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

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4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  159 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews

Why are gods and idols ubiquitous throughout the ancient world? What is the relationship of consciousness and language? How is it that oracles came to influence entire nations such as Greece? If consciousness arose far back in human evolution, how can it so easily be altered in hypnosis and "possession"? Is modern schizophrenia a vestige of an earlier mentality? These are

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Hardcover, 428 pages
Published December 31st 2006 by Julian Jaynes Society (first published January 15th 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Brian
Jun 04, 2008 Brian rated it it was amazing
This and Jaynes' "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" are two of my favorite books. Jaynes' theory is perhaps the most important, and certainly the most original, since Darwin's theory of evolution. This book expands on Jaynes' ideas and I enjoyed the broad range of perspectives. "Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness" will have you rethinking your ideas on a wide range of topics — from the history of the mind, to the origin of mental illness and the origin of ...more
Paul
Jun 03, 2008 Paul rated it it was amazing
An excellent book -- big picture history of science, philosophy, neuroscience, archeology, cross-cultural anthropology, the nature of discovery, evolution, consciousness, and critical thinking. I highly recommend it both for those already familiar with Jaynes as well as readers that are new to his theory.

I first read Jaynes’ book, “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,” about 10 years ago. Jaynes puts forth the theory that consciousness (as he carefully defines it)
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Richard
Jul 05, 2015 Richard rated it it was ok
Shelves: d-mind
This isn't a sequel to, but a book about, The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes, published by the Julian Jaynes Society and consisting of essays (some by Jaynes himself), and a short biography. Contrary to what some reviewers have written, if you were to read this one first I think it would give you a half-decent overview of Jaynes' theory of consciousness.

What you won't get though is any idea of how well written the original is - there's some fair
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Ted
May 15, 2008 Ted rated it it was amazing
Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness explains, extends, and expands many of Julian Jaynes's most provocative ideas. For readers who finished The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and wondered 'What comes next?', this collection provides answers. Gathering together both additional writings by Jaynes himself, along with thoughtful essays by scholars from a wide range of disciplines, the book both explores ways in which Jaynes's thought can be applied in specific fi ...more
Sara
As the full title, Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited, intimates, before beginning this book some prior reading, namely Julian Jaynes, is advisable if not precisely necessary. Jaynes was a gifted and sincere academic who distrusted the strictures institutions place on human thought. In keeping with this attitude, he crafted his referenced opus by accessing a half dozen academic disciplines and paying little professional attention to the rece ...more
David Coleman
Mar 05, 2008 David Coleman rated it it was ok
Recommended to David by: al
quite disappointing, actually, compared to the original Jaynes text THE DAWN OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE BREAKDOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND.

if you're not a Jaynes fan, this will be tough, sluggish going. it's mostly recap. and while the glimmers and gleamings of various tech and philosophic writings grant a lot of credibility to Jayne's ideas almost 30 years after their initial and oft controversial debuts, REFLECTIONS ON THE DAWN OF CONSCIOUSNESS is actually, well... less reflective and more like a
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Randy
Aug 21, 2013 Randy rated it really liked it
Having read "Dawn of Consciousness" in the 70s, I have spent 40 years wondering whether Jaynes was a crackpot (Mary Baker Eddy), or a dismissed genius (Galileo).

Frequently, when we read masterpieces in fields not our own, we are tortured by suspicion... are we overlooking the obvious clues this is a gigantic fraud? Or is it a wonderwork? Or is it both?

