< 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›
 
   
 

Read Any Good Books Lately?

 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15886
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
11 January 2014 17:25
 
KathleenBrugger - 10 January 2014 03:52 PM

Wow bigredfutbol—that’s an impressive list for 10 days! I’m just about to finish Julian Jaynes’ classic “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” which I borrowed from a friend. It’s a fascinating book and, Nhoj says, a godmother to his trioone theory.

TOOC looks at the same period of human history (development of language to the Axial Age) as Ken Wilber’s Up from Eden (which was a frame-changing book for me), but from a completely different perspective. One difference, which I was relieved to find, is that Jaynes basically ignores the details of mythology. Both Up From Eden and the similar book Cosmic Consciousness were filled with the names of gods and it was easy to get overwhelmed. But Jaynes sees all those various gods as irrelevant details of the larger picture.

Jaynes’ theory is that humans didn’t possess “meta-consciousness,” that is, the awareness of being conscious, until about 2500 years ago. Jaynes estimates the use of language developed around 70,000 years ago. This gradually led to the emergence of the bicameral mind, which was developed enough by 10,000 years ago to bring about the agricultural revolution. By “bicameral” he means the two brain hemispheres were split, and the interior voice, a function of the right hemisphere, was believed to be the voice of a God or King. There was no conception of “self.” This voice was an admonition and there was no distinction between hearing and acting. It’s similar to how schizophrenics hear voices.

Then about 2500 years ago a breakdown occurred, which was actually an integration of the interior mind into a new conception of the self. The perception at the time was that the gods retreated and quit speaking.

Jaynes provides evidence from many different writings of 2000-3000 years ago. His main texts are the two works attributed to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad has no terms for self, or thought, or reflection. Everything is directed by the gods. But the Odyssey is different: all of a sudden there is a hero, an individual who has thoughts and wishes.

He also uses the Old Testament, and in particular suggests the reader compare Amos with Ecclesiastes, which I did. Amos is almost completely the ravings of God against various peoples, with a very short section about Amos, and none of that has any reference to what Amos thought. In contrast, Ecclesiastes feels like the first self-help book, an advice manual full of the wisdom accumulated by a thinking human being. The author repeatedly says “I thought to myself” or “I applied my mind.”

The third section, which I have just begun, discusses the lingering bicamerality in the last two millennium, with the clear suggestion that we haven’t completely made the transition to meta-consciousness. Jaynes mentions in particular how we still seek authorization—our government’s national motto (“In God we Trust”) is “still a divine invocation” and social institutions like marriage are still largely religious-based.

 

Wouldn’t put too much into the theory though, it’s interesting and helps to show that we can’t assume primitive people thought as we do, but nobody believes it now.  If you want to get a taste of Jaynes form or argument read his rendition of The Memphite Theology and then find a book on ancient Egypt that gives a translation of this same Memphite Theology.  You’ll see that Jaynes tries to strengthen his argument by only quoting every other line.

 
KathleenBrugger
 
Avatar
 
 
KathleenBrugger
Total Posts:  1511
Joined  01-07-2013
 
 
 
11 January 2014 18:54
 
burt - 11 January 2014 04:25 PM
KathleenBrugger - 10 January 2014 03:52 PM

I’m just about to finish Julian Jaynes’ classic “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” which I borrowed from a friend. It’s a fascinating book and, Nhoj says, a godmother to his trioone theory.

 

Wouldn’t put too much into the theory though, it’s interesting and helps to show that we can’t assume primitive people thought as we do, but nobody believes it now.  If you want to get a taste of Jaynes form or argument read his rendition of The Memphite Theology and then find a book on ancient Egypt that gives a translation of this same Memphite Theology.  You’ll see that Jaynes tries to strengthen his argument by only quoting every other line.

EDIT: somehow when I posted the first part was missing:

I don’t believe everything I read.  wink Really, thanks for the reference, burt. I planned on reading criticisms of his theory sometime soon. So much of his argument was based in material that I had no expertise on, haven’t read The Iliad since high school, e.g.

The reason I wrote as much about it as I did was because Nhoj had said it had been an influence on the trioone theory so I thought those who hadn’t read it would be interested in hearing a little about it.

This is a great thread LadyJane, I’ve noted a few books to read from it, including icehorse’s mention of Who Owns the Future.

[ Edited: 12 January 2014 13:11 by KathleenBrugger]
 
 
bigredfutbol
 
Avatar
 
 
bigredfutbol
Total Posts:  5614
Joined  05-04-2006
 
 
 
11 January 2014 23:09
 
burt - 11 January 2014 04:25 PM
KathleenBrugger - 10 January 2014 03:52 PM

Wow bigredfutbol—that’s an impressive list for 10 days! I’m just about to finish Julian Jaynes’ classic “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” which I borrowed from a friend. It’s a fascinating book and, Nhoj says, a godmother to his trioone theory.

