. I must’ve been in a good mood that day. It was definitely not like being mauled by a wild animal. The dog (or maybe it was a passing homeless guy) was apparently happy in meeting and greeting me. Their happiness was infectious and I did not take offense.

    “not what it is or what this person said vs another but why?”
    That is a great question. And it could lead to fruitful thought. Asking ‘why?’ pushes the issue back one step to a more fundamental level.

    Let me throw in another issue. We probably should get in the habit of using other language, something I’ve been thinking about, somewhat related to the language experiments. Words like ‘individual’ add a lot of confusion because, in their vagueness, they can mean so much to so many (similar to the paucity and vagueness of plural terms in English). I’m not sure how to clarify this matter. I’ve seen other terms such as ‘individua’ or ‘individuaa’, but I’m not clear on what they refer to. I should write a post about this sometime, just to wrap my mind around the issue.

    In the Jaynesian context, there is the distinction between ‘I’ vs ‘me’ (apparently originating with George Herbert Mead), related to the distinction between persons and selves. I need to clarify my own thinking on this. Jaynes’ points out that the ancient Greeks were well aware of the body, but even then they didn’t tend to look at the body as a whole. Instead, they would focus on body parts and aspects (thumos, nous, pneuma, psyche). In the ancient world, sometimes separate voices would be heard in a body part as if it had its own mind. There is also the fascinating legal tradition of objects being given personhood (deodand) in the Middle Ages and punished accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rauldukeblog says:

      Just had an idea: Would you be interested in doing an interview? Rough idea: I’d ask you some questions about assorted topics – Jaynes, culture, life, etc.

      Then would post it on the blog?

      Like I said a rough sour of the moment idea.



      1. An interview could be fun to do. I’ve actually never done an interview. So it would be a new experience. I’d be open to almost anything. Send me some questions, give me an idea of the kinds of responses you’re looking for, and I’ll give you my thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. rauldukeblog says:

        Cool! i’ll work up some questions and send them off with notes/idea. And to keep it potentially fresh for people we should conduct the back and forth via off-blog email: Send me an email address and I’ll contact you from

        After we get it done I’ll post it.


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