This collection of essays takes the "wonderwork" position. It's a one-sided review, so we should take care in reaching grand conclusions about Jay
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David
Mar 23, 2016 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Mostly fascinating but occasionally a little scattershot 30-years-on followup to Julian Jaynes work. This is a great check-in, especially if, while you were reading The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, you were wondering about what neuroscience and more recent cultural/anthropological research might have revealed. Turns out there's still plenty to think about and good chunks of Jaynes' big idea still in play.
David Scherer
Nov 01, 2008 David Scherer rated it it was amazing
one of the most interesting books i've ever opened. a book for both sides of the brain
Sushil
Apr 10, 2013 Sushil rated it really liked it
I, probably like many other first-time readers of Jaynes's classic 'The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind', was left wondering whatever happened to Jayne's beautiful theory. How come I don't hear about it in the mainstream press? Could it be that like many other beautiful theories of the past, this too didn't stand up to the deeper, harsher scrutiny that inevitably follows. Marcel's book does a wonderful job of giving the reader at once a review, an update, and a loo ...more
Matthew
Jul 26, 2013 Matthew rated it really liked it
In 2002, I read Julian Jaynes' shockingly interesting The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. If you haven't read that book, then this won't make any sense to you. I'm a sucker for a good crackpot theory, and Jaynes' idea that before about 1000BCE everyone was essentially schizophrenic is a whopper that I always thought was impossible to prove, but this book presents some new evidence, and looks at old evidence in a new light. Psychology, linguistics, and neurology al ...more
Meeg
Sep 01, 2014 Meeg rated it liked it
I liked the unpublished essays by Jaynes, Kuijsten's overview and about half of the other chapters. Sometimes I judged by the title that it wouldn't interest me (auditory hallucinations in nonverbal quadriplegics), other times I couldn't get through it. I have to mention Chapter 11 "Greek Zombies" by Sleutels which starts out sounding like a reasonable discussions of the arguments for and against Jaynes' theory but devolves into an overly-complicated series of formal logic propositions whose und ...more
Tajsha
Jun 06, 2008 Tajsha marked it as to-read
Since I still have not had a chance to get my hands on a copy of this book and had a chance to read it as of yet, I am going to hold off on it for now. I was going to use it in a discussion during an upcoming workshop. I would have liked to have had it read before that event; however, I was not able to... most likely due to the "busy-ness" of my summer with work and such....
I do plan on reading it in the very near future...such as in the next month or two...
What I have learned about this whole
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Dav8d777
Mar 01, 2014 Dav8d777 rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of Julian Jaynes' origin of consciousness theory then there are precious few books for you to read beyond the original. This is one of two out there that I recommend. There are several essays by Jaynes and a number of essays that deal with Jaynes' work penned by other scholars. Mr. Kuijsten himself makes a significant contribution to this volume which is a must have for for anyone interested in the bicameral breakdown hypothesis of the origin of consciousness.
Earl Bayer
Jun 29, 2013 Earl Bayer rated it liked it
This book was an effective follow up go Jaynes' fascinating work that I read in college. "Origins " was a revelation to me and I have reread it several times since. Reflections adds layers to my understanding. It is not a book though that stands up on its own. if you haven't read Origins what are you waiting for?
Steven Schneider
I read The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind in the 70's and it was a unique head-spinning lightening rod paradigm blaster of a book. 40 years later it has only been legitimized and made even more shocking by its premises adding to a new paradigm. Hearing voices? Join the club.
Gideon
Aug 25, 2008 Gideon marked it as to-read
Shelves: want
It's so strange that I found out about this book just now, I had my copy of Jaynes's book in my hand not 15 minutes ago! And I don't generally wander about the house groping the thing.

Will have to pick this up.
Benjamin Plaggenborg
I bought this book hoping for concrete evidence, but got mostly ad hominem praise for Jaynes and typographic analysis - not the concrete to build houses of.
Jim
Aug 03, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
There was some good additional material here.
Martin Metke
Dec 04, 2015 Martin Metke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Revisits Jaynes's theory with new updates, research, and viewpoints. Fascinating stuff even for the lay-person.
Canard Frère
Some interesting updates on Jayne's theory and a few critics. Those last ones could have been more developped, otherwise the compilation is a good read if you're already familiar with the subject.
Ann M
Jan 21, 2011 Ann M marked it as to-read
I couldn't get all the way through the Jaynes book, tho I find the theory fascinating. Have to give this one a try.
Emilie
Emilie rated it it was amazing
Aug 20, 2015
Glezel Sebastian
Glezel Sebastian rated it did not like it
Jul 22, 2013
T.J.
T.J. rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2014
Bella
Bella rated it really liked it
May 19, 2016
Raffaello Palandri
Raffaello Palandri rated it really liked it
Mar 01, 2012
william mackinson
william mackinson rated it really liked it
Jan 14, 2016
Wesley
Wesley rated it really liked it
Feb 10, 2014
Leon
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Jun 04, 2016
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Marcel Kuijsten is Founder and Executive Director of the Julian Jaynes Society. He has published three book on Julian Jaynes's theory of the origin of consciousness and the bicameral mind, which was recently featured on the HBO hit series "Westworld":
Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind: The Theories of Julian Jaynes,
The Julian Jaynes Collection , and
Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Ju
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More about Marcel Kuijsten...

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“human civilization was built by people who could not think.”17” 0 likes
“consciousness developed through the process of generating and fitting metaphors to objects and events.19” 0 likes
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