TOOC looks at the same period of human history (development of language to the Axial Age) as Ken Wilber’s Up from Eden (which was a frame-changing book for me), but from a completely different perspective. One difference, which I was relieved to find, is that Jaynes basically ignores the details of mythology. Both Up From Eden and the similar book Cosmic Consciousness were filled with the names of gods and it was easy to get overwhelmed. But Jaynes sees all those various gods as irrelevant details of the larger picture.

Jaynes’ theory is that humans didn’t possess “meta-consciousness,” that is, the awareness of being conscious, until about 2500 years ago. Jaynes estimates the use of language developed around 70,000 years ago. This gradually led to the emergence of the bicameral mind, which was developed enough by 10,000 years ago to bring about the agricultural revolution. By “bicameral” he means the two brain hemispheres were split, and the interior voice, a function of the right hemisphere, was believed to be the voice of a God or King. There was no conception of “self.” This voice was an admonition and there was no distinction between hearing and acting. It’s similar to how schizophrenics hear voices.

Then about 2500 years ago a breakdown occurred, which was actually an integration of the interior mind into a new conception of the self. The perception at the time was that the gods retreated and quit speaking.

Jaynes provides evidence from many different writings of 2000-3000 years ago. His main texts are the two works attributed to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad has no terms for self, or thought, or reflection. Everything is directed by the gods. But the Odyssey is different: all of a sudden there is a hero, an individual who has thoughts and wishes.

He also uses the Old Testament, and in particular suggests the reader compare Amos with Ecclesiastes, which I did. Amos is almost completely the ravings of God against various peoples, with a very short section about Amos, and none of that has any reference to what Amos thought. In contrast, Ecclesiastes feels like the first self-help book, an advice manual full of the wisdom accumulated by a thinking human being. The author repeatedly says “I thought to myself” or “I applied my mind.”

The third section, which I have just begun, discusses the lingering bicamerality in the last two millennium, with the clear suggestion that we haven’t completely made the transition to meta-consciousness. Jaynes mentions in particular how we still seek authorization—our government’s national motto (“In God we Trust”) is “still a divine invocation” and social institutions like marriage are still largely religious-based.

 

Wouldn’t put too much into the theory though, it’s interesting and helps to show that we can’t assume primitive people thought as we do, but nobody believes it now.  If you want to get a taste of Jaynes form or argument read his rendition of The Memphite Theology and then find a book on ancient Egypt that gives a translation of this same Memphite Theology.  You’ll see that Jaynes tries to strengthen his argument by only quoting every other line.

Yeah, I don’t think any serious academics take him very seriously anymore. But it’s hell of a lot of fun!

 
 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15886
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
12 January 2014 03:19
 

Was given a book called The Pea and the Sun this afternoon.  Looks to be very interesting (an exposition for the layman of the Banach-Tarski theorem which is pretty mind blowing).

 
LadyJane
 
Avatar
 
 
LadyJane
Total Posts:  3350
Joined  26-03-2013
 
 
 
12 January 2014 13:37
 
burt - 12 January 2014 02:19 AM

Was given a book called The Pea and the Sun this afternoon.  Looks to be very interesting (an exposition for the layman of the Banach-Tarski theorem which is pretty mind blowing).

When you get through that, sir, would you mind please providing some sort of logical explanation for what I am having difficulty making sense of…and I will postpone my plan of cutting up tennis balls.

 
 
EN
 
Avatar
 
 
EN
Total Posts:  21694
Joined  11-03-2007
 
 
 
12 January 2014 13:49
 

But the two new objects made from the original are not exactly the same.  They are not solids in the traditional sense.

 
LadyJane
 
Avatar
 
 
LadyJane
Total Posts:  3350
Joined  26-03-2013
 
 
 
12 January 2014 15:53
 
EN - 12 January 2014 12:49 PM

But the two new objects made from the original are not exactly the same.  They are not solids in the traditional sense.

When I am looking at a map of the world (Goode homolosine projection) I notice the latitudes are parallel and the longitudes converge to illustrate the surface area of the globe.  The surface area is the surface area.  If I cut the map into pieces would the surface area not be equal to the sum of those pieces?  If I rearrange those pieces to make a jumbled version of the Earth where does the second planet (of any size) come from?  Does this theory then apply in reverse and see something the size of the sun reduced to the size of a pea, for example?

 
 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15886
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
13 January 2014 00:12
 

You’ll have to wait until I finish the book.

 
EN
 
Avatar
 
 
EN
Total Posts:  21694
Joined  11-03-2007
 
 
 
13 January 2014 01:05
 
LadyJane - 12 January 2014 02:53 PM
EN - 12 January 2014 12:49 PM

But the two new objects made from the original are not exactly the same.  They are not solids in the traditional sense.

When I am looking at a map of the world (Goode homolosine projection) I notice the latitudes are parallel and the longitudes converge to illustrate the surface area of the globe.  The surface area is the surface area.  If I cut the map into pieces would the surface area not be equal to the sum of those pieces?  If I rearrange those pieces to make a jumbled version of the Earth where does the second planet (of any size) come from?  Does this theory then apply in reverse and see something the size of the sun reduced to the size of a pea, for example?

