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Sunday, July 22

When Smoke Gets In My I

"Peace of mind, is very hard to find..." sang the great ganja-man, Bob Marley, "It's got to come from within".

Fascinating read

One of our best friends keeps telling hubby and I to read:
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, by Julian Jaynes. I found this site while looking for info on the book, which references it:

" an interesting explanation of how the development of consciousness took place. Although Jaynes fails to fully recognize the strong role that plant-drugs may have played in the development of consciousness he has come up with what I think is a most revolutionary concept. It is explained on the book's back cover as follows:

Based on recent laboratory studies of the brain and a close reading of the archeological evidence, psychologist Julian Jaynes shows us how ancient people from Mesopotamia to Peru could not `think' as we do today, and were therefore not conscious. Unable to introspect, they experienced auditory hallucinations - voices of gods, actually heard as in the Old Testament or the Iliad - which, coming from the brain's right hemisphere, told a person what to do in circumstances of novelty or stress. This ancient mentality is called bicameral mind... Only catastrophe and cataclysm forced mankind to `learn' consciousness, and that happened only 3000 years ago.

It was in Terrence McKenna's Food of the Gods, that I was first introduced to Jaynes' book, and McKenna's articulate description of Jaynes' theory is worth quoting.

He proposes that through Homeric times people did not have the kind of interior psychic organization we take for granted. Thus what we call ego was for the Homeric people "god". When danger threatened suddenly, the god's voice was heard in the individual's mind: an intrusive and alien function was expressed as a kind of metaprogram for survival called forth under moments of great stress. This psychic function was perceived by those experiencing it as the direct voice of a god, of the king, or of the king in the afterlife. Merchants and traders moving from one society to another brought the unwelcome news that the gods were saying different things in different places, and so cast early seeds of doubt. At some point people integrated this previously autonomous function, and each person became the god and reinterpreted the inner voice as the `self' or, as it was later called, the `ego'.


Another amusing read - Part 4 of "When Smoke Gets in my I" a series on the history of cannabis and human consciousness
Cannabis and the Christ

Crossposted at BigBrassBlog

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