Look up the theorum on Wiki and it shows you some cool images.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banach–Tarski_paradox

 
LadyJane
 
Avatar
 
 
LadyJane
Total Posts:  3350
Joined  26-03-2013
 
 
 
13 January 2014 10:33
 

Thanks.  No hurry.  It may be that this is something that I am far too dim to wrap my noggin’ around.

This place can be a gold mine for references.  For instance, nonverbal is responsible for turning me on to Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein.  (This requires Mad Magazine chasers.)  I think something snapped in my brain.  I heard it…didn’t feel a thing.  I wish he was around to thank.

 
 
eudemonia
 
Avatar
 
 
eudemonia
Total Posts:  9031
Joined  05-04-2008
 
 
 
13 January 2014 13:17
 

And what is the traditional sense of a ‘solid’?

burt, you and that damned math and geometry. You just can’t break free huh?
cheese

I am finishing up “The Enlightenment and Why It Still Matters” by UCLA Professor of History and Political Science, Anthony Pagden.

 
 
bigredfutbol
 
Avatar
 
 
bigredfutbol
Total Posts:  5614
Joined  05-04-2006
 
 
 
13 January 2014 14:03
 

I had a whole weekend and didn’t really read much. Re-read the first half of Taylor’s “Transportation History of the United States 1816-1860” but since I’ve read it before I don’t really count it. Felt like I needed a refresher since my dissertation will be on some aspect of that very subject, and Taylor’s book is sort of a standard/seminal work on the field. Should have read the whole thing and been done with it, but I was easily distracted this weekend. Hopefully I’ll knock the rest off in the next couple of days so I can read something new.

EDIT: Itching to read some fiction; other than a collection of vintage hard-boiled detective stories from the pulps, I haven’t read any fiction since August. Kinda craving some classic lit, actually.

 
 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15886
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
13 January 2014 14:13
 
bigredfutbol - 13 January 2014 01:03 PM

I had a whole weekend and didn’t really read much. Re-read the first half of Taylor’s “Transportation History of the United States 1816-1860” but since I’ve read it before I don’t really count it. Felt like I needed a refresher since my dissertation will be on some aspect of that very subject, and Taylor’s book is sort of a standard/seminal work on the field. Should have read the whole thing and been done with it, but I was easily distracted this weekend. Hopefully I’ll knock the rest off in the next couple of days so I can read something new.

EDIT: Itching to read some fiction; other than a collection of vintage hard-boiled detective stories from the pulps, I haven’t read any fiction since August. Kinda craving some classic lit, actually.

Recommend Interface by Neal Stephenson and a co-author whose name escapes me at the moment.  It has some of the funniest scenes I’ve every read, even though a serious tale of a future presidential election (the main candidate has a computer chip in his head that allows his handlers to broadcast real time feedback to him on how tv audiences are responding to his speeches).

 
bigredfutbol
 
Avatar
 
 
bigredfutbol
Total Posts:  5614
Joined  05-04-2006
 
 
 
13 January 2014 14:20
 
burt - 13 January 2014 01:13 PM
bigredfutbol - 13 January 2014 01:03 PM

I had a whole weekend and didn’t really read much. Re-read the first half of Taylor’s “Transportation History of the United States 1816-1860” but since I’ve read it before I don’t really count it. Felt like I needed a refresher since my dissertation will be on some aspect of that very subject, and Taylor’s book is sort of a standard/seminal work on the field. Should have read the whole thing and been done with it, but I was easily distracted this weekend. Hopefully I’ll knock the rest off in the next couple of days so I can read something new.

EDIT: Itching to read some fiction; other than a collection of vintage hard-boiled detective stories from the pulps, I haven’t read any fiction since August. Kinda craving some classic lit, actually.

Recommend Interface by Neal Stephenson and a co-author whose name escapes me at the moment.  It has some of the funniest scenes I’ve every read, even though a serious tale of a future presidential election (the main candidate has a computer chip in his head that allows his handlers to broadcast real time feedback to him on how tv audiences are responding to his speeches).

Ooh, that sounds fun. Thanks for the recommendation!

 
 
LadyJane
 
Avatar
 
 
LadyJane
Total Posts:  3350
Joined  26-03-2013
 
 
 
17 January 2014 11:03
 

Earlier this week my attention was directed toward a bunch of short stories which I am unable to access without a Kindle.  Samples I did manage to peek at were “Slaughterbowl XIII” and “Mrs. Greenfield and The Wandering Sheep” and, other than leaving me hanging, they were really fun to read.  Christian Roberts is the author and (between you and me) he seems like a pretty sick twitch.  Thankfully.  If you are lucky enough to own a Kindle, and have a dollar to spare, then the decision makes itself.  As always.

 
 
 